Around the House: Spring Updates

This spring we have been busy busy trying to get some big goals accomplished! Namely, these include fixing the fireplace and remodeling the kitchen, half bathroom, and sun room. Now, we are about halfway through these projects, which means everything is a little catty-wampus, but it’s a step in the right direction…

Before: no glass, no logs, and a pet gate to keep the furbabies away… Now: Glass and a safe, functioning fireplace!


Out with the white, and in with the laminate!

Out with the white, and in with the laminate!

And then, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but here’s what’s going on with the kitchen!

The floors still need staining, but Drake approves of the progress so far!

The floors still need staining, but Drake approves of the progress so far!

Of course, as far as the kitchen goes, the new floors mark 1/4 of the whole remodel being complete. Eventually, the goal is to put in new countertops, update the cabinets with paint and crown molding, and replace the white appliances. You might say it’s a work in progress!

Lots more changes outside happening as well, but that’s another post!


Anniversary Weekend

Warning: Gushy stuff ahead. Reader beware.

I would be remiss in having this blog if I never gave credit to my wonderful husband for all the dedication and support he gives, every day, to building a life with me in our house on a hill.


Today marks 5 years of us being together, and I am thankful every day for having such a wonderful partner by my side. I realize that I am probably not the easiest person to be with, and my over enthusiasm for tackling new projects and filling every minute with activity would exhaust most men and send them running to the hills. But not Tyler, he has embraced the crazy with open arms, and put up with countless hours of talking horses, riding horses, and competing horses with super human patience and understanding.

My videographer, photographer, hay net tie-er, horse handy husband!

My videographer, photographer, hay net tie-er, horse handy husband!

Tyler and I met in the most unexpected place- on a cruise ship in the Bahamas. It just so happened that he was attending law school in Buies Creek, NC at the time – 30 minutes from NC State. We had a blast getting to know each other in the Bahamas, and started dating when we got back to North Carolina. Meant to be? I think so!

Hanging out at Atlantis on that fateful cruise!

Hanging out at Atlantis on that fateful cruise!

Anyways, that was 5 years ago today that we started dating. And this Sunday will mark 1 yr of being married! It’s amazing to me that even after being together so long, we still make each other laugh on a daily basis, and each and every day feels like a fresh adventure. Even though we have definitely rubbed off on each other (for example, I now pay attention to whether or not my socks are inside out, and he quotes random Disney lines for laughs), we are still capable of surprising each other.

I am so excited to celebrate our wedding anniversary this weekend, and reminisce about that beautiful evening when we danced the night away with family and friends! Here’s to more adventures with my love! You’re the best, honey!


Resolution Check-In

photo 1 (5)

Since we’re about to end the first quarter of 2014, it seems a good time to see how we’re doing (or not doing) on our resolutions for the year. Let’s take a look 🙂

The Horse

Resolution 1: Move up to Novice with final score below 35 (or >67% in dressage)
We have gotten so close to this… or rather, the dressage score. Our score at the only Horse Trials this year is not worth noting, since I goofed so badly at the end of the XC course. If I hadn’t, we would have finished on that 35. At the Combined Training a couple weeks ago, we got a 66% in dressage… So this one is definitely doable, but not accomplished yet!

Resolution 2: Nail canter transitions
Well, this one we haven’t worked on pretty much at all. I’ve been babying him because of his fitness/condition and so avoided anything tough, like making him use his hind end to transition rather than his neck. With that said, he has actually gotten 7’s on them at the two shows this year! Sure surprised me!

Resolution 3: Not be embarrassed by lack of trot lengthenings
Nope, haven’t even touched this. Soon, hopefully!

I should have added 'not do shit braids' to my resolution list...

I should have added ‘not do shit braids’ to my resolution list…

The House

Resolution 1: Landscape front and backyard
We’ve made lots of progress in the backyard, taking out the big mamajama pine tree and lots and lots of scruffy small stuff. Now what we’re looking at is 6″+ of leaf mold/debris in most areas, that will have to be hauled away before we can seed. We’re trying to get this done soon before the summer hits and nothing grows, else we’ll be waiting till fall!

Resolution 2: Kitchen Transformation
Oh, this one I am *so* excited about! Right now we are collecting quotes for all the different projects, and hopefully we will have either wood floors or granite countertops by the summer! Squee!!

Resolution 3: Replace grody couch
Done!! The cats kind of pushed this one along, as *somebody* (cough, Elliot), decided to let us know he had a UTI by peeing on the couch, thus grodying said grody couch to the point that we didn’t want to even sit on it. We have now replaced it with a pretty new leather couch! Yay!

Hardwoods in the kitchen? Yes please!

Hardwoods in the kitchen? Yes please!


The Rest

Resolution 1: Take calcium supplements
So far so good! I found these caramel flavored ones that are like a little treat for me! Easy peezy!

Resolution 2: Not be a Red Bull zombie
Hahahahaha. Nope!

Resolution 3: Be more positive
Making some progress! Headed in the right direction, at the very least 🙂

A surprise outing for the husband's birthday, in which I proved I cannot bowl worth a crap, but did not embarrass myself otherwise!

A surprise outing for the husband’s birthday, in which I proved I cannot bowl worth a crap, but did not embarrass myself otherwise!



2014 Resolutions and Goals


As previously discussed, 2013 was a huge year for us (Parts I, II, and III here) here in the House on the Hill. I think I will always look back and smile when I think of all the changes me and mine have gone through, and be glad for the memories. However, as much fun as it is to relive those moments, now is the time to look forward to what lies ahead. Surely 2014 will not be quite as tumultuous  as 2013, but I still expect to make lots of memories nonetheless! Here are some of the things I hope to see happen in the coming year.


The Horse
Blah, blah, blah, insert yet another comment about moving up to Novice here. But to get a little more specific, my hope for 2014 is to not only go Novice, but to do so with a final score below 35. So ideally, get a 65% or better on dressage and go double clear in show jumping and cross country. I know time is going to be our biggest issue, so I think I would also be pretty ecstatic if another scenario happened- like a 67% dressage test and a couple time penalties XC. Just being honest! 🙂 At the end of the day though, I will be satisfied with a happy, healthy, and fit horse!

We get knees at Novice!

At home, I want to nail our canter transitions (we had some great ones this weekend so this should be entirely possible!) and get our lengthenings solid enough to do a first level test and score in the mid 60s. In order to do this all of our transitions need to be sharp and supple as well, so I will be concentrating on these too.


The House
I pretty much went into this at the end of my accomplishments post, but my main two priorities are the kitchen and the landscaping. We’ve done a lot to the backyard recently (pics to come) but the kitchen will surely be the biggest project of all!


The Rest
Lately I’ve been doing some soul searching, and there are definitely tons of some things I would like to improve about myself. On a purely physical level, I let myself eat poorly over these holidays (who doesn’t?) and want to get back to feeling good about myself and be more in shape. I want to look into calcium supplements and try to decrease my Red Bull intake.

Seriously, it's a problem.

Seriously, it’s a problem.

Then I want to work on my attitude. I’ve always known that I have perfectionist tendencies and somewhat low self esteem, but recently the combination has had a pretty dismal effect on my general outlook. I nitpick at every thing I say or do, and it needs to stop. Waking up the morning after a social interaction and reliving every detail until I find something to feel guilty about is not healthy, and not how I want to live my life. So, I am going to try to be more positive about, and accepting of, myself. I hope in 2014 that I learn to spend more time in the moment and really focus on enjoying the wonderful friends and family I have- I am lucky to be surrounded with beautiful people and there is no reason to be unhappy!

Beautiful (erm, Handsome) on the inside and out- my husband!

Beautiful (erm, Handsome) on the inside and out- my husband!

I’m sure as the year goes on these goals will change, or become more specific. But for now I feel like these are all attainable with work and dedication! A fit and capable horse, an improved home, and a happy lifestyle are what I hope to cement for myself. I hope you guys will be along for the ride! What resolutions do you guys have for 2014? What changes do you hope to see?

2013 Accomplishments Part II: The House

This is a big one all in itself, considering we didn’t even own a house until February. After our harrowing purchasing experience though, here’s what we have done so far (sorry for the picture heavy post!):

  • New carpet throughout
  • New paint (inside and outside)
Living room transformation

Living room transformation with equestrian theme

  • Pressure washed stairs
  • Landscaped Front Entry
  • New door hardware & accessories
Guest bathroom makeover

Guest bathroom makeover

  • Tiled master bathroom floor
  • Removed wallpaper: kitchen, master bath
No more wallpaper!

No more wallpaper!

  • New cabinet pulls in kitchen
  • New fans and light fixtures throughout
Dining Room with paint and chandelier

Dining Room with paint and chandelier

  • Finished Carolina and State rooms
  • Fix fireplace
  • And oh yeah, start a blog about our house on the hill 🙂
The Carolina Room

The Carolina Room

Woowhee! Next year I hope we get through some of this list, that we didn’t get to this year…

  • Remove jungle Thin trees in back yard
  • Landscape front yard
  • Paint cabinets in kitchen
  • Granite countertops in kitchen
  • Tile floors in kitchen
  • Hell, remodel the entire kitchen
  • Replace grody couch in living room
  • In general drive my husband crazy with new decorating ideas

No news is good news, right?

Not much going on in the horse world, as I’ve ridden only once since the last show. While that ride did feel great, I don’t feel over the hump yet. I realized that in my journey to straightness, I have been working less on really bending through our circles, which was highlighted in the judge’s comments. So we worked on plenty of figure-eight’s and balanced transitions incorporating bend. He felt good. Maybe we don’t suck aren’t so bad off after all.

Tonight I may attempt jumping, and see how it goes. The quest to create the scariest jumps ever has culminated in a new monstrosity in the arena, in which the chevron jump had a love child with some barrels and the mixture of plastic and oddness is something I didn’t want to tackle right before the competition. So we will see how tonight goes!

Otherwise we have been busy (as usual) around the house getting the myriad projects I want done accomplished before all of our guests come in a few weeks. Even still, the to-do list is daunting:

  • Spray paint the doorbell cover to match new hardware
  • Spray paint the light fixture by the door to match as well
  • Install new fan in the sun room
  • Finish painting Carolina Room and hang curtains
  • Buy new chair for living room
  • Buy bed for Carolina Room
  • Paint the annoying piece of wall I missed in the guest bathroom
  • Figure out why the DVD player doesn’t work in the guest bedroom
  • Make-over the side table to match the dresser in the Carolina Room
  • For that matter, paint the darned feet on the dresser!
  • Get the weed-eater fixed
  • Apply lattice to outside of sun room

And so on and so forth…

Maybe it doesn’t seem like a huge list, but considering that the husband and I both have 9-5 jobs, a house to keep clean, and oh, not to mention my time consuming horse hobby, finding the time and energy to tackle these projects has been tricky!

Enough with the whining I suppose, let’s get to work!

A fresh coat of paint (!!!)

I love painting. It’s the easiest way to make a big impact on anything: a wall, a piece of furniture, a house…

As I might have mentioned in a previous post, I have been working on refinishing a piece for the Carolina Room. The dresser was part of a set that also included 2 side tables, a massive credenza, and one of the ugliest headboards I have seen. All but the latter now reside in our master bedroom, having been refinished before the move. They were quite obviously several decades old and needless to say, needed some help. All that was left is the dresser, as the others are now painted grey and sanded in a shabby-chic type fashion.

So without further ado, here is the dresser before and after:

Before and After

OK, so the feet aren’t done, but will be soon! Just need to drag in some protective plastic

Behind the dresser you can also see the color I am thinking of painting the walls. It just so happens to be practically identical (as in when you squint you can’t tell a difference) to the color I put in the guest bath. I guess I just love that color! (And sorry honey, that doesn’t make me a Carolina fan!)

The other slightly bigger project that has been going on for the past week has been the house. While also not quite done (a few touch-ups needed here and there), it’s also far enough along that I think I can share it with you.

Drumroll please….

Front of house

Front of the house in the strong morning light

The back of the house

The back of the house. The light is playing a few tricks with the color, it’s even in person!

Another view of the house closer up

Another view of the house closer up

Granted, it’s hard to really get the color right with my iPhone’s camera, not to mention different times of day, but…No more sad grey house! Gone are the horrid blue shutters! Hooray!

A couple small things are still to be done as well, such as spray painting the light fixture by the door and getting a new kickplate. We also received a *lovely* horse head door knocker as a house warming gift that is going up soon!

 Next up is the master bath, which has tile going in as we speak. Lots of changes around here!

So, what do you think? Post your thoughts below 🙂

In which Britt complains about Rain

Seriously, it stinks. Meaning, I would much rather be out playing with ponies but instead I’m forced inside to tackle more DIY projects around the house. Right now we’ve got two projects going on, making over a dresser to go in the ‘Carolina Room’ (Oh, you didn’t know we have rooms named after universities?) and the other is the removal of the oh-so-nineties wallpaper from our master bathroom. Following that, I intend to stencil a feature wall in the Carolina Room and paint the other 3 walls some color I haven’t figured out yet.

Here is a pic of the stencil that I’ll be using (I got about 75% of the master bedroom wall done before decided it was too busy with our bed and painting over it).


All of this I want done in the next month or so, so I can then paint the master bath and put a bed in the Carolina Room in preparation for all the guests at Thanksgiving 🙂

I have all this to do, yet I would rather play outside. Tomorrow may be good though, as Foster and I are heading to MacNair’s, this time for a saddle fitting. I am *hoping* to take advantage of their beautiful covered arena and school briefly if they will let me. After that I have the feeling it’s going to be some time before we get back to business at home.

I bet the rain will stop… in time for hurricane season!

What are you guys up to with all the rain? Do you use it to relax inside or for forced labor?

A quick recap on a few -minor- events

On the wagon, off the wagon. You’d think I was on diet talking like this [I am, but let’s talk about that later maybe], but it’s the blog I really want to discuss. My bad. I’ll try and keep things current- goodness knows there’s enough to discuss!

So let’s recap. Tyler and I got married- we had a beautiful evening filled with family, friends, and LOTS of dancing- just the way we wanted it 🙂

From the wedding

(photo copyright by Robyn Van Dyke Photography)

Then we went on an amazing action-packed honeymoon to Scotland and England. Here’s a photo of us in front of St. Michael’s in Aldershot. St. Michael’s has significance to my family because it’s where my great-grandparents and grandparents were married, and where practically everyone (including myself) was christened as a baby. Will write a blog post dedicated to the honeymoon soon!


Immediately upon arriving home, we found ourselves locked out of the house for over an hour and a half (thanks Nikki for saving us in the end!), but shortly thereafter things started looking up. We’ve cleaned up a part of the house and have finally been able to start making plans for the future now that all of the craziness of the wedding is out of the way! While I am truly sad it’s over (I loved being able to  plan all the details of such a big event!) it is nice to be able to focus on other things.

Our next big event will be Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, though an American holiday, has become a huge event for my family. We always bring Sue over from England, pop the crackers (once a year at Christmas is not enough), and I daresay make more food than even the normal American family! So not only will my family be coming (that’s 6 people, in case you’re wondering), I was just notified that Tyler’s family will also be invited (another 6 people at least) to my first real hosting event. I was hoping to cook my first turkey- can it really be that different from a chicken?- and try making Yorkshire pudding, plus ALL the fixings- with one oven no less!  Anyways, several months to plan for this and all of the landscaping improvements I want implemented before having people over- an adventure in itself!

Until next time…