Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trip to Home Goods.

While I was in Oak Ridge for training, I hopped over to Knoxville one night on a pilgrimage of sorts - to go visit Home Goods. If you haven't ever been to one, a Home Goods store is a branch of TJ Maxx. So basically imagine the back of a TJ Maxx but instead, a whole store of it (the same size as a TJ Maxx so huge). We don't have Home Goods in Memphis (which is probably a good thing) and so it is a big deal to visit the one in Knoxville. 

I shopped around for a while and resisted buying most things. Here's some things I thought were interesting:

My mom would love the massive amount of baskets they have. Here was one aisle of baskets:
 I loved this runner. The yellow goes perfectly in our dining room. But I didn't need another runner...Alas.
 As soon as I saw this though, I called Jake and let him know I would be breaking my self-imposed "no spend" rule. This huge canvas was a whimsical painting of the world. Perfect for me!
 I found myself liking a lot of the stuff in the kids' section and this pillow was one thing I found - my guest room is going to be a light aqua and have pink accents so this pillow is perfect.
 I also found this doll crib that I thought was just too cute. I have several friends who are having or had girls and I thought of them:
 I loved this fun take on the silhouette trend:
 Oh and Home Goods has amazing furniture. Mostly accent pieces but they also have some substantial things like couches, chairs, dressers, etc. I loved these chairs:
 I thought this console table was really fun too and didn't look new like it is:
 Home Goods also has great mirrors for really good prices. I liked this one a lot:
 And their lamp selection is fabulous. This guy was interesting to me:
 In the end, I followed my self imposed rule with my one exception and walked out of the store with only my map, which I thought was a steal of a price so I rationalized it was a good thing. To show you how big this map is, here it is in the car:
Yeah, he took up the whole back seat! I'm thinking he'll go in the guest room. I'm toying with the idea of taking him to school but I'd hate for something to happen to him. 

So that's that about my Home Goods trip! If you've got a Home Goods near you, you should totally check it out. I'm jealous. 
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Eat there: Big Ed's Pizza, Oak Ridge, TN.

After my Pizza Hut experience the night before, my training group let me drag them for real pizza today - we went to THE place in Oak Ridge, Big Ed's Pizza.

Big Ed's is one of those places you hear about from everyone. I posted on fb that I was going to Oak Ridge and had several friends tell me to go to Big Ed's. I'd actually been last year (when I came to this same training) but didn't really remember whether it was good or not (probably because I was so stressed about teaching a new class). So I'm glad we went back this year because it was DELICIOUS.
 Big Ed is no longer with us, but his restaurant has been going strong for many decades. It is a hole in the wall type place, cash only. I had heard such great reviews that I was pretty surprised that some people online didn't like it - said it was too greasy, etc. Well it is greasy but that is part of what makes it good. I'm a pizza expert and I can tell you this isn't your regular ole pizza. 

Side note though - don't go to Big Ed's expecting customer service. The waiters and waitresses don't really care about you or your needs. It is a place that gets a lot of people in and out so you're packed in there and the waitress doesn't check on you much. In fact, gross story... the people next to us had 4 kids under the age of 5 and one on the way (no lie). We noticed a strange smell after they were gone and looked over to see a dirty diaper on the floor. We told the waitress and she shook her head and walked off, not picking it up. I mean I don't blame her. But really. Some people. 

Poopy diaper aside (still gross), Big Ed's pizza is a must if you're in Knoxville or Oak Ridge.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oak Ridge Adventures.

So I'm in Oak Ridge for training this week. If you aren't familiar with Oak Ridge, basically it is a medium-small sized town nestled into the rolling hills of Tennessee, built as the "secret city" by the government back in the days of the Manhattan Project and the atomic bomb. So that is pretty cool. And their high school where I'm training? Amazing. My school system should come take notes. Oh my gosh. Now THAT is a renovation done right. 

But I digress. So I'm in Oak Ridge. While their history is cool, you know what isn't? Their Pizza Hut. I was craving some good old fashioned greasy pizza and their $8 deal for a medium couldn't be denied. So I googled "Oak Ridge Pizza Hut" to see if there was one and indeed there was. I gave them a ring. I'm staying at a hotel so the first question I asked was if they could deliver to hotels. I should have known something was wrong when she said "usually but right now we don't have drivers so we can't deliver anywhere." To which I said, after she was silent for a bit - "so can I just pick it up?". Again. Pause. Then - "well can I take your order then?" and I'm all like "ok...." and order. 

Then I get a wild hair and ask for a small order of cheese sticks (because who doesn't love some grease and fat with their grease and fat?). Well what do you know - Ms. Pizza Hut says "oh we don't have the bread to make those or the breadsticks."

Really? Ok I should have known then. So I laugh it off, say it's better that way and it must be waistline making that call, all awkward trying to play it off. I give them my name/number and hang up. Then I realize I have no idea where this place is. So I google it and the address is RIGHT OUTSIDE my hotel. So I look out the window and see a Hardees and a Mexican restaurant and think "that can't be." 

So I call Pizza Hut. I ask their address and a teenager (I could detect his pimples over the phone) says "um...." and so I say "ok - what are you near" and he responds with "Wal-Mart and a Goodwill and a bowling alley." So I hop in the car and head towards Wal-Mart. I then proceed to drive around for 30 minutes (no lie - I checked my phone log from when my dad called until when I got there) and cannot find it. I get stuck in the mall parking lot and can't find my way out. Once I do, I can only turn right instead of left because of a median (I needed to be left) and then figured I'd do a U-turn around the median except there was a big "no u-turn" sign AND a police station right there. 

So here I am, making the block again and by the time I get back on Illinois, I see the freaking bowling alley. Are you kidding me? So I drive in the complex (which, by the way, is behind the Hardees and the mexican restaurant. across from my hotel. I know.) and I see a huge Pizza Hut sign in the corner (which wasn't visible from the street). But then I can't find the entrance. Nowhere. I sit in my car for a minute confused until I see this woman - a beacon, an angel, a savior, walking out of this strange alley with a pizza. I FOUND IT! I FOUND THE PIZZA. Now it has been 35 minutes and I'm walking down this strange alley, convinced I'm going into a meth lab. 

I finally get my pizza (no meth but met pimple face) and realize I'm thirsty and Pizza Hut has only Pepsi products (um no) and so on my way out, I figured I'd stop at Hardee's. Things started looking up when I saw they had Cherry Coke (yum.) And then I sat behind a busted up van for FIVE MINUTES waiting to order. Now five minutes doesn't seem that long until there is a perfectly delicious and wonderful pizza that you drove for 30 minutes to find sitting next to you. 

I finally get to order my drink and realize this Hardee's is special because it is also a fast food Mexican restaurant. Just to top off my story. Who does that?

I get my drink and drive away, only to realize I can't turn left out of this parking lot either - only right because of a median. Really Oak Ridge. The medians have got to stop. This time I did a U-Turn, keeping eyes peeled for cops, and made my way back to the hotel, where now almost an hour later I plopped down to indulge in my pizza. 

And so here I am. In Oak Ridge. Eating pizza. Watching HGTV. Coming home Friday. 
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Monday, July 25, 2011

To-Do List: Front Bathroom Updates

When we moved in, the front bathroom was pretty plain:
We tore out the cabinet above the toilet, changed out the medicine cabinet for a mirror, changed the light fixture, painted, and changed out the shower curtain and window treatment. Here's a more recent picture, with Tyson modeling: 
I'd love to continue the update process by painting the vanity black, put a new white top on that vanity with a seamless sink and this faucet, a reproduction of one that would have been original to the house:
 This one is $24 at Home Depot, so a little more manageable than a real one. 

I'd also like to put in a thick waffle weave white shower curtain like this one from Target:
I'd hang it higher than the curtain rod right now so that it makes the room feel bigger. I'd also like to make a "faux" treatment for the window using some fun fabric into a roman shade... although I haven't found quite the right thing. I wanted to use the teal from the wall, black from the tile, yellow from the hallway, and maybe some hints of pink. I spent hours browsing fabric sites and only have a few leads, nothing I'm too excited about...
Fiesta at Joann

Lulu Strip at

Sultana Lattice at Calico Corners
Key West from Calico Corner

But I'll have plenty of time to find that fabric because the bathroom update won't be happening any time soon. Thank goodness for extra time, right? Sigh... You know, money doesn't grow on trees! 

In the meantime, where do you like to go for good fabric (online or in Memphis)?
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yellow and White Floor Love.

So apparently I am trendy without realizing it. When I fell in love with the idea of doing a checkerboard floor at a diagonal, it wasn't for colored floor - it was for two-toned cork. When I found out Memphis has such high humidity that the glue won't stick, I was a bit devastated before my mom suggested "marmoleum" or what is called a vinyl composite material. As soon as we visited our local flooring store (Kiser) and looking at the Armstrong samples, I fell in love with the idea of yellow and white floors immediately. The yellow we selected is the same color as our living/dining area so it ties the house together and the rest of our kitchen is cream/white/black so it provides some color:

 Well, today when I was browsing Southern Living online, look what I found - their featured kitchen renovation, "Farm Fresh Kitchen Remodel,"  had yellow and white checkered floors as well - 
 Granted theirs were a paler yellow and painted on pine, but it was the same idea and so I had to feel just a tinge of affirmation in my decision to go with my floor choice.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Treasure Hunting - Antique Warehouse on Summer Avenue.

I love a good antique mall. It can't be too pretentious or too pricey, and the junkier the better. My favorite (until this summer) was Bojo's on Summer. It was a 2-story dreamland of antique furniture and knick knacks. Since then, I've been looking for a replacement favorite. Sheffield's in Collierville is awesome but sometimes too well-known (picked over) and someones too "painted furniture"-y (not that I don't love a good piece of painted furniture but there is a thing as too much). I also love Gary's on Central but it is small - you can usually find good stuff there but you have to check back a lot. 

So on Wednesday, my brother and I decided to check out his favorite antique mall, Summer Avenue's Antique Warehouse. And it didn't disappoint. Here are some things I lusted after or thought were particularly interesting:

I LOVED these vintage canisters, for $48 for the set of four (hint, hint, Mom). 
 This vintage apron was really sweet -
 I love this pair of tables, two sizes, that have spool legs -
 Then I came across this hidden gem - this table was buried under all sorts of other stuff. It was labeled "primitive enamel" table for $75 - I asked if he would take $50 and he said SOLD!
 My brother Ez is really into mid-century modern and was drooling over this chair - apparently it is a replica of a famous design -
 I loved this sweet vanity - it had two levels and was turquoise enamel with an attached mirror with vanity lights.
 Sometimes I wish I could be adventurous and buy a Brady-Bunch style crazy 60's-70s house and just go totally retro with it.. If so, I'd love to have this entertainment/office piece:
The same area of the store had a lot of really cool retro stuff, including these juice glasses-
 Now here's another birthday idea, Mom! I loved this milk glass stand. It would add to my milk glass collection.
 Ez found this awesome liquor cabinet type globe. Totally man-cave worthy:
 I loved this glass and black cabinet. I could see it holding my ridiculous Pyrex collection one day:
 This was also a good find on a cabinet - could use it in a bedroom with some baskets and knick-knacks?
 I loved this - a juice pitcher, I think.
 Check out all this fiestaware! I love love fiesta ware and have some reproduction version myself, handed down from the parental units.
 This owl made me laugh - he's a napkin holder and I thought he was just too quirky.
 Lots of good Pyrex - I liked the blue piece. Didn't see any of my turquoise set though:/
 How awesome are these table and chairs? For the right house, so cool -
 So exciting - chicken bowls like my mom's. Love these.
 I thought this jar was awesome and apparently they did too, as it was priced $125? It is a "Gordan's Snack Jar", authentic, whatever that means.

We finally snaked our way around to the counter, where I paid for my table. Here it is waiting to be picked up - 
 But wait, we weren't done - we found out they had an OUTSIDE area. Genius!

LOVE this desk - can totally see it in a bedroom in a small space, with a laptop in that middle section.
 Also, another fun find - this table was $100. It isn't in too great shape (the two pieces don't seem to meet perfectly), but if you can get past that small fact, you've got a ridiculously awesome metal retro yellow table. How hip.
 And just when I thought we were done, Ez made more picks - he wants this lamp for his house at college (cough:cough - MOM)
 And he wants this table for behind the sofa - this long table is painted brown (so not the best quality) but is the right size and length and is $35!
We walked away with our treasures - I with my table and Ez with his record, clock, and globe he picked up along the way. We were richer for the time we had spent there - lots of ideas, laughs, and conversation in addition to our treasures bought. 

In finding antique treasure,
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