c is for courtyard. c is also for cocktails…

When we moved in, the gated courtyard was not my favorite.  It had white stones instead of grass and where there weren’t stones there were overgrown azalea bushes.

The stones seemed a little out of place to me.  If this was Arizona or Nevada, I could understand but Louisiana is like a sunnier and way less hipster version of Seattle for the amount it rains here.  I wanted green.

Of course I asked our contractor (mistake number one of hundreds) if he could remove them.  He quoted me something astronomical, which I started to notice he did often when it was apparently something he didn’t want to, or couldn’t, undertake.  So the stones stayed.

It’s not like I was going to remove them.


 {courtyard before}

Here’s The Puppy wandering around trying to find a spot to go the bathroom.  He’s scared to walk on the stones and he would be lost eternally to the azaleas.  He had no options.

courtyard grass

So I ripped up all the bushes, planted sod and decorated with giant pots of flowers.  Yes, I planted sod. I’m amazing even myself these days.

bistro set

For the rocky-part of the courtyard, since clearly they were there to stay, I thought about how I could at least make it slightly more attractive.  I found this amazing little bistro set on amazon (prime!) but was concerned when the box arrived flat.  Not sure what I was expecting but I thinking  maybe a more table and chair sized box.  Apparently someone had to put them together.

lightingAfter I put the set together (as The Boyfriend and The Puppy watch from the window) I started looking for other easy touches to improve our little courtyard.

When I was at a lighting showroom picking out exterior light fixtures, I found this little matching pendant light perfect for above my table.


My last stop was the gardening store.  Final touch, pots of pansies everywhere.  Then I was done.

table top

Now I see all the amazing things you can do outside.  Read outside.  Have morning coffee outside.  Drink cocktails outside.  Write this blog outside.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless.  I don’t know if I mentioned this but you can drink cocktails outside.  It’s amazing.

remodel…blondie vs the azaleas

The face of gardening, I am not.

But I learned to tile.  I learned to paint.  I can throw some plants in the ground.

me and azaleas

{gardening selfie & a stack of ripped up azaleas}

As I was standing outside in the humid 90-something degree heat, ‘glowing’ profusely, one of the painters out smoking a cigarette (using the dog’s water bowl as an ashtray I noticed…) said, “it’s Louisiana.  If you aren’t sweating, you’re dead.”

So, I have that going for me.  Because it sure isn’t my ability to pull azalea bushes from the ground, but I am alive.

And if I one more person walks by and says, “what did that azalea ever do to you?” I might lose it.

no azaleas

The tile guy informed me I should try a chainsaw.  I’m not too sure what he sees when he looks at me, but I truly never imagined my name and “chain saw” would be in the same sentence.

Going on hour three of ‘operation azaleas’,  I sat in my pile of branches and started thinking that maybe it wasn’t too late to replant them.  I could go inside and subject myself to the drills, jackhammer, saws and soft rock coming from a transistor radio.  It’s loud, but at least it’s air conditioned.

So maybe I do unnecessarily dislike azaleas because, in the end, I decided not to stop til these bushes are gone.  Then I’m going to open a bottle of rosé and sit outside.

Because I’ll be too stinky to sit inside.  And we have no floors or chairs.

Remodeling is so fun.

beautifying the mail…

mail box

In a neighborhood of highly manicured yards, apparently my yard leaves a little to be desired.  I have that house.

When we moved in, our neighbor from across the street came over to introduce himself while I was pulling up weeds (which in a past life I never thought I would ever say) and he made the comment he couldn’t wait to see what I had in store for the yard.

I guess that’s what one calls a subtle hint.

mailbox 2

Which led me to question, what did I have in store?  My original answer was grass.  Which it conveniently already had.

But since, I’ve realized the error in my ways and have tried to get a little more landscape savvy.  Honestly, it’s a lot of work, kind of like being more ‘install your own tile savvy’ is.

mailbox 3

 So I started small.

I have a one foot circumference around the mailbox that was filled in with dirt (I guess I really did have a little work to do…) which is now a beautiful utopia of Lowes’ brightest flower assortment.

We live on a double lot, so in the grand scheme of things a one foot circumference maybe didn’t make quite the impact I’m looking for.

But, like I said it’s a start. Baby flower steps.

Vintage Crates…Garden Style

french crates- gardenNot that I’m going all ‘shabby chic’, I like to think of myself as more a ‘cool modern/contemporary’ type person, but after moving I have been having to re-evaluate our living space.  Before our house was all cement, glass and chrome, now it’s marble and wood finishings.

But in the trade off, I now have a yard.

 I have been looking for some vintage crates to put in a garden outside, you can easily find anywhere online like Etsy, etc.  I was thinking of filling with seasonal flowers, and luckily my adorable flower shop around the corner currently has tons of lavender and hyacinth.

Maybe I have a green thumb after all.


Mojito Mother’s Day…

A perfect day of sun and patio drinks to celebrate my amazing mother.



And I found the most delicious (and thankfully easy) mojito recipe.  We just use mint from my mom’s garden.

muddle 12 mint leaves with half a lime

add 2 tablespoons of simple syrup

add 2 tablespoons (or 4) of rum

top with club soda

shake in shaker and pour over ice


Oh, and here’s a tip.  If you buy your mother gardening tools, be prepared to garden.