Fabulous Friday Favorite – Ballard Outlet


TGIF!!!  It has been one crazy week at the Smith household.  Kid activities every night this week – lacrosse practices, book club (oops, that is my activity), debate match, athletic banquet and band banquet.  I am whooped!  Of course not too whooped to show you a FFF that is also has some really good deals!

Here in Atlanta, we are lucky enough to have two Ballard Outlets.  One of the outlets is not too far from my house, so I like to visit it every once in a while (that is wife code for frequently).  My last visit was one of the best, as far as inventory being plenty.  This outlet store is like so many others, it can be “hit or miss” depending on the day. They run weekly specials that are listed on the big bulletin board when you walk in.  Remember my little orange furniture piece for my foyer?  Yep – Ballard Outlet!

If you are not familiar with Ballard’s, you don’t know what you are missing!  Run (don’t walk) to your computer and check out their website for some full price goodies.  They also have a wonderful catalog you should be sure to sign up for when you are on their site!  If you are patient, the items eventually make it to the outlet store.  Patience is not really my forte … but for a really good deal, I will wait!

Here are my finds from my last visit …Please keep in mind that I took these photos on the “sly” on my camera phone.  I always feel weird taking pictures in a store – I am waiting for Dateline to jump out from behind the counter and bust me!  I apologize for the quality of the photos – but I think you will get the gist!

Lamp shades that look like mercury glass for $5.00 – Really!

Yardsticks made into a table?  I think we can make this.

Lots of mirrors for all different tastes and styles!  Looks like someone bought quite a few off the wall before I got there.

I was drooling over these sconces.  I love the patina and size!  Gorgeous.  They did not go home with me – but they sure wanted to!

Clocks – Box – Ticks – Tocks.  Clocks in Box go Tick Tock.

No – that was not Dr. Seuss writing that last line – it was me.  I might take up rapping in my spare time.  Watch out Eminem!

How cool would this nautical rope spool table (that’s my name for it) look in a beach house?

Close up of nautical rope spool table top.

Love the look of old wood with contemporary iron.

I actually bought this next many years ago from this outlet store.  I got it for about $50.00 because it had no legs.  I bought some cheap wooden legs on-line – stained them to (almost) match the desk – screwed them on and wa-la! New desk.  It has been in my son’s room and still looks great!

A cute cottage corner piece.  This would look great in a girl’s room, playroom or even a really casual living room.  It is hard to find a corner piece with a cottage look.

The outlet is doing a much better job at setting up little scenes within the store.  I like the way these accessories are displayed instead of just thrown on a shelf.

Doesn’t this headboard have the most amazing “lines”?  It was just sitting in the corner, all by itself, begging to go home with someone.

One entire wall of table tops and pedestal bottoms.  I have used one of these tables for crafting and it was incredible.  Big, sturdy and good looking.  Unfortunately it was too big to “make the cut” when we downsized.  I’m still bummed.

I love this desk.  I seem to be drawn to desks and tables with the “X” leg.  Oh and look at those zebra bags – they were spread out all over the store.  So cool!

This was a funky, nautical compass table.  It was the only one I saw in the store.  I am sure some lucky beach house owner or boating enthusiast snapped this little table right up!

Really like the nautical details on the legs of the table.

Tons of bulletin and chalk boards!

A display that includes a little of everything – rugs, furniture, pillows, mirrors and accessories.

Check out all those incredible planters in all shapes, colors and sizes.  They look like ceramic, but they are that lightweight foam stuffy (I think that’s the clinical word for it).  A couple of these pots were HUGE!  They would look amazing by a pool.

Linen – slip covered look chair.  Can be left as is … or could even be recovered for the price, you would still come out ahead.  I like the lines of this chair – could be French, Cottage or even English decor.

Speaking of French decor … look at this amazing ottoman!

Need some window treatments?  Start digging.

An entire wall of canvas art!  One of this day’s specials was 40% off all wall art.  Yipee!

I carried this picture around with me through the entire store.  I was sure it was mine.  At the last minute it went back on the wall – if I second guess, than it is not meant to be.  The flower was more coral than orange  – it threw me off. I really did like it.  Oh no … I am third guessing and that means I will now have to have it.

I would love to do a “knock-off” of this picture on my own.  I love how it looks like folk art!

Love love love the colors.  Hated that it was flat with no texture.  I wonder if I could do something like this by incorporating a thickening medium to make this a multi-dimensional piece. Another thing to add to the “to-do” list.

Daffodils are so happy!  This would look amazing on a porch!

Uh oh … another addition to the “to-do”.  This driftwood mirror is so awesome.  I am loving the textures and neutral color.  Ignore the stalking figure in black in the mirror.

Cute little clocks for $7.99.  What a great hostess gift!

Need a lampshade?

This headboard was sitting against the check-out counter.  It is just like the other lonely headboard, but a beautiful white washed color.  Love it!

I just barely captured this picture.  It was a display in the window and some lady came and bought the entire display – all the furniture and all the accessories.  Wow!

The other window display.

Outdoor cushions.  So bright and colorful!

Great little secretary desk with a bamboo chair.  So pretty.

I am seeing more and more white wash.  I like the quiet, neutral effect it has in a room.  Slip covers, sisal rugs, linen and white wash – great combination.

One of the things that are common at this outlet are pieces of furniture that may not have a match.  This is the hutch for the top of a desk – but check out what you can do with it …

A Bookcase for any room.  Incredible idea and pretty easy!  I love when you can reuse items for another purpose.

Wow!  Gorgeous mirrors for any room!!

I am exhausted from the tour – I didn’t even begin to show you all the lighting – another day.  Hope you enjoyed visiting the Ballard Outlet in Georgia.  It is worth the trip!

Hope your life is more heaven than havoc!


Yoga + Me = Awkward and Ugly


This cartoon reminds me of when I tried to do Yoga. One of my dearest friends is an amazing yoga teacher. I convinced my inflexible, goofy self that I would be perfect for yoga. I talked my girlfriend into teaching me privately so I wouldn’t make a fool of myself in front of a group. I think she would agree (although she won’t admit it) that I was probably the worst yoga student she had ever taught. I could never stop making comments on how crazy I must look upside down and why do my legs jiggle so much when I move that way.  I continued to add a lot of other comments that were probably not appropriate for a calm yoga room.

She tried to keep reminding me to be peaceful and centered – hmmmm…. Does peaceful and centered include getting the giggles and asking how much longer do I have to lay like this?  It’s a good thing we are such close friends.

I really wanted to be that flexible, toned, peaceful and centered woman – just like my dear friend/teacher. I guess I will have to settle for jiggly, super inflexible and having uncontrollable thoughts that I blurt out at the most inopportune times.  I think I will try meditation next – yeah right … anyone rolling their eyes?

Source: everydaypeoplecartoons.com via Missi on Pinterest

Hope your life is more peaceful yoga than loud talking yoga students that cause havoc!

Rental House at Amelia Island


If you have been following my posts lately, you will know that I have just come back from my annual GBB (Girl’s Behaving Badly) Weekend with my childhood friends.  I must admit the bad behavior is slowly lessening each year as we age and our bad mouths have been increasing.  Not quite sure what that says about us … but at least our minds are still sharp!

We had the pleasure of staying at a wonderful rental home that I found on VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner).  If you have never vacationed through this website, I have to encourage you to give it a try!  We have stayed in so many wonderful places across the world by contacting home owners directly and staying in their beautiful homes.  This past weekend was no exception.  Take a look at our weekend home away from home:

Awwww… nothing better than a Cape Cod at the beach!

Comfy slip-covered couch – check.  Sisal rug – check.  Shrimp and crab pillows – check.  Yep … we are definitely at the beach!

Love the big farmhouse table … spent a little time here working on my blog and looking at the view.  I could get used to that!

The window over the kitchen sink had the most amazing views.  Makes doing dishes a joy (seriously – who am I kidding … dishes suck – view or no view)!

The island/counter was high and made for a great place for hanging out and putting out snacks.  It also served as a great bar for margaritas!  I really loved how this was all one big open room – we spent most of our time here.  Oh – and did you check out the ceilings – awesome!

Kitchen was equipped with everything we needed!  You may not notice, but the toaster is missing.  Funny little story.  “45 y.o.” pregnant girl put her fish oil tablet on her plate and then cut her english muffin on the same plate.  Little did she know that the tablet stuck to the muffin and went into the toaster.  All of a sudden – the whole group was dry heaving from a NASTY fish smell.  No one could figure out where it was coming from … until Pregs couldn’t find her tablet.  We ran the toaster outside on the deck and there it sat until the end of the trip.  So funny!  Notice I had to get the fact that she is 45 years old in there somewhere.  It never ends.

If the homeowner is reading this … we cleaned toaster as best we could.  Hope we don’t need to buy you a new one.  Yikes!

These are the steps to the second floor … there is a similar set down to the lower level.  Lots of steps …

This was the master bedroom.  Isn’t it beautiful?  So serene and relaxing – at least before everyone got there.  I had to take a picture of it before the gang arrived because “serene” isn’t really in this group’s vocabulary!

Another picture of the Master.  The color was so beautiful with the ocean view out the doors.  The doors led to a little balcony – you could see for miles.

Another angle of the master.  Those little doors led into a HUGE closet that spanned the length of the entire room.  There was one on each side.  The first group to arrive took a picture of the closet and told the other group that that was where they were staying.  We think we are funny … not so much!?

Master bath … the tub was HUGE!  Loved it!

Close up of the Master sinks.  Super funky!  I love Mexican tile!

This was a neat little loft area outside of the master.  Would be great for a bunch of kids – the daybed had a trundle under it.  You could also put a bunch of sleeping bags down – shut the door and let them be as loud as they wanted to be.  As coincidence would have it … our loudest friend occupied this room.  Little does she know – there are no coincidences – duh duh duh (insert evil laugh here)!

This is the foyer going into one of the guest bedrooms.  Bedroom on the left – bathroom on the right.  This is the original room “Loud” friend was in until she was pushed encouraged to stay in the loft.  “You will have your own room!”  Translation:  “you never stop talking- it’s 4:00 a.m. and I need to sleep”!  She knows we love her!

Isn’t that a stunning blue on this piece of furniture?  Great for a beach place!

Gorgeous yellow walls … however, not so conducive to girls who need to be a little less talkative.  Hee!

This was the super cute porch off of this guest room.  We did allow “loud talker” to use the porch – and the bathroom.  We aren’t that mean!

This was “Pregs” room.  It was on the lower level – we called it the Propeller room.  It was really cute.  We let her have her own room – mainly because none of us wanted to “catch” what she’s got!  Just kidding … it was really because she was too big to fit anyone else in bed with her.  Oh my God … I am cracking myself up. Once again … she knows we love her!

Another view of the Propeller Room.

The other guest room on the lower level.  We called this the Surfboard Room.  See next pic to see why:

Now you see why?

One of the views from our deck.  **great big sigh**  Wish I was still there.

I spent a little time in that chair.  Can you say addicted to reading “Fifty Shades of Gray”???

Last picture of the view.  The ocean was not super warm but refreshing (so I heard – I am not a swim in the ocean with critters kinda gal).  The beach was quiet, relaxing and luxurious!  A wonderful long weekend!

There it is … my home away from home last week.  Hope you enjoyed the tour and were not too offended by the remarks made to friends.  We are like sisters and can handle any and all ribbing!  At least that is what we tell each other.

Hope your life is more heaven and beautiful beaches than havoc!


Weekend Bloggy Reading

Furniture Feature Fridays

Teach Me Tuesday – Mother’s Day Canvas


Hey All!

Today’s Teach Me Tuesday comes from an idea from Myra at The Blessed Life.  She did a wonderful piece of canvas art as a Mother’s Day gift idea.  I wanted to share it with you today.  Be sure to visit theblessedlife.net for more great ideas.  It is a wonderful blog that I really enjoy and I think you will too!

Beautiful! I love the simplicity of the canvas and how well it blends with any home decor.

Supplies Needed:

  • 9×12 Canvas {or whatever size you want}
  • Chipboard Letters {I bought a mega pack of letters at Hobby Lobby for $6}
  • White Spray Paint
  • Hot Glue Gun/Glue Sticks
  • Xacto Knife
  • Pencil/Ruler

First, decide on the words you want to use.

Layout the words to get an idea of how you want them to look. I arranged mine on the left side with my canvas vertical, but you can do so many variations of this!

I found it helpful to use a pencil and ruler to divide the canvas by the number of lines I had, so I had a straight line for each word. Eyeballing is okay too, but I didn’t want to mess up. :)

Next, hot glue all the letters in place.  Be very careful to use small amounts of hot glue, so it doesn’t seep out from the letters when you press them in place.

See all those strings in the photo above? All of those have to go because they will look awful when you spray paint. Ask me how I know. Ha!  After you get most of the strings/debris off the canvas, take it outside and give the canvas and letters a light coat of spray paint. Allow it to dry and try not to freak out because it probably won’t look as good as you want it to.

Use an Xacto knife {I also used tweezers} to remove hot glue strings in between the letters. This is a teeny bit tedious, but trust me, it’s worth it. After all the debris is gone, spray paint two more light coats on.  Allow to dry.

Then you’ll have this beauty to give to the mother in your life who you love.

This project can be customized for many different occasions. I think it would be a fabulous wedding gift, baby shower gift or housewarming gift to name a few. For under $15, I’m thrilled with how it turned out!

Isn’t that an amazing and simple project?  Thanks to Myra at The Blessed Life for the great pictures and instructions.  Can’t wait to try this project for all sorts of occasions!

Hope your life is more heaven than havoc!


Old Friends – New Memories – Pure Exhaustion


Hello All!

Hope your weekend was wonderful and restful.

I got home last night from my GBB (Girl’s Behaving Badly) weekend with my childhood friends.  My weekend was wonderful but I think we all feel like we can’t miss one minute of our time together so we stay up late, get up early and laugh every second in between.  I can’t believe it is over and we won’t be together again for another year.  I also can’t believe how exhausted I am … but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

We always have so much to catch up on about our lives, our children and of course we re-live every crazy moment we ever shared together.  The big news this year and the by far the most talked about subject was “the pregnancy”!  My friend had tried for many years to get pregnant and by a true miracle is now pregnant at 45!  We are thrilled for her and let her know immediately how happy we all are for her amazing news (she denies this fact).  But, because we are each others oldest friends, after the congratulations comes the full blown harassment.  Warning:  some of the following statement may be offensive to those with no sense of humor.  Read at your own risk and remember real friendship can handle all types of inappropriateness.   Here are some of the best lines of the weekend:

*  This baby is such a Miracle and must be coming for a reason:

– Too bad you won’t be able to remember it

– Or you will be dead.

*  Have you done the math?  Do you realize how old you will be at high school graduation?   If not, the number is 62.

*  Good thing the baby is a boy so he will be able to lift you into your wheelchair at his high school graduation. Or even better, a Little Rascal (with a basket)!

*  You won’t need a stroller – you can just use a walker with that little seat on it.

*  You will have so much in common with the baby – you will both be in diapers and eating soft foods.

*  So sorry that the day our last kids will leave for college will be your kid’s kindergarten orientation.

The rest is probably too cruel to put into print.  We were literally crying we were laughing so hard.  Jen was such a good sport … although I am sure that her friends at home would never say these things to her (let’s be serious – we all know they are thinking it).

Two gals couldn’t make it this year at the last minute – such a bummer!  Here is the gang watching Crazy, Stupid Love – in bed – in our pajamas.  Notice the poor pregnant girl is laying across the bottom.  God forbid one of us give up a “good spot”!  We loved the movie and being together!

Here we are dressed and ready for dinner and shopping.  What a group!  I am missing them so much already!

The view … as beautiful as the respect, love and true friendship we have shared for 40 years.

Hope your life and your friendships are more heaven than havoc!


Old Friends – New Memories


I know it is a rare thing to still have a friend from high school many years later.  But to have 8 of them is almost unheard of these days.  I feel so blessed that these women came into my life so early and have been with me through all of life’s moments – good and bad.  Three of us have been friends since we were 5 years old and the rest of us came together at age 11.  We are all now 45 and do not miss the chance to get together once a year and act like we are teenagers again.

This is one of my favorite weekends of the year.  These gals are “home” to me.  We have known each other in every stage of life and there are no secrets.  We have experienced the loss of two of our mothers to breast cancer, one of our parent’s divorcing, 20 births of our children and all of us aging (we try not to admit to that one).  We have been lucky enough that none of us has divorced, had any major health issues and all have healthy children.  We are doctors, policewomen, corporate officers, teachers, fundraisers, moms and true friends.

We share each others passions, dreams, hopes and mistakes and love each other just the same.  Now don’t get me wrong … we don’t sit around all weekend singing Kumbaya.  There is no one in my life that picks on me like these gals do – we pick on each other.  We remind each other who we were and everything we ever did that was stupid, hilarious and inappropriate.  We have very very long memories.

Here is a picture of us in 1985 at our high school graduation lunch in Minnesota:

Look at all that permed hair!  Yikes!

Here we are 25 years later at one of our GBB weekends in Destin, FL:

Do you think we have changed much?  We like to think we look exactly the same and our boobs are still in the same spot.  Wishful thinking …

Sorry this picture is a bit blurry, but look at all the beautiful faces that have come from nine friends! I know there are only 18 kids in this picture and I said we have had 20 births (including two adoptions).  One of the kids was not in any mood to have his picture made this day and one baby is on the way.  Yes – you heard that right.  One of my amazing friends is having a baby at 45!  This was big big news for us gals and I am sure there will be a lot of conversations about this piece of news!

Well – I am off to GBB Weekend 2012 at Amelia Island, FL.  I will try to post some funny stories about the weekend as it progresses.  I can’t promise anything – a lot of our stories we decide to never repeat to another living soul.  This is why we have been friends for so long … too much dirt on each other.  Ha!

Hope your life is more heaven than havoc!