Walker House: Simple Office Makeover

There are parts of our house that have been untouched since we moved in. I pity those little corners and rooms...they simply sit with the door closed and the lights off. As the days go by, I'm attempting to utilize every inch of our house, so the "man cave" was the next area on the list. 

Our bonus room upstairs has pretty much been a holding area for our wedding gifts up until about a week ago. I finally organized and put every little thing in its rightful place, which left a big open, ugly room. 

This room is still a work in progress, but I figured I could at least update one area of it--the "office" area in the corner. 

This spot is special to me because my sweet husband made this desk with his own two hands. I love that he loves DIY crafts as much as I do. Every time I sit at the desk, I am thankful for him. Oh, and LOOK! The Goodwill chair makes its debut in the house. Hallelujah! 

It's nothing special, but it's my little corner of our house where I can sit and write, read my Bible, or just brainstorm. It's quiet and cozy, perfect for stimulating a little creativity.









It's a good thing you can't see in the mirror a reflection of the other half of the room...now that's a different story. Another post for another day, my friends.

It's definitely no Pottery Barn, but I keep reminding myself, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. Xoxo

Celebrating Memorial Day

I am a person who loves to entertain. Sure, there are days when I relish in silence and love a little "me" time on my couch, but for the most part, I thrive on people. Noise. Laughter. Having a house full of friends and family puts me in my happy place. 

Andrew bought our house almost a year ago and I've been living here ever since. I can count on one hand the number of times we've had a big group over here...and that stifles my extroverted soul. One of our (well, mine, but Andrew has been made aware) goals for the summer is to be intentional with our time and enjoy our home with friends and family. 

We had a little impromptu Memorial Day cookout last night and it was so great. Nothing special--we cooked burgers and grilled chicken, friends brought over side dishes and such, and everyone BYOB'ed. I bought some inexpensive Dollar Tree red, white, and blue/American flag decor and made the back porch a little more festive.






And we enjoyed. 

I love a good holiday, but I love a good holiday with a great meaning even more. I'm grateful for the men and women who make our freedom possible and believe they deserve to be celebrated every day, not just Memorial Day. I loved that we were surrounded by family and friends on such a special day.








And we enjoyed.

Happy (late) Memorial Day, y'all. Xoxo

Noonday Giveaway: Benefitting the Ragan's Adoption Fund!

I'm always up for a fun giveaway, but even more so when the giveaway is benefitting a worthy cause. Not only will you win a gorgeous necklace, but the money used to purchase this necklace goes straight to the Ragan's adoption fund. Check out this video and see what it's all about...giving for the best reason!

              

I am so thankful for Rachel at Oh Simple Thoughts for organizing this giveaway...please spread the word and make a difference in this family's life!

Noonday, ever heard of them? They are a jewelry and accessories company that gives back in big ways. "Together with the Noonday ambassadors across the country, we offer you the opportunity to use your purchasing power to create change in the world {while looking really good along the way}. Your fashion sense can now restore dignity to abandoned women in Ethiopia, empower communities in Ecuador, and create business opportunities for Ugandans." Noonday sells beautiful necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more, all made by artisans in third world countries. Some of the money from every item bought goes back to these artisans to create a sustainable lifestlye for them and their communities. HOW AWESOME?! Here are some of my favorite pieces! 

Most is all made from materials unique to the area. So some bracelets and necklaces are made from rolled up paper beads, or seeds, or recycled gun metal, or bones of animals!

HOW CAN YOU HELP THE RAGANS?

Well, let me tell you. If you would like to purchase an item from Noonday, for yourself or for someone else, just follow these simple steps to insure the credit goes to the Ragan Trunk Show!

2. Shop around, pick out your items, and proceed to check out. 
3. In the box asking for an ambassador name, put McCall Aldridge.
4. In the box asking for Trunk Show Name, put Ragan Trunk Show. 
5. Check out, and wait for your gorgeous pieces to arrive in the mail. 


This Noonday necklace is new this year, and one of the best sellers, meet the Del Mar Necklace, and your giveaway co hosts!




Thank you so much for participating in the giveaway! It is such a joy to watch others invest and show interest in this adoption! The Ragan's appreciate it so much! 

Walker Wedding: The Morning of the Big Day

these are all snapshots from my family and friends, taken with love to help me capture the best day of my life. here are a few memories that I want to write down before I forget.

It was a restless night. Was it the nerves, the anticipation, the excitement? Probably a little bit of each. Andrew sent flowers to our hotel suite right before midnight, the last time he could address a card to me as Rachel Dillard. We all cried and laughed and hugged and got more excited for the next morning. 


Bedtime came and I can remember seeing almost every hour on the clock; at one point, I was just delirious enough to think it was time to get up, but it was only 2 am. Sunlight couldn't have come any quicker.

The first thing I remember from that morning was my sister's exclamation: "Today's the BIG DAY!" It took me a moment to realize where I was and what was going on...hotel room. Sister in bed beside me. It was the wedding day. The day I'd been waiting on for months. I think that was the first (of many) time I cried that day. Happy tears, of course, but emotions, nonetheless.



The hair and makeup fun was perfect. Everyone was giddy and happy and couldn't stop smiling, me more than anyone. We had a blast watching each other's hair transform into a gorgeous updo, a beautiful head full of curls. 





Makeup made us all really realize it was happening THAT day, it was as if we were just dressing up, rehearsing. The "Going to the Chapel" playlist streamed from the iPod, champagne and snacks were passed around, and some tears were shed. I don't ever want to forget those moments with all of my girls; getting ready, laughing at silly memories, giving random hugs just to say how much each other meant. The excitement was tangible and contagious--I couldn't have been happier.



We sat around a drank a mimosa or two and had the best time. I'll never forget that morning...it was a slumber party with my best girls and I couldn't have been happier.




I'm so thankful for the girls who surrounded me that day. On the day I married the man of my dreams, I can't believe how lucky I was to have those women around me. 


My photographer was brilliant and wanted to get a "first look" shot of the bridesmaids seeing me in my dress. They, of course, saw it on the hanger, but only my sister had seen it on, so it was so thrilling to see their faces as they saw me for the first time, all dressed up in lace and sparkles. It was perfect; I can't wait to see the shots she got from that moment.


Andrew and I agreed to no wedding day gifts; instead, our gift to each other would be a couples massage at the resort in Jamaica. But, that sweet man of mine sent a precious letter for me to read a few minutes before I saw him...thank goodness my makeup artist was still around, because the tears were flowing. If only I had a dollar for every time I questioned, "Is this really happening??"


Finally, after a brief hot flash and my bridesmaids fanning me off and recurling my hair, I was ready. All dressed up and somewhere to go...it was time to go see my groom. You could probably hear my heart beating from across the room...I was so excited but so nervous. I just wanted to hug him and tell him how ready I was to be his wife. 

That Time We Went to St. Louis

Over the weekend, Andrew and I planned to go visit his sister and her husband in St. Louis. I had yet to see their house and hadn't seen them since our wedding, so we were due for a visit! 

I was so looking forward to a weekend of adventure in a new city...I had my camera all charged and googled "fun things to do in St. Louis" and "places to see on the way to St. Louis"...and you know what we did? Not much. Watched some baseball, had a couple of adult beverages, and ate a bunch of good food. And you know what? It was perfect. Just what I needed on my weekend off. Sometimes I think I'm craving adventure when in reality, I'm just craving a little relaxation and family time (and maybe some sleep and some wine...)

And even worse? I only took like 5 pictures. What a bad blogger I am! But I'm slowly but surely learning that memories don't have to be captured on a camera to be remembered. 








How was your weekend? Hope the week is off to a fabulous start! Xoxo

DIY Chair Makeover: The Simplest Project Ever



There are certain DIY projects that I ponder over for weeks at a time before I do them. Research is done on Pinterest and any DIY blog I can find. I calculate every step of the transformation, write out the to-do list, and collect supplies. 

This is not one of them.

In my plight to make our home a little more settled, I've started to tackle the upstairs. Our upstairs is the "bonus" room, originally meant to be a man cave, but has since turned into the catch-all room. I decided I was tired of looking like a hoarder, so it's become my latest mission. 

I figure I'll try to appease my husband and keep it a man cave--well, at least part of it. I've come to the conclusion that the other side will be an office space for me to write, read, and create. I kind of love the idea of having my own little corner to call my own. 

And that's where this project came in. 

On a whim a few days ago, I decided to go on one of my favorite errands, out to peruse our local Goodwill to find something that struck my fancy. My "want" list consisted of anything from a sitting chair to placemats to a bookshelf (really, just something fun to craft), and I happened upon a chair that would look great in my "office."

I almost feel trite writing this post because it was possibly the easiest project ever, but I'm kind of impressed with how it turned out, so share I will. 



It was my first attempt at chalk paint, and I can say without doubt that the chalk paint is fool-proof. It was easy as can be. The good thing about chalk paint is that no sanding or stripping is required. We literally just started painting. It took two good coats to cover it well, and make sure you let the first coat dry before starting the second.  Also, try to avoid heavy coats. Don't put it on thick, because it'll look clumpy. 

To recover the chair, we actually left the old fabric on, just did a double layer of our cream fabric to ensure that the old material didn't show through. No removing of staples or anything--much easier than having to fix the batting and all that. It was basically a trial and error kind of reupholstering--we laid the seat onto the fabric and started at the widest part. It's easy peasy until you get to a corner, and then I just imagined I was wrapping a present and tucked the corners as if it were wrapping paper, and it worked perfectly. Clearly, it doesn't really require 1-2-3 step instructions, but if you need a little guidance, just Google it. You'll find lots of videos. 

Some folks like to finish off a good chalk project with the wax coating that often accompanies the chalk paint. It gives it a more worn, antiqued look. I quite liked how ours looked with just two coats of paint--fresh and clean. And that's the way I left it. All I needed to do then was screw the seat back down and there you have it. A chair fit for my office!


See what I mean? A DIY that anyone could do. Happy Thursday! Xoxo

Becoming a Wife


My heart has been so full lately. Full of hope, full of excitement, full of a little bit of anxiety and a lotta bit of happiness. I'm still in shock that I'm someone's wife.

I've been thinking a lot on what it means to be a wife. As a child, I was the queen of the make-believe playhouse, complete with a husband and a child, played by my best friend and my sister. It was never a question--I was always going to be the wife if we were to play "house." They may have switched up their roles some, but I was always the wife, the mama. And to my little-girl-mind, that meant wearing one of my mom's aprons and opening the oven a lot, asking my "husband" how his day was, and brushing my child's hair. I daily watched my mom be a wife and a mom (and a great one, at that), and those are the tasks and duties I took from it.

Thank goodness that we grow up. If only that portrayal was the extent of what it means to be a wife, maybe then, I'd have it down pat.

But oh, dear friends, I'm learning daily that being a wife is so much more. So much more than playing house, so much more than the June Cleaver picture we all know. I have sweet, precious friends who have been praying for me for months...praying over this relationship between me and Andrew. Praying that my heart is ready to be a wife, and that I can somehow grasp, even if just the shell, of what it means to be a wife who glorifies God by serving and loving her husband.

I have such a long ways to go in my "wife" journey, but it's the most important role I'll ever learn in this life, second to being a worthy servant of the Lord. It's overwhelming yet thrilling, this task that is before me. I hope and pray daily that I remember the word "grace." Grace to myself, when I don't feel quite good enough, grace to my husband, when I feel like he's just trying to be difficult, and grace every other moment of the day. I don't know about you, but God's grace is an undeserving blessing that I am more and more grateful for as the days pass. Maybe it's the fact that I'm growing up and growing in Him and realizing how imperfect I am and how desperately I need it, but oh, goodness. Thank you Lord, for your grace.

Back in the days after we got engaged, we had lots of congratulations, of course. But one congratulation stuck out to me, one from a dear, dear friend who I may as well call my mentor. It was a congratulation of some sort, but more of a prayer, than anything. And I've saved that message ever since. No telling how many times I've read over it, wondering if I'm fulfilling my role as God would want me to. And yet again, I tell myself, "Grace, Rachel, grace."

The text message said this: 

"Good morning, friend. Just thinking about you and all that you are about to embark on. I know wedding preparations are of precedence these days. Venue, music, flowers, photographer, dress. 

My specific prayer for you over the next few months is that the Lord will cultivate an awareness of the important role of WIFE. A praying wife. A wife who esteems her husband. A wife who never chooses nagging. A wife who encourages. A wife who tunes into the idiosyncrasies of her husband. A wife who anticipates his wants and needs and happily obliges as if she is serving Jesus Himself. A wife who goes the extra mile when she doesn't feel like it. A wife who seeks to enjoy his interests. A wife who reaches out and says she's sorry even when she's "right." A wife who reaches out in a fight and offers the first hug. A wife who lays down her own life for her husband. THIS is Godly love in marriage. 

The wedding hoopla will die down and you will soon learn a new (wonderful) reality."

So, to all the wives out there, to all the soon-to-be wives, or even the women who want to be a wife one day...read those words and cherish them like I have. 

With every day that passes, I'm learning what it means to be a wife, and am eternally grateful for this man who made me his wife and for a Lord who loved us enough to let us do life together.

Walker House Tour: Our Living Room & Kitchen

I fell in love with our house the moment we first looked at it. In my mind, I could see where the couch would go, where we'd put our dining room table, and what rooms ours kids would occupy one day. It was more than a house on that first visit, it was already a home. 

I've slowly settled into married life in our home. Sure, there are a ton of things I'll probably change over time. And sure, most of our furniture has been handed down or bought at a yard sale. I like the charm that old pieces create...pieces that have a story are dear to my heart.




When I look at these photos, I see the stains on the stove that don't seem to ever disappear, no matter how hard I scrub. 

And yes, I still have Christmas cards up--they'll stay up year round in my house, just because I love seeing the faces of those I love most.


I see the stack of books, papers, cards, and bills that sit in the basket on our counter. Clutter. But really, that's just evidence of a house lived in.




I see the couches that were handed down to us and are, ahem, quite loved, but comfortable and worn in. 





I can look around our house and pick out so many things that I want to change, but really, when I look at our house, I see a home. I see somewhere that is lived in and not perfect, comfortable and welcoming. 

I've been reading The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith, and more than anything, it's teaching me that a home doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful, because in all reality, the beauty comes from the quirks and "faults" that we see. 

I want our guests to come in and feel at home. To be comfortable to sit down on our couch and kick up their feet. To feel cozy and at ease. It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.