Category Archives: Marriage

Grown Ups Buy New Mattresses

Cloud Supreme BreezeIf you were to make a list of those totally non-glamorous adult decisions/purchases that you have to do when you’re a grown up, buying a mattress would be on the top of that list. As a matter of fact, it’s a little disheartening to spend your hard earned money on something that no one else will even see! Buying a car is exciting…you can show that off. Fabulous new living room furniture…people will see and use that. Even new bedding can be exciting…you can share a pic on Instagram and folks will see it when you give a tour of your home. Spending thousands of dollars on a new mattress? Not that exciting.

However, I can honestly say that spending what I’d consider a large amount of money on this hidden gem has been one of the best decisions we’ve made! Neither Matthew nor I have ever bought a new mattress. (Raise your hand if you’ve lived with hand-me-down mattresses too!) Even the king sized mattress we got when we were first married was given to us by his parents when they had to buy a new one. Personally, I just couldn’t ever justify spending my money on something like a mattress when there were cool shoes to buy and vacations to take.

Cloud Supreme BreezeI don’t think there’s anything wrong with hand-me-down mattresses, but Matthew and I were in desperate need of a new one. You see, my wonderful husband doesn’t roll over gently when he sleeps. Instead, he flops. There are seriously no words to describe the way in which he does this. With our old mattress, I’d bounce around like a little baby on grandpa’s knee and wake up every. single. time. he rolled over. Not only was the bouncing an issue, but I’d constantly be pulled into the dip in the middle. With Matthew being so much bigger than me, I’d have to fight being pulled to the middle whenever he’d get into bed. All night, I’d fight gravity pulling me into a hole and trying to stay asleep when he decided to roll over. I don’t even need to mention how badly our backs hurt when we woke up in the morning and how we were the exact opposite of well-rested. Needless to say, it was time.

It took us months to make the commitment, be we finally selected a Temperpedic mattress with Breeze Technology. (I get terribly hot when I sleep, so anything that’ll help me to be cooler when I sleep is a blessing.) When I say that this mattress has changed my life, I am only barely exaggerating. It does take a bit to adjust to the feel of a Temperpedic mattress, but within just a week or so, I was adjusted and in heaven. I do NOT feel Matthew flopping around and sleep peaceful through the night. Most days, I don’t even wake up when he gets out of bed! We both wake up feeling much more rested and without all of the aches and pains.

We were in Lafayette a few weekends ago and it was our first time to stay in a hotel since getting our new bed. Not fun. After the first night, I completely remembered what it was like to sleep in our old bed and missed our new one terribly.  I told Matthew that there should be a website where you can choose a hotel based on whether or not they offer Temperpedic mattresses. (Take note of that, Temperpedic. Let me know when I can register on the new site.)

Cloud Supreme BreezeFor the record, I was not compensated in any way for writing this post. (Although, that would have been nice.) I just wanted to share with you how very much of a difference this mattress has made for me and that I regret not buying it sooner. If you’re considering a new mattress (or other furniture), I highly recommend visiting Sleepy Hollow Furniture at 900 Louisville Avenue in Monroe. Their showroom is great and they’ll let you try different options for hours (speaking from experience). As a matter of a fact, I’d suggest asking for my friend, Benay. She’s the absolutely sweetest and knows her stuff! (She’s also not one of those crazy salesperson types which we all hate.) Y’all know that I always encourage shopping local when you can, and this would be my top suggestion for furniture after just going through the process myself.

If you’re interested in reading about other grown up purchases that Matthew and I have made, check out the post about buying a car and of course all of the posts about our first house. Guess I’ll go shop around for some 401k packages and car insurance…

#maptennessee – Gatlinburg

Gatlingburg After spending the night in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Matthew and I headed on to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to spend a few days relaxing before going on to Nashville. We stayed in a fabulous cabin with an AMAZING view!! Waking up to those mountains was certainly a great way to start our days.
We didn’t do too much of the touristy-type stuff in Gatlinburg, but we did walk around downtown a bit. We ate at the Smoky Mountain Brewery, which was a fun place. We also ate at the Melting Pot fondue restaurant (not a local joint, but also not a place that we have back home). I will say this about the Melting Pot….even if you don’t get a full meal there, you absolutely must stop in and try the creme brûlée dessert fondue. They give you a tray full of yummy items to dip in the chocolate…bananas, strawberries, cheesecake, crusted marshmallows…you name it. It was simply fantastic and possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had. (As I’m typing this, my mouth is watering.)

GatlingburgIn Gatlinburg, we also hiked to the top of a mountain. That would be part of the Great Smokey Mountains, y’all! We hiked a 7 mile round-trip trail to the very top of Brushy Mountain. For the record, hiking 7 miles on a mountain is nothing at all like seven miles on flat ground. Towards the end we were both pretty worn out, but it was so worth it. I think this might be one of the coolest things I’ve done so far. There was a waterfall about half way up where everyone stopped to take pictures. We encountered quite a few people (probably 40 or so) on the way to the waterfall, but once we passed the waterfall we didn’t see half as many people. Actually, we only saw around 10-12 others once we passed the waterfall. That should have been my first clue that it was a tough hike! Nonetheless, we did it and it felt pretty amazing.
Gatlingburg Gatlingburg
GatlingburgWe spent the next morning recuperating from the hike before walking around downtown for a bit. After leaving Gatlinburg, we stopped at an outlet mall in Pigeon Forge (shopping – yay!). Then we were in route to Nashville!

Having these few days to relax and take things easy was just what we needed. Even the strenuous hike was relaxing because we were unplugged and soaked up some nature, which is my absolutely favorite. I will forever remember our little cabin and the fun memories we made in Gatlinburg. Are there any other fun towns you’d recommend in Tennessee?? I’d love to hear about other places we could visit next time!

Our Two Year Anniversary

Two Year AnniversaryMatthew and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary last week. I’d love to tell you that we celebrated with a romantic getaway for two to an exotic island. Sorry, it’s not that glamorous. Instead, we spent our second anniversary MOVING. 

We did make sure to wrap up in time to have a nice dinner together though. (Somehow I managed to make it from moving attire to anniversary-date-night attire in a pretty short amount of time.) The traditional gift for a second anniversary is cotton. We decided to cheat a little and have dinner at a local restaurant, Cotton, instead of purchasing something. After all, the chance to sit and eat something other than delivery pizza on the floor (moving is tough on meal time), was way more valuable to us than anything we could have purchased. 
Two Year Anniversary
Cheers to two years with this amazing man! You can read about our first anniversary here. I went back and read the story of how we met and our proposal. Such fun memories! You can also get some highlights from our first two years in the archives. Here’s to year number three! Something tells me that it’ll be full of house projects…

New Floors + Tips on Changing Flooring

New FloorsOur new floors throughout the entire house are finally done! We’re getting closer everyday to finally being able to move into our new home. Having the popcorn ceilings scraped made a huge difference in the look of the house, and the new floors make it feel more like home.

Removing Ceramic TileCeramic Tile RemovalOnce the demolition of the old floors began, I began to struggle seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It was definitely a construction zone in there! At times I felt like we took an ok home and made it into a disaster area. These pics show a little bit of the process. (There’s also a short video of the process here.) Once all of the old glue was buffed from the slab, I finally saw the finished product coming together. Now we have new floors, and they look fantastic! 

Ceramic Tile RemovalBuffed FloorsNew FloorsWe didn’t do the floors ourselves, so this is not a DIY post. If you’re at least somewhat handy, you could likely handle this project yourself. However, with the amount of things we were hoping to accomplish before moving in and the timeline in which we were wanting them done (We have to be out of the rent house July 31.), Matthew and I knew that we better get help.

Instead of a DIY post, this is more of a “what to look for when you’re hiring someone to do floors” post. We talked to several different flooring folks and learned a lot along the way. Here are a few things to consider when you’re talking flooring.

  1. Flooring company vs. a person who does floors. You can probably save a tad of money by using an individual instead of a company. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. However, be sure that the person is reputable and you’ve seen some of their work. (We heard tons of horror stories.) In the end, we chose a company because they provided a warranty for their work. That’s a pretty big deal if a few months from the installation you start having problems. The project could also be completed more quickly. Either way you go, do not pay for the entire project up front. A deposit (probably half) is usually required up front, but don’t pay the full balance until your project is complete. We used Custom Carpets in Monroe and were very pleased!
  2. Cost. When you’re shopping around at Lowe’s it’s easy to look at the cost per piece, multiple that by the number you need, and think you have your total. Be careful not to forget the installation and demolition costs if you have old floors to remove. The demo/installation costs can often be more that the cost of the new flooring and you’ll quickly blow your budget if you’re not careful. (For the record, any floors that have been glued down will cost more to remove.)
  3. Toilets. You’ll notice that you’re working with a reputable person/company if they bring up toilets. Most likely, your flooring person will remove the toilets to install the new floors. (If not, you should get a new person!) Since you’ll likely come home to a toilet sitting in your bathtub, you better have a plan for putting them back down!
  4. Quarter round and other molding. Any quarter round molding will need to be pulled up to put down new floors. (If not, the flooring job will probably not look good.) Keep in mind that any broken pieces will need to be replaced and be sure to know if putting the quarter round back down is included in your quote or not.
  5. Paint or floors first? There is much debate out there about which of these things should be done first. If you’re scraping your ceilings, DEFINITELY do that first. The amount of dust it creates is simply frightening. After scraping/painting the ceilings, we installed our floors. My main reason for this is that I didn’t want the demo of the old floors ruining a new paint job. Plus, I wanted the painters to be able to paint the quarter round after it had been put back down. (See above.) Otherwise, we’d have had to paint it twice.

Vinyl Plank FlooringAll in all, I’m so very glad that we decided to change the flooring in our new home. For the cost, it made a huge difference in both the look and value of our home. If you’re thinking about changing your flooring, take some time to do a little research and consider the cost vs. the benefit of all of your options. Also, remember that it will very likely get worse before it gets better, but you’ll have pretty, new floors in the end!

See the before photos here and the first stage of renovations here.
Also, keep up with the #mapfirsthouse on Instagram

Let’s talk about home renovations.

Popcorn ceilings removed!

When Matthew and I started looking for a house, we definitely wanted something “move in ready.” It was mandatory. We’re busy people…no time to work on a million projects at home. Welllllll….the house we ended up buying was not exactly move in ready for us. 

While the house was in good condition, it just wasn’t quite our style. It had popcorn ceilings with flooring and paint colors that weren’t quite “us.” However, the house was in a great neighborhood where we could easily ride our bikes and walk together like we enjoy. So, we went for it and decided to budget for some updates and changes instead of insisting on a fully updated home. Choosing Paint Colors!We have quite a bit of plans for our new house, and I’ll likely share my inspiration/plans for each area as we go along. For now, we’re working on having the popcorn ceilings scraped and everything painted. We’re also hoping to have the current floors demoed and replaced before moving our things in. Here’s some of the bigger plans we have for our new home.

  • Ceilings scraped, leveled and painted
  • Entire house painted (walls, cabinets, closets, trim….the whole house!)
  • New flooring throughout
  • All new light fixtures (except for 2)
  • Painting the exterior brick
  • Installing wood beams and shutters out front
  • Renovating both bathrooms

Most of these are immediate things that’ll be done rather quickly. Some of them (plus a lot more) will be done as we go along. Just changing the flooring and paint before moving in will make a huge difference in making this home feel more like Matthew and I. Even though we have several projects up our sleeves, we’re very excited about our new place to call home. We’re looking forward to making lots of wonderful memories here (hopefully they don’t involve construction mishaps), and we know that this home has amazing potential. It’ll still be a couple of weeks before we can move in, but we’re shooting to be in there the last week of July. 
All the floors have been ripped up!
We’ve gotten so many sweet comments from you all! Thanks so much for sharing in our excitement. You can keep up with the daily progress by following the #mapfirsthouse on Instagram. (That stands for Matthew and Pamela’s first house, by the way.) 

Here’s to new homes filled with lots of projects! (See the before pics here.

#maptennessee: Stone Mountain, Georgia

#maptennessee Matthew and I just wrapped up our first “real” vacation. I say “real” because it’s the first week-long trip that we’ve taken, and it wasn’t tied somehow to work or family holidays. Needless to say, it was much-needed and fabulous.

We ended up getting to leave a day early so we took the long way and stopped in Atlanta for the night. We chose to stop here because Matthew wanted to see the laser show at Stone Mountain. I’ll be completely honest…I was not excited about seeing this show. I pictured a big rock in the middle of a field with lasers flying through the air for 45 minutes. I would have lost interest after two! Boy, was I wrong!

Picnic at the Laser ShowStone MountainFirst of all, the park was lovely. There was an old town area with food and various merchandise vendors. There were picnic tables and plenty of places to visit while waiting on the show to start. After grabbing a bite to eat, we headed over to the mountain area to pick a place to watch from. We enjoyed a little picnic while waiting, and those chicken strips were phenomenal! I loved seeing such a diverse group of people here. There were adults, families, young kids and teens….and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves equally. If you have kids, this would be a great place to take them because they could play for hours while waiting on the show. They were throwing balls around and playing all sorts of outside games. (As a matter of a fact, I wish you could have seen the face of the little girl behind us when her ball rolled through my ketchup! Luckily, I brought extra.)

Stone MountainNow for the show. Again, I wasn’t looking forward to it. I had enjoyed the park and our picnic but I was trying to prepare myself to make it through this show. I was totally off base here. They combined music and storytelling to make the show so captivating. Plus, it wasn’t just lasers flying through the air…they used the lasers to draw pictures on the mountain for an animated show that matched the music. At one point, they even animated the General Lee carving in the mountain. Needless to say, I didn’t even realize that it was time for the show to end and was thoroughly impressed. What I found the most interesting was that everyone loved the show and was very attentive…young and old. I should also mention that there’s no charge to see the show. It’s a win-win!

Breakfast at Stone Mountain InnWe stayed at the Stone Mountain Inn, right up from the mountain, which was lovely. The grounds were kept immaculately. It had nice landscaping and a great pool/courtyard area. The interior rooms have a little porch with rocking chairs where I could have sat for hours and hours. In addition to the scenery, the staff was so nice and friendly. Usually, there are one or two people who are nice and then you have those other people. Not at Stone Mountain Inn. Everyone that we came in contact with was very nice and helpful. We also added the breakfast to our room at the last minute. Honestly, we almost skipped this because we figured it was your run of the mill continental breakfast with a make-your-own-waffle station. Not at all! It was a restaurant-style breakfast with a full buffet. (I could have eaten French toast for days.) Again, everyone was happy to see us and friendly. The best part was the balcony where you could enjoy your breakfast while overlooking Stone Mountain and the beautiful landscaping. I wish we would have had more time here, and this is definitely somewhere I’d like to return. If you’re considering a visit to Stone Mountain Park and the laser show, definitely plan on staying at the inn. I loved it!

I think what made this part of our trip so exceptional was the attention to details. Both the park and the inn focused on making the experience a good one. From maps to customer service, it was obvious that they wanted their guests to enjoy themselves. We loved our time here and look forward to going back soon.

Have you ever been to Stone Mountain or somewhere similar? Please share! I’d love to hear your stories.

P.S. You can see more photos from our trip through #maptennesse on Instagram.


Our First House – Before

Our First HomeYesterday Matthew and I closed on our very first house together! It’s such an exciting time, but we have a bit of work to go before we make this house into our home. As a matter of a fact, it’ll be several weeks before we even move into the house, which is sort of sad.

Nonetheless, we are very excited to have a new place to call our own that we will make into a home that we love. I wanted to go ahead and share these before photos, so everyone could see what we’re starting with. These are the photos from the MLS listing (taken by my sweet friend, Anna Kay), so you can see the home just as Matthew and I saw it when we made the decision to purchase this home.Before KitchenBefore Breakfast Nook

We have several big ideas in mind for this home, so you’ll have to stay tuned for the final product (if there’s actually such a thing as a “final” product). My biggest goal for this home is to create a place that we love to come home to. We’ve thought a lot about what that means, and I plan to be very intentional about every decision that’s made for this home. The ultimate goal is to create a space that reflects our personalities, is free of clutter and excess, and full things that we love. I’ll certainly be sharing our journey here, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Now I’m off to choose more paint colors!

Before Dining RoomBefore Living RoomBefore Master Bedroom

Photo credit: Anna Kay Springer, Realtor

Handmade Holiday

Christmas TreeThis year Matthew and I decided to do something a little different for Christmas. Rather than buying the usual gifts, we decided to take a little post-Christmas getaway to reconnect and rest from the busy holiday season.

I still wanted to have gifts to open on Christmas, so I suggested we each buy a simple $20 gift…just to have a present under the tree. Then, Matthew suggested we make each other something. He loves to work with his hands, and I adore a good craft project, so this was a genius idea!

I’ll spare you all of the details, but eventually we had wonderful, handmade gifts to open. Matthew made me a coat rack from pallet wood and some of the vintage doorknobs he bought me for Christmas last year. We’ve desperately needed a place to hang our coats, and I’ve been anxiously waiting for a project to use some of my doorknobs. My favorite part is that the blank space can be used to switch out various artwork and seasonal decor. I think it’s adorable that he went to Hobby Lobby to shop around for the mirrors he hung there. I should also mention that he made the entire thing by hand…no power tools were used whatsoever!

pallet wood coat rackFor Matthew’s gift, I decided to try my hand at making some bow ties. First of all, I should admit that this was a much bigger undertaking that I thought, especially since it’s been 15+ years since I’ve really used a sewing machine…and that was with my Mom’s help! Nonetheless, several retakes, multiple machine adjustments, and lots of mumbled curse words later, Matthew got 5 new bow ties! (I used this tutorial and pattern if you’re interested in making your own.)

Overall, I loved the handmade Christmas project, and I think we might do it again sometime! I hope that you all received heartfelt gifts as well, but most of all, I hope you spent a lot of quality time with loved ones.

DIY bow tiesThis Christmas season came and went so quickly, and while I’m happy to get back to a somewhat normal routine, I’m sad for the holiday spirit to fade. In an effort to enjoy the season more, I’ve made a few goals for next year. I hope to:

  • decorate earlier. I love holiday decor so much, so I want to have more time to enjoy it.
  • create more DIY decor. There are so many wonderful ideas out there for holiday decor. I want to reserve more time to create.
  • use more thoughtful wrapping. I LOVE wrapping presents. This year I ran out of time and had to rush through the process. Next year, I want to really enjoy it. I usually feel obligated to use up all of the previous year’s paper before opening new rolls. Next year, I want my wrapping to match my tree, and I want to use more personal touches, like these photo name tags for example.
  • consider more handmade gifts. I love the thoughtfulness that went into mine and Matthew’s gifts this year. Maybe it would be nice to pass that on to other friends and family. The idea of an entire handmade holiday sounds lovely…daunting but lovely!

How about you? Are you excited to see the holiday season fade or sad to see it go? What would you like to do differently next year? Surely I’m not the only one to set goals for the next year…let’s talk!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas CardMerry Christmas from Matthew & I! We hope everyone has a splendid holiday season and thoroughly enjoys time with family. We love you all!

Follow along with some of our Christmas activities with #petruschristmas on Instagram!

This year’s card was designed by Christina over at Lacey Fields on Etsy. She did a fantastic and prompt job and was a pleasure to work with. You should look her up for next year’s cards, party invitations, etc!


Thanksgiving in Nashville

Should I be making a Thanksgiving post just one week before Christmas? Probably not, but things have been busy over in my neck of the woods. It’s better late than never right??

Matthew and I were lucky enough to get to spend Thanksgiving with his Mom’s side of the family in Franklin, TN this year. (That’s just a bit outside of Nashville for those who aren’t sure.) His mom and step-dad just moved there this summer, so we were very happy for the chance to go visit them in their new home. My Mom spent the previous week in the hospital, so we weren’t 100% sure that we were going to be able to make the trip. (I haven’t had the chance to update you all on Mom lately, but she’s doing much better after her week-long adventure in the hospital. I’ll post a full update soon!) Thankfully (on many accounts), she was released the day before we were scheduled to leave, so we got to travel as planned.

The best part of this trip was the time we got to spend with family. We had almost everyone under one roof (We missed you, Jenna!), and that’s sometimes tough to do when we’re all scattered across the country right now.

Thanksgiving Food

The Thanksgiving dinner was superb (and beautiful), which means I will likely never cook for my mother-in-law. There’s just no way I can get close to her cooking skills…no way. It was DELICIOUS, and I’m not even just saying that to win points with the MIL! Unfortunately, I spent most of that morning in bed sick, but I was still able to get up in time to enjoy the dinner. What’s the positive side to being in bed sick while everyone else prepares for Thanksgiving? Online shopping.

Their home is in a new subdivision where you can see the mountains in the distance. Many of the homes there are still under construction, so we got to go take little peeks of some of the unfinished ones. Since I’m a realtor, this was right up my alley.

Aside from time with family, one of our favorite experiences from this trip was dinner at Puckett’s Grocery in Nashville. (More about that later.)  We also spent an afternoon at The Mill, which was such a darling place! If the name didn’t give it away, it’s an old mill that’s been converted into lots of cute, little shops. The Farmer’s Market is next to it, which I’m sure is lovely during the warmer months. I loved all of the old appliances and decor found throughout.

The Mill in NashvilleThe Mill in Nashville

The Mill in NashvilleThe Mill in NashvilleThe Mill in Nashville

We left for the trip home on Thanksgiving Day. I’m sure most people didn’t spend their holiday traveling, but Matthew and I enjoyed the chance to just chat and catch up. However, traveling on a major holiday presents one, tiny problem — most restaurants are closed. We don’t like to eat at places we can enjoy at home when we travel, but there certainly aren’t many (if any) local hot-spots open on Thanksgiving Day. We eventually agreed that we’d break the rules and eat Cracker Barrel, but every one that we passed was horrendously busy. Finally, we settled on IHOP, but we spotted a Steak ‘n Shake right next door that was open! We don’t have one here in Monroe, so it technically met the requirements. This doesn’t sound like a blog-worthy experience, except that this was our very first Thanksgiving meal to share, just the two of us. No, it wasn’t turkey and dressing, but it was still special to me. (You may remember that all of our “firsts” are immensely important to me.) We made most of our trip home via the Natchez Trace, which is always lovely. One day, we hope to travel the whole route.

Steak 'n Shake

Natchez Trace

Natchez Trace

The purpose of this quick trip was enjoying time with our family. We didn’t get to see many of the sites, but we are looking forward to our next trip there very soon. I am certain that Nashville will quickly become one of our favorite places! Since we’re hoping to go back soon, we’d appreciate any tips about what we should see and do. If you’ve been to Nashville or Franklin, leave us a comment with your favorite local places!

We went to Tennessee on a little mini-vacation last year. Read about it here!