Kitchen Reno Reveal

Our kitchen reno is finished! (well almost… but we won’t talk about that in this post)

It just took under a year from inception and planning to completion for our kitchen renovation. That timeline was not at all what we were expecting… honestly if someone would’ve told us it would’ve been 8-11 months and kitchenless over the holidays, I don’t think we would’ve tackled the project when we did – so it was a blessing in disguise. It’s surreal to have this giant, brand new kitchen… especially compared to what we had, we added an 6x8ft section, which didn’t seem like much in the planning, but it was huge in the end! All of the details and planning came together and she sure is pretty.

Let’s take a look at where we started:

Project Recap

As I mentioned in previous updates, we had “contractor” drama and cabinet delays for days – but once it came time to the finishing touches, we were pretty much in control. Our cabinets were delivered and installed relatively quickly, although, as we came to find out with our counter and backsplash install not everything was as even or level as we were told or had hoped – but I know it was done with a bit more care than if our “contractor” stuck around.

Our biggest learning from our biggest home project to date is that good, quality workers are hard to find – I would be curious if we paid more money (but trust me, the bill for our kitchen was not cheap!) for some of those things if the quality, craftsmanship and customer service would’ve been better – part of me thinks not (unless we were paying like triple?). Our countertop company, Granite Works, was the only company we worked with that we had nearly zero qualms about! But even with all the headaches, at the end of the day, we also reminder ourselves that we live in a 100+ year old home, and even with the “new” she’s still a little rough – and now we still have an amazingly beautiful kitchen.

The Big Reveal

The finishes all seemed to come together, and we’ve definitely been told by many people that our kitchen is “very white.” But we like everything light, clean, and classic. One of the trickier pieces was honestly getting the brass/gold finishes to match – but I’d say we did pretty good with 90% of them. The appliances (as much as I love them) are a bit more of a darker bronze. We went with easy and classic white shaker cabinets and a Calacatta Miraggio Gold quartz counter that has this beautiful brown veining that runs through it and pulls the golds, flooring, and backsplash nicely together.

The breakfast nook is honestly my fave, from the garbage picked table upcycle to the DIY oversized settee we created – it just makes the space cozy. I’m sure there will be some additional decorating the walls, I’m looking forward to adding in more wood grain pops with the deeper walnut color from our table, it’s nice and warming to compliment the white and gold. We also have shelves that match the cabinets to go over the sink area, but haven’t installed them yet – maybe we will, maybe we won’t. I honestly, just don’t know what to do with so much counter space!

We already hosted our first event, an Easter brunch – the bloody and mimosas bar was perfectly placed (sadly, I forgot to take photos) and there was plenty of room for people to get around one another. I’ll share a post that links out all the actual finishes from the backsplash to the floors… but until then let the dance parties, endless plates of snacks and food, afternoons of Moz soaking up the sunshine and bottle popping commence!

Want to look back at our Kitchen Reno project?
📜 Kitchen Reno – The Plan
🛠️ Demo & Mood Board
🎨 Kitchen Progress Update

Travel: Palm Springs Hikes

After four years, we made it back to one of our favorite spots: Palm Springs/Palm Desert, California. This trip was the first time we would be there for an entire week, normally we would just stay for 4-5 nights – which honestly is also plenty – but the extra few days for us was definitely a treat.

Since we were staying longer, I wanted to venture outside of our normal PSP vacay routine (which is eat, pool, drink on repeat) and find some hikes to venture out to. Indian Canyons was the first thing that stood out and often a handful of different hikes, plus it’s not far from downtown Palm Springs. And then I wanted to venture out to Joshua Tree Park, since it’s so widely talked about, but we’ve never officially gone – I found this neat Ladder Canyon Hike in Painted Canyon that looked super cool. Spoiler; we didn’t make it out to JTP – our desert-dwelling friends suggested another free hike, that was closer and thought we would enjoy more.

Selfie from the Josie Johnson Vista Park via the Carl Lykken Trail

Murray Canyon Hike

This is labeled as a moderate 4.7 mile hike and is an in and out hike. It cost us $26 to get into the ‘park’ which we were only expecting to pay $10 – so I was a little surprised about that, but the Murray Canyon Hike was worth it. If you want to make a day of it, I’d probably try to plan another hike to get a little more of your money’s worth, as we did not do that.

With temps supposed to get up into the mid-80’s, we made sure to get an early start, which isn’t hard since we were operating on East Coast time. We started our hike just before 9am, which was perfect because we beat the crowd. I would suggest 8:15 or 8:30am if you really want to get a jump on everyone. It took us an hour in and an hour back to complete this hike. It was definitely magical with little ‘air conditioned’ sections through palm tree jungled oasis with streams and mini canyons. There was also so scaling and parts of the trail that were a bit questionable, luckily we caught up with some people to mimic the way.

The end of the trail was just so lackluster – but the journey there is really what you should focus on, stop and soak in. You miss a lot of the same magic on the way out since you’re going the opposite way. But there were some incredible spots, especially the biggest waterfall.

Carl lykken trail (free)

This hike was recommended by our desert-dwelling friends, as it was right behind where they used to live! This free hiking trail is easy to spot, as you can count on a handful or more cars parked along the roadside at the trailhead. We definitely were underprepared for this hike, as we decided to keep going, beyond part 1 which was a short 40-minute steep incline to a picnic area known as Simonetta Kennett Vista Point. This first part was pretty much all uphill, had steep drop-offs while you scaled stone vs. dirt for a majority of the path. We wanted a bit more, so we kept going an additional 2-miles. 🙃 That part of the hike was fairly boring compared to part 1, and didn’t add for much more of a view, but got us additional steps and exercise! This hike is not shaded at all, so wear a hat, dose your body in sunscreen and pack a water bottle.

We ended up venturing to the Josie Johnson Vista Park, before heading back the way we came. Our hike ended with a total of 6-miles and 1,726 elevations climbed. Let me tell you, the mountains around Palm Springs are simply stunning – B and I definitely have a thing for mountain towns. Going down part 1 from the Simonetta Kennett Vista Point to the Lykken Trailhead, was tough on the toes as it is almost all downhill and steep!

Both hikes were super unique and really cool. The Murray Canyon trail took you through a magical desert oasis with views to soak in along the road – while the Carl Lykken Trail offered sprawling views of Palm Springs and the surrounding rolling mountains.

Looking for more Palm Spring adventures and mile long views? Check out my guide for visiting Palm Springs Aerial Tram (note this was written pre-pandemic and doesn’t include any new rules/restrictions). Happy desert living!

32 (Belated) Birthday Reflections

I had full intentions of getting this post up on my birthday, 11 days ago – but I embraced our desert vacay and shut off from all personal and professional work (at least 95% of it!).

And it felt so good.

One resounding reflection I had during my birthday week and over our Palm Springs vacay was just how necessary a trip like that is, for everyone – and just how good for the soul it is. And as much as I’ve always tried to do more that is good for the soul, it wasn’t until I was sitting poolside without a care in the world that I realized this was the ultimate good for the soul moment.

This past year I feel like I’ve made leaps and bounds in prioritizing my anxiety, mental and physical health – and I’ve noticed the resounding change in just feeling better. Although trust me, there are still plenty of weak and challenging moments – I know my anxiety is always looming in the shadows. Perfect example, on our travel home from our super relaxing and perfect trip – we had a layover, the airport was packed with people and I was instantly overcome with chest pain and anxiety which stayed with me for the rest of our travel and even into the next day being home. The switch flipped from vacay back to reality and my anxiety was right there to welcome me home.

But as I reflect on all those good moments from the vacay week, I just felt so content on my birthday and looking ahead. I want to continue riding the 2022 wave, do things we want to do, not be afraid, and start living life again – and continue to choose and prioritize those good for the soul moments. I also want to not be afraid to share my voice, opinions, grow confidence in myself, the decisions I make – and honestly stop caring so much what other people think (it’s really hard!). I hope 32 brings on lots of hosting in our new kitchen, slow moments and soaking life in. ☀️🌴🍹

To be able to spend a week in paradise with B, my person, was simply incredible. I felt beyond blessed, grateful and was so spoiled all week and had the best time taking a break from life, kitchen renovations, and the last 2-years.

Book the trip, rent the mustang, and order another cocktail. Here’s to 32! 💜🎉

Travel: Palm Springs Eats – part 2

One of our favorite things about travel and Palm Springs is all the good eats, cute restaurants, and different memories we create along the way. I will say, eating out in Palm Springs adds up quickly, I feel like everything is a minimum of $18 and goes up from there – another reason to make this trip a 4-5 day vacay instead of a full 7-days! But honestly, we never regretted any meals and got to try out a few new spots, while returning to our old favorites.

A few weeks before our travel to PSP, they dropped their dining in mandates/requirements – so we were able to enjoy a pre-covid kind of life, even though the next best thing about dining in Palm Springs is you can basically sit outdoors anywhere you go!

gigi’s – best experience

Gigi’s was our first dinner in Palm Springs – and honestly, it was incredible. As soon as we were seated by the hostess and offered complimentary champagne (to which we said, yes please) – the experience was great, the food was amazing, and the atmosphere was intimate and magical. Not to mention the service was so attentive and on point – we were so well taken care of by our server and the rest of the staff.

The cocktails were tasty and had their own unique twist. I ordered the How Cosmopolitan and it came out yellow but was so tasty and refreshing, I had to order a second one! B ordered Gigi’s Martini that was served with crispy fried olives – we have never seen that before and it was definitely a yummy treat. When we get back to Gigi’s I definitely want to try the Tea Snack Tower that they offer for their Hors D’oeuvres – because everything on that list looks unbelievable. We had the GiGi’s Onion Dip Bacon Powder with Waffle Chips and Caviar and the Pig In a Blankey Wagyu Beef Sausage with a Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Puree, Wellington-Style, served with a pink truffle mustard aioli (pictured bottom right). I ordered the Wedge Salad for my main dish, while B got the Charred Broccoli Waldorf salad and Crispy Brick Jidori Chicken, everything was amazing. Honestly, our only complaint was the Brussel Sprouts, they were not crispy and only offered big pieces of bacon. I’d love to try their brunch out next time we visit also, but 10 out of 10 at Gigi’s for us.

returning favES

In & Out Burger – We love this west coast chain. From the atmosphere, amazing customer service with friendly faces, double cheeseburgers, and animal fries – we had to hit up this favorite twice while we were in Cali. Not to mention we love supporting companies who don’t buckle to corporate America and the backward narrative.

Wilma & Frieda’s – This is another favorite, especially for brunch. We actually ate here three times – once at the downtown Palm Springs location and twice in the El Paso, Palm Desert location, which we prefer for the views and neighborhood. Ordering their homemade biscuits is a must! We also got to try some of their bakery treats, the W&F Bar was brought out to celebrate my birthday and it was incredible, we also tried their strawberry pop tart and that was incredible too. They also serve delicious and reasonably priced mimosas!

Tropicale – Another incredible spot with a great atmosphere, drinks, and delicious food. The way to go here is definitely small plates to share with the table – although the entrees are also delicious. Heading here early for a happy hour cocktail is also a great go-to, but reservations are a must as they fill up fast! The inside is definitely sexy, but the outdoor space is magical and pink.

Honorable mentions

Copley’s in Palm Springs – This is where we dined for my birthday dinner. Copley’s is known for its incredible and spacious outdoor dining space and offers mountain views. The garden walled entryway is a dreamy welcome and the trees throughout are also magical, as the sunset, the lights lit the patio for a truly intimate evening – luckily we could see our dinner! We started with the Chicken and Lemongrass Pot Stickers to share at the table, they were great. From there, B ordered the Ahi Tuna Special, which he loved and I got the Charred-Grilled Center Cut Pork Chop (pictured below). My favorite part of this, however, was being surprised with our desserts being lit with gold glitter candles that B snuck to the waiter for my birthday – I was so surprised, it was awesome!

The Pink Cabana – This is probably the cutest place we ate at and an influencer’s dream for those in-feed photos. Our family friends also picked and arranged this spot for us. I give the Pink Cabana mixed reviews. The champagne selection wasn’t my fave (but that is kind of a problem in California, IMO), and the appetizers weren’t the best – also sitting outside was great, but once it got dark we couldn’t even see our food, also our server wasn’t the greatest, I think we were too much fun for him. The main courses were however incredible, I got a Wagyu steak special that was served with mushrooms, broccolini, and sweet potatoes. B got the Pescatarian Tagine and only wished there was more of it – he also ordered the Hot to Trot cocktail which he enjoyed, but wished it was a little more spicey!

Starbucks Reserve – We of course had to stop at the Starbucks Reserve in downtown Palm Springs. Steps away from the Marilyn Monroe statue, we had no clue what to expect, but it was pretty cool. I was not expecting craft coffee cocktails (sans alcohol) basically – B ordered The Melrose, which was a cold brew shaken with cherry bitters, and topped with Bordeaux cherries (see the first photo, on the right).

Since being home we’ve gotten back into our gut-healthy eating lifestyle, but as I mentioned we love exploring and trying new food when we travel. From the endless patios, views, trendy spots, and unique food dishes we are always here for it.

B was definitely on an ahi tuna and spicy cocktail kick, while I was all about the meat and desserts. We also were able to dine with our desert-dwelling friends four times while we were in the desert and they are truly such great company, our dinners were filled with multiple cocktails, laughter, and delicious food – and honestly what is much better in life than that?

Check out our Palm Springs Eats – Part 1 from our last trip.

My 2022 Goals

I’ll have to admit, the start of the new year did not have me excited. There was nothing ‘new’ to look forward to, and I was feeling less than motivated about making goals for the new year. My IG caption for NYE was; “Hey 2022, we have no expectations for you!” – and that has been widely true after the last two letdowns, I feel like it’s the safe bet. Not to mention, we got hit with the Rona the first week of January, soooo our month has been widely focused on that and taking care of our health.

In my 2021 recap, which was also a bit delayed, I reflected on a lot of the positives that did come with the year, which honestly can be summed up in my goal successes from this past year.

Goal Successes: I paid off my student loans and way ahead of schedule might I add (like 10-months ahead of schedule), which was such a great accomplishment and huge relief. I continued to invest in myself and started therapy, went to a lot of doctor’s appointments to figure out what was wrong with me, which resulted in a completely changed my diet/lifestyle, and eating better food.

Typically, I liked to share in detail my goals for the year – but I’m not going to do that this year. Instead, I’m going to still write them down in my notebook and work on conquering them this new year. It’s a lot of the same honestly, with a few more specific ones but I’ll continue putting my mental and physical health first (through food, exercise, self-care, making me a priority), take trips for B and me, save more money, continue to work on my anxiety and build boundaries.

I will say, I do firmly believe in making goals, setting intentions, and making priorities for yourself. They help you adjust and prioritize, reel yourself in, or push yourself more. I actually already accomplished one of my 2022 goals… so I’m hoping that will be a bit more liberating and help me continue to do more things that I want to do with B.

Here is too minimal expectations, letting our hair down, and having some fun this year!

DIY – Stair Runner Upgrade

Our first project of the year is complete! After being sick most of January, we finally had enough energy to conquer this project which was a quick 3-hour project with a huge impact. After seeing Peony and Honey’s stair runner makeover, the wheels were spinning, but nothing started to move. It wasn’t until we put our removable stair treads back on our bare wooden steps that I was not loving the look anymore! So I did a little extra research, found some runner options, and pitched the idea to B.

We had a two-tiered staircase with a larger landing with bay windows going up to our second floor. So there was some debate about how to treat the landing – which may still be coming, but for now is going to be bare wood floors. Regardless, we needed to get two runners for our project to account for the two runs. We figured out our length needed by measuring the stair height and tread and then multiplying it by the number of steps to get our total length in feet. Oh! And this is definitely a two-person job if anything to help keep the carpet tight while the other staples in place.

DIY Shopping List:
– Runners according to your measure length – we ordered a 2x10ft and a 2x12ft rug
Electric Staple Gun
Staples
– Pliers
– Exacto Knife

I was honestly hoping this project would be a little more affordable, but we ended up picking out runners that were more expensive, which drove the majority of the budget. The runners are definitely more plush, which was good for hiding the staples. This one couple, which was part of my research did theirs for $100 – so it’s definitely possible to do this on the cheaper end with some more affordable rugs and different nailing tools. This DIY project was around $360 for us.

Before we got started, I vacuumed and washed the steps with Murphy’s Oil Soap to make sure they were super clean (& dry) before we put the runners on. After all of our construction, they definitely needed it! The smaller of the two stairs took us a little over an hour to get the runner on, and then larger steps, closer to 2-hours because it was a little bigger and these are the main stairs you see from the first floor.

Step-by-Step:
1. First you start at the top of your stair, with the flat end of the rug – make sure it’s centered within your stair with equal length on either side before stapling into place. Stapling along the sides of the rug and top is key to getting it secure!
2. Make sure it’s tight, as you work into both back of your stair to fold over top on the stair topper.
3. Once you get to the first ledge, it’s important to fold over and staple along the length to keep it in place and tight! Ours was tricky because it was very plush, so finding the sweet spot in between the plush was crucial to getting a tight and secure staple in.
4. Basically rinse and repeat down your stairs! You definitely get the hang of it after the first couple of stairs.
5. Once you get to the bottom, get an exacto knife to cut your leftover rug. We put a piece of wood underneath as to not damage our flooring and get a good straight cut across. Using heat along the cut edge will help from fraying – I suggest a heat gun. (We ended up cutting a little longer, and folding under to avoid the fraying).
6. Afterwards, I went back and replaced any staples that were super noticeable, or hid them by adjusting the rug with pliers ever so gently. I also went and reinforced any sides and areas that moved more than I liked.

B and I love how this turned out – and it is definitely an upgrade! As I mentioned, we may add a runner to the landing that matches or update the landing rug on the second floor to match this as well for a little more cohesion. I also feel like we need some new curtains for the bay windows… *immediately opens the Target app*.

Bee’s 2021 Recap

Bear with me, I was really hoping to get this up pre-2022, but alas, I had a lot of mixed feelings about 2021 when it came to writing this recap and a lot of mixed feelings with the new year coming. So I think I’ll keep it short and sweet.

2021 was sort of worse than 2020. Does anyone else agree? 2021 started off with a lot of loss. Most of it was expected, but there was one that wasn’t and it hit and hurt hard and still does. 2021 also brought on loss, not so much in the physical sense but relationship sense too – it’s hard to describe, but losing family can be one of a relationship even though they’re still physically on this earth. But there is also some healing in coming up with that resolution… as I said, 2021 brings on some dark feelings. Scroll for some positive.

As I was pushing myself this past week to not focus on the negative of 2021 – I did realize that there were definitely a few achievements and highlights even if they felt few and far between. My biggest I think was my gut health journey and lifestyle change for the better. Kicking off nearly 25-30lbs off of my body and completely changing my knowledge, learning about my body, seeing what works and what truly doesn’t work for my body from a food perspective has been life-changing – especially when I break away from it.

Other highlights included; celebrating miracle Mav, learning and connecting more with good friends and family, getting over grudges, learning to trust a bit better, getting on an airplane yet again in the midst of a pandemic, actually starting our kitchen renovation, not being afraid to use my voice in the moment and in tougher situations, creating boundaries and saying no.

So 2022, I’m trying not to have any expectations for you – not even finishing out kitchen, because the last few years bring on false hope and I’m honestly over it. So whatever you got 2022, let’s go.

Merry Christmas – 2021

Merry Christmas! B and I were really hoping to have a brand new kitchen for Christmas, but apparently, the Grinch is in charge of cabinet lead times.

But next Christmas we’re going to have a killer new space that I’ll be sure to bake too many cookies in, drink too much champagne in, deck the halls with, and even host a few get-togethers and dare I say get our annual Christmas party back in the books!? Oh, what joy that will bring!

I hope that your holiday is filled with the true meaning of Christmas, new memories, sweet treats, lots of love, health, and happiness. I hope the family drama can be ignored for at least one day, maybe two… and that we can just be thankful to be together. ♥️

Merry Christmas with love from B, Moz & me!

Kitchen Reno – An Update

My last kitchen reno update was from August with demo officially underway. Fast-forwarded to mid-September we confirmed our ‘contractor’ and got work started, as we finally got city permit approval – which was honestly such a pain in the butt and took way longer than anticipated. So to give an abbreviated update on a big project that has lasted over the last 3-4 months, I’m going to touch on a few of the roadblocks – but spare the gory deets – cause we are in such a better place.

OK, let’s get into it. One of the biggest outcomes of the permit process was the need to actually add and build a new foundation for the 2ft by 8ft area we were expanding as opposed to doing a cantilever. This added to the timeline and budget, but in the end, honestly a better solution. So this first part of the process was SLOW, waiting for the brick, cement, and all the layers to dry and settle.

Cabinet Drama & Delays. Another roadblock that we didn’t anticipate was our kitchen cabinets. We were confident and told that we would be able to get those measured and ordered (before our footprint was complete). WELL, that wasn’t the case. The original cabinet company we decided to go with seemed to have a lot of upfront misinformation and we had to wait over a month before we were even close to being able to order cabinets (aka half our timeline) – as they requested to have drywall up before measuring and working on any layouts. Needless to say, the deadline of making Thanksgiving… or even Christmas was shot especially as lead times increased on top of that. Long story short, we ended up finding another (local) cabinet company who worked with us a million times better, had great communication, great solutions for our space, and a fair price compared to the original company (and the cabinets have been ordered!)

Contractor* Be Gone. At the beginning of November, we kindly said thanks for all your work to our ‘contractors’ and took over the rest from there. We quickly realized as more of the aesthetic work was being done that the attention to detail was missing severely and B and I are way too picky, spending a ton of money and have a vision and like things the way we like them. *grins* We ended up having to finish cleaning up the mudding, all the painting, flooring, finishing electric fixtures, adding all the trim work, and will end up doing the backsplash once we have cabinets and counters in place. This was a little extra sticky because it was a family friend who we went with, and have worked with before – but it just wasn’t going to work out for the full project like we’d hoped.

*I’m using the word “contractor” because it’s the easiest way to say our family friends who were doing the work for us.

REAL TALK: Dealing with the workers day in and day out, and living in the construction was EXHAUSTING. It NEVER ended – this heightened once the workers were actually in the house. And B and I were not in a good space as a team – we were stressed, arguing, upset, and frustrated with the work, progress, communication, lack of communication, games, and everything else in between and we were just over it. The unfortunate best thing for us was to get as much done from them, give a firm cut-off date and cut ties for our sanity. The sanity still took a bit to get back to… but I think we are finally in a better place (until we have to install the backsplash I am sure). 🙃

Now What? Basically, we are in the ‘wait for cabinets’ stage – which we’re hoping come sometime in January?! We have a big open room just waiting for it to truly become a kitchen. We are also waiting for our stove to be delivered again, so hopefully no more delays from that end. We were able to finish the floor install over Thanksgiving with a huge help to my parents – and again, thank goodness, because the attention to detail my dad has doesn’t even compare to our ‘workers’ and I know B and I would’ve been pissed… but I’m digressing!

We cannot wait to host in our kitchen, I honestly just cannot wait to have a sink on the main floor… and for my dining room and rest of the house to get back in order with everything misplaced. So, until then, we wait!