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So our trip to wine country actually came on the heels of a visit to my wife’s grandmother for Thanksgiving. Since my grandmother couldn’t make it to our destination wedding (in Rosemary Beach) we knew we should get out and see her to show her the pictures of our incredible event together. As an added bonus, we decided to appropriately decompress from all of the family time with my in-laws by heading up for an “after party” of sorts wine tasting in Sonoma. It was a great decision.

Over the next few days, I’ll post some reviews and pictures from our excursion, and try to get as many of my thoughts down on paper as possible. Here is the list of wineries we visited:


  • Schug
  • Madrone
  • Deerfield Ranch
  • Imagery


  • BenZiger
  • Eric Ross
  • Truett Hurst
  • Dry Creek Vineyard
  • Cast
  • Trattore Farms
  • Dutcher Crossing


  • Rams Gate

We were obviously pretty busy, but there’s an odd feeling of accomplishment for getting so much variety (of all things – terrain/scenery, wine itself, as well as vineyard/ownership culture) in such a short trip. We’re quickly becoming experts at this wine country thing, and it’s a shared passion that I’m sure will continue for the rest of our lives.

Til Next Time,



So a lot has happened lately. In the past month, I’ve been to Rosemary Beach to get married, back to Tulum for a minimoon (which – for those who don’t know – means it was a quick trip away as newlyweds, but not the full blown “honeymoon” because we are both painfully low on PTO time J), out to San Diego and Orange County for work, to Danville (CA) for Thanksgiving, up to wine country (Sonoma), back to Atlanta for 12 hours, and then out in Northwest Arkansas/Tulsa/Oklahoma City for work.

Quite a mouthful, I know, and that doesn’t explain me being MIA on the blog for several months. My apologies for that. It’s been a busy (but very productive, very fulfilling) summer and fall at work. Then, adding in the stress related to the wedding – I just let it get away from me. I do have a lot of lessons learned though that I want to share as I reflect towards year end on personal and professional accomplishments in 2016.

Starting out, I will go ahead and do some quick and easy reviews on our trip to wine country. Then, I’ll follow up with more volumes of information and pictures from our minimoon. I know each of these will be the third time I’ve covered a spot (Wine Country, Tulum), but it’s exciting to write about because it takes me back to two of our “happy places”.

Til Next Time,


One lesson learned in the cabinet/counter/backsplash renovation was that timing is everything. We tried to run both projects in parallel, which proved to be fairly difficult. This is because the cabinet painting itself was a 7 step process, and took the better part of a week and a half. Whereas, once the granite/travertine was removed from counter/backsplash, the installation of the new marble/subway tile could actually be done in about a day and a half. But we wanted to get the cabinet frames painted prior to installation of the other kitchen elements, so we inadvertently tripped over our own schedule feet a couple times. Oh well!

Regardless, the kitchen cabinet painting SEEMED like it may be easy enough (and much cheaper) for us to do it ourselves. We are so glad that we didn’t. Much like the other painting (which we found out we weren’t great at), it would have been super tedious and required many long nights. To give you an appreciation of the process that was followed, it was seven steps in all. This included removal of the doors, sanding, priming, re-sanding, priming, painting (multiple coats). See below for a couple of the “in-flight” pictures.

Once the cabinet doors were ready to re-install, we had to go ahead and switch out the knobs for stainless pulls (pictures below). The only complicated part about this was that our cabinet painter said he had never installed new pulls before. Much to my surprise, I said “ok” and decided to figure it out on my own. After sourcing the pulls from Amazon (MUCH cheaper than buying them all at Lowe’s since there were over 30 pulls in the whole kitchen), all I needed to do was drill a secondary hole to secure the pulls. The reason this was required was that the knob only had 1 screw/hole, whereas the stainless pulls needed to be anchored with two screws/holes. There is a template that you can buy in the cabinet hardware section at Lowe’s that has many of the common offsets already there. I highly recommend using one of those and a mechanical pencil to lay out your hole drilling plans.

Here are some of the pictures (without spoiling the surprise of the finished counter/backsplash):

Doors Off; Painting Frames In-Flight


Doors Painted and Air Drying in Basement


Drawers with Pulls Installed

Til Next Time,


Kitchen 1

Our Kitchen Before the Transformation

Over the next few posts, I’ll add some detail around what all we did to our kitchen. In short, we:

  • Painted the Cabinets
  • Removed Knob Hardware and Added Stainless Pulls
  • Removed Granite Counter and Replaced with Marble
  • Removed Travertine Backsplash and Replaced with Subway Tile
  • Changed Out Over-the-Bar Pendants
  • Changed Out Instant Hot Water System
  • Replaced Garbage Disposal

All in, we kept it just shy of $10,000, which I consider to be a huge success given the transformation it facilitated for the place. Stay Tuned!

Til Next Time,


One of the first things we did upon move in was to paint the fireplace. In case you couldn’t tell, the town home originally had severe Tuscan vibes all throughout – with a plethora of oranges, greens, and browns. The fireplace was one of those focal points that we knew we wanted to get more updated. Our solution? White washing the bricks. The bricks in the “before” part of the picture clearly show a lot of dark and earth tones. Given that we had just gone with the Repose Gray throughout the home, we opted for a standard white wash. The process couldn’t have been simpler, actually. We used equal parts white chalk paint and water (i.e. a 50/50 mixture of the white chalk paint and water), and simply painted it onto the bricks judiciously. The only key is to make sure you clean the bricks first with a lightly soapy water solution to “clean” the bricks and rid them of any topical dirt and dust. Once dry, simply apply the white wash mixture with thick bristled brushes (and finer brushes if there are small enough crevices). Then, viola!

See below for the “before” and “after” comparison:


Before (Top) and After (Bottom) – in case you couldn’t tell!

Let us know what you think!

Til Next Time,


The first (and most obvious) thing our house needed was PAINT. We were somewhat disgusted with the sheer volume and weight of the oranges, browns, and greens throughout the home. So we knew we wanted to go with something more contemporary to bring some light and air to the space. We opted to do the same color throughout common living spaces, and slightly darker shades in the bedroom and bathrooms. Our main color is one of the new “hot picks” for modern home painting/design. It is called “Repose Gray” from Sherwin Williams. We knew it would still play with the lighter colored floors, also given that we knew we would be doing some updating to the kitchen as well. We were so happy with our first “big decision” on the home improvement front. It really set the stage for future success all around.

One lesson learned though: definitely pay a professional to paint. Not only will they be able to buy the paint at wholesale prices, they’re just flat out better than you will ever be. We actually opted to paint the guest bedroom/bathroom upstairs ourselves because it ended up being almost $450 cheaper (we got a very good rate on the common areas + master bedroom, which made a “small bedroom” seem like a ripoff at that price). After investing around $150 in our own materials, and the better part of 1.5 days apiece, we decided that it would have not only been less stressful, but way more clean to just leave it to the pros… We still have a few touch-up areas we need to finish in that bedroom we painted ourselves, too. “One of these days” I suppose :)

Take a look and see how much of a difference the new paint makes, though!

Front Room 2

Before – an Invasion of Tuscan Oranges/Browns!


After – Much Better!

Til Next Time,



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