Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Tunes Review: Jekyll + Hyde

The long anticipated release of Jekyll + Hyde by Zac Brown Band occurred this week. It's full of transitions from soft to hard and high to low. By the album title alone, you knew they were aiming for kind of a shock. Does it work? Well... I'll let you decide. They've never been ashamed to admit that they will take risks and do their own thing. This album puts an explanation point on that claim.

They shine the brightest on the songs that bring them back to their southern-country roots. "Remedy" has a Celtic sound with heavenly harmonies and inspiring lyrics behind a choir. The arrangement is a bit busy but not out of place. I was a fan of their first single, "Homegrown," after the first listen. It's the fourth track on this album. It has a great head-nodding beat with a solid country sound about growing up in a small town. I've got everything I need, and nothing that I don't. "Dress Blues" written by Jason Isbell is about a soldier who doesn't make it home. Unfortunately this song is buried in the latter half of the album and could be missed. Seek it out. And finally, "Wildfire" is a pretty cool track that's worth a listen.

There are two songs that feature guest artists that I should mention. "Mango Tree" has a big band arrangement that features a wonderful vocal from Sara Bareilles. They harmonize so well together, however the song seems extremely out of place on this album. Following that is a completely opposite track, "Heavy is the Head," which features Chris Cornell. Thick on the guitars and drums, it's certainly more hard rock than country.

Expect the unexpected on this album. That seems to be the overall theme with this band, so maybe just expect more of the same? Except there are more cringe worthy tunes than not on this album which leaves me disappointed overall. This kind of album makes me appreciate iTunes where I can buy the tracks that I really want and just skip the rest.

Overall rating: C-

Notable Tracks: "Homegrown"  "Dress Blues"  "Remedy"

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Timing Just Seemed Right

It was finally time. We've been thinking, scheming, and planning for months now. Searching for the right design, locating the perfect materials, and deciding on colors we could both agree on. It's a little intimidating taking on a project like this, but we were ready....

The BEFORE photo
Bathroom remodel time!

Yep, it's a big project but the timing seemed right. We figured it would take at least a week to complete. We were almost right about that. But since we were flexible on the completion date, that really didn't phase us much. The delays were mainly because we decided to get fancy with the tile design (totally worth it) and just drying time on the grout. Sometimes you forget to factor that in. We had great help, stayed within our budget (a little over but eh...), and LOVE the results.

The "before" photo I posted was actually taken at the end of day two. I completely forgot to snap a photo before they started. So just imagine a tiny shower with a glass door around that wall.  The mud you see was a regular wall which will now become the extended shower.  Also imagine ugly linoleum on the floor and an old white toilet. If you can imagine all of that, you definitely understand why a remodel was necessary! Not pictured is the vanity to the right which did not change.

Day Three
They made great progress and by day three the shower tile was finished! Doesn't it look great?  This picture is pre-grout. I think cutting the tile and doing the diagonal (like I said before, not in the original idea) added some time to the project. A peek around the corner into the actual shower is posted later (it was still a big mess at the time of this photo).  It's hard to capture it all since the space is so long and narrow, but basically the new shower does not have a door and extends the entire length of the wall. We lost about an inch of width but gained a lot of length and no ugly door to clean (bonus)!

By day five, the floor is tiled and the grout is finished.  Then we had to pause. If you walk on the tiles, they could pop loose or the grout could break... I actually don't remember all of the rules. I just knew I couldn't use my bathroom for a few more days!

Day Six
As you can tell, I don't know much about laying tile, but supposedly there is an acid wash you put over it to remove the film. That happened around day six or seven. Also around this time, the new toilet was installed, the shower was sealed, and then my help was needed....

Day Eight
It was time to paint! Yes, I'm the painter. I don't really mind it as much as my husband (he loathes painting). I actually find it quite satisfying seeing the end of my work. It's a bit messy (I always get paint in my hair) and my arms are usually sore the next day, but I don't mind it. However, I would NOT want to do this for a living. That's one thing I always learn through these projects - I could never, ever do this as a hobby or for a living. That's why I have a desk job.  Ha!

It may be hard to tell, but we went with a very warm color scheme. The walls are a much darker mocha color than the light green from before. The floor is a dark tile that resembles wood. The shower tile has a lot of taupe and brown. The trim on the floor and around the window is a very dark brown. We wanted to keep everything neutral and classy.

Here's a little glimpse into the shower with this three photo collage. The bottom left shows the shower floor and far corner. The top left is the same corner with a little more of the wall showing. In the right photo you can see the built in shelves (which I love) and where the shower nozzle is. The small tile is on the ceiling also.

Welcome to Spa Marks!
Just a few more finishing touches to do like finish the door and put up some blinds. We also want to install some shelving above the toilet to store towels and other items. Total time was almost two weeks. We absolutely love it. It was well worth all of the work and sharing one bathroom as a family (my kids might have a difference of opinion there).

I think remodeling a bathroom instantly increases the resale value of your home, so don't be scared to try it for yourself. Go for it! All good projects start with a thorough plan. So do some planning and then plan some more before you begin. If you've already completed a bathroom remodel, high five, my friend! It's quite a project but the rewards are great!

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's been how many weeks?

Twelve.  It's been a dozen weeks since my last post. Three months is quite a long hiatus considering my goal was once a week. Maybe I should consider writing once a quarter.

So what have I been doing during this time? Obviously nothing too exciting to write about. I'll give you the quick rundown with a few photos, of course.

I'll skip February. It was cold. Enough said.

March 8:   I ran a beer mile! This was a fun event. Four laps, one beer per lap, try not to fall down or puke. Check, check aaaand.... CHECK! I did not fall down or puke! In fact I had a victory beer after the race. My race time was terrible, but that wasn't the point! I would totally do this again.

March 25:  We went to Branson for part of Spring Break! We received season tickets to Silver Dollar City as a Christmas gift (really great idea), so we decided to take a long weekend. However, the weather was kind of crappy. It rained really hard on our way down. It was sunny the next day but really windy and chilly. We went to SDC anyway, and it was super crowded. We waited in line for over an hour for our favorite rides. It rained the next day, so we found other things to do like Ripley's Believe It and hiked along Table Rock Lake. And on the way home, we stopped at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and Bass Pro. All together, it was nice to get away for a few days as a family.

April 18:  Missouri Beer Fest! Always a fun time. Breweries from across the state meet in Columbia to share their craft. We had special shirts printed up for Broadway Brewery which I was geeking out over! Don't you just love them?

Welcome to the Craft Side!

So that should catch you up to the present day. I promise I won't be as much of a stranger on here.

More posts to come!!!


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