Good morning friends! Today I'm super happy to announce that I have offically started my own floral design and styling business! This is something I've been dreaming of doing for years now (remember this post?), but never had the courage or time to take the leap and just do it.
Like many things in my life, the over arching mission with my flower work is sustainability. I'll be sourcing most of my flowers, foliage and fruit from local farms, (something that might be challenging in the begining, considering there aren't many in Florida just yet!), and I'm even working on plans to turn my yard into a giant cutting garden/meadow. I'll re-use jars, second-hand containers, and purchase pottery pieces from local artisians for vases.
It feels really nice to be able to share this, as I've been working on it and thinking about it non stop for a while now. You can check out my new website right here and, if you need flowers, you can contact me here!
These photos are of one of the arrangments I put together for Mother's Day, featuring chickasaw plum branches and gardenias clipped from my yard, organic lilacs, tulips and hyacinth.
Photos by me. More, here.
My absolute favorite restaurant in Winter Park these days is Fresh. The dishes are super fresh (living up to the name!) and healthy, and nearly all of their ingredients are sourced within a 150 mile radius. The atmosphere is equally incredible - intimate, genuine and super down to earth. It's also very affordable, considering the quality.
The Grilled Peach Salad, on the lunch menu, is probably my favorite dish right now. I also can't resist ordering the Yucca Fries every time I go. The dipping sauces are so delicious!
Their sweet little store front, located on New England (across from Dexters) in the Hannibal Square district, is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, and then Sunday for brunch. I highly recommend if/when you're in town!
Photos taken with my iPhone, the last time we were there at lunch.
Our Chickasaw Plum trees are in full fruit bearing mode right now and they are absolutely beautiful. It's been so fun, and amazing, to watch them change from season to season. In late February their branches blossomed the most incredibly lovely, fragrant white flowers. By April, the flowers had fallen off, the leaves were back and the plums started coming in.
Some of the plums have started to ripen, but most of them are still green.
I'm excited to watch them grow over the coming weeks, and can't wait to pick some so I can try out a few new recipes. I'm thinking jam, possibly a pie and definitely some wine. Any other suggestions?
All photos by Me. See more, here!
My dad came over to visit a few weekends ago, so we took him on the Winter Park Boat Tour. One of the neat things about our city, is that it's the very first, centrally planned community in the state. Since it was designed before cars, Winter Park is very much built to the human scale, with a wonderful collection of parks and greenspace, a (working!) train station right in the middle of the downtown and an awesome network of canals that connects all the major lakes.
The boat tour takes you through the canals from lake to lake. It's one of my favorite things to do here and arguably the best way to tour the city.
I love peeking into all the tiny boat houses (I could totally live in one) and scouting out the tropical vegetation and wildlife... mostly birds, sometimes alligators ;)
All photos by me. Some are from my instagram feed, sorry for any repetition!
Wow. Tim and I are coming up on the one year anniversary of purchasing our first house and starting our first ever, gut renovation. I cannot believe how fast time flies! I would've never imagined that I'd take this long to share photos. But, to be quite honest, the whole home purchase, renovation thing has been sort of a roller-coaster for us. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm really happy that we were in a position to be able to do this, but I don't think we could have done a better job at under-estimating the amount of money, work and time it actually takes to not just own a house, but also design, plan, manage and implement a gut renovation (while also living there, eek!). It's pretty much insane, especially when we both work full time, 9-5 office jobs and have huge personal career ambitions and business plans.
I'm being totally honest here, because I think it's important to share that these things aren't just a piece of cake, and they DON'T happen overnight. It's a major commitment that requires a lot of work and oversight. Our one year mark is May 22nd, and we're about 70% done with the entire renovation. You wouldn't believe how happy I am to finally be at the point where I can share "after" photos. Huge sigh of relief!
As you can probably tell by the photos, this house needed A LOT of work. Like a lot, a lot. It was built in 1972 as a very small 2/2 and then renovated in the early 90's to reconfigure the bedrooms, install a new roof, add a couple skylights and open up the kitchen. Other than that, nothing else had been touched since the late 70's. So, we decided to completely re-do all the electric, plumbing, flooring, lighting, ceilings (they were popcorn!), replace the kitchen and both bathrooms, and move the laundry room from inside the guest room into a large, vacant closet - all within a $30,000 budget... Crazy, I know.
We took out an FHA 203k mortgage, instead of a traditional one, so we could have money up front to do the repairs. It was a very interesting process, but it worked out pretty well. Once we had the mortgage squared away, we started construction planning. The kitchen was extremely dated, the appliances weren't all working properly and there was mold growing under the sink, so we knew the whole thing would have to go. Plus, we wanted to re-configure the layout to have better counter space and fit a normal sized sink and dishwasher.
The Dinning Room, Living Room and Kitchen are all open to each other, in one major space. They basically each have their own quadrant. When we moved in, there was no light in the dinning area and there was a very gross trench/hole in the back of the closet (more on that later).
The living room was no where near as rough as some of the other rooms. So we didn't have much to fix there, just paint, lighting, ceiling fan, trim and flooring
Since the house was built a long time ago, and has seen another renovation, there is a giant, awkward room in the middle, on the other side of the kitchen wall. Apparently, at one point, it was the master bedroom, but we decided that we would make it in to an office/library/den space. It was covered in gnarly, 1970's faux paneling, so we had to remove all that, re-do the electric, and have new walls put in. There was also a huge, random, empty closet that we decided to turn into our laundry room.
Out of all the rooms in the house, I think the guest bath was my least favorite. Like the den, it was covered in faux paneling and had such a horrible layout that you could barley fit one person in there at a time. We made a lot of changes to this room. It was completely gutted, all the way down to the dirt!
When you walk from the kitchen, through the den, you end up in a little mudroom with a door that leads out to the driveway and garage. Off that mudroom, is the guest bedroom. The guest room was pretty simple, but also had some weird things going on. First, you entered the room through bi-folding closet doors (?!). Then once you were in there, for some other weird reason, which I will never understand, the washer and dryer were there!
In a random closet!! So odd. We knew that we had to change that too, so we decided to move it to the giant, empty den closet.
There is a small hallway off the Dinning/Living room area that leads to the master bedroom and bathroom. When we moved in, the bathroom was only accessible from this hallway, so we decided to make it a real master bath by closing off that entrance, and making a new one from inside our room. We made a bunch of other changes too. We basically re-built the entire thing after gutting it down to the dirt, like the other bathroom and kitchen.
Thank goodness the Master Bedroom was the nicest room in the house pre-renovation, because it became our haven. We split the interior renovation into two stages, so when the otherside of the house was being gutted and re-built, this was our hideaway. And, although it is so much nicer and cleaner now, compared to everything else, it wasn't so bad for a few months.
The house is very long and narrow (like the lot!), so we basically have no backyard, just a 5 foot ally behind the house. The front yard and side yard are pretty big though. To the left of the house is a cute little, one car garage. We also have 3 patios! One screened in off the den, one with a pergola off the Master Bedroom and one, uncovered off the Living Room. The exterior is what we're working on right now (the other 30% of the reno!) and we have some very exciting plans!
I'm going to post our interior "after" photos on here over the next 8 weeks or so, along with some exterior shots as we finish the outside.
Sorry for all the ugly photos and lengthy commentary! But this is what my life has been for the past year and it's only fitting that I share it on here, with anyone else that still reads this blog... haha.
Thanks for reading! I can't wait to post more pictures!