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30a Part One

We spent theย last four days in South Walton/Rosemary Beach and we can easily say it has been our favorite vacation spot yet! If you’ve been to this area, you will understand why I am breaking this up into two posts, it is just so beautiful! I loved reading through all of your recommendations for this area, and we tried to hit as many of them as possible, starting with an early lunch at The Great Southern. Theyย are famous for their mojitos & have the cutest shaded outdoor patio! We walked around Seaside in the early afternoon & then headed to the beach at Deer Lake State Park. This beach was so pretty, and almost empty! The only downside was that the path & boardwalk were a haul from the parking area, but it was worth it for the scenery!

We rented a townhouse in an area called Prominence, which was across the street from the Hub on 30a, which is located in Watersound between Seacrest/Watercolor and Alys/Rosemary. It was just a few minute drive in either direction! If you are heading here without three kids, you could likely still bike everywhere! The Hub is a cute spot with tons of restaurants, outdoor seating, things for kids to do, like free movies on the big screen & the most delicious ice cream shop! We could walk across the street for lots of different kinds of food (tacos, burgers, hot dogs, bbq) and enjoy them in the shade. We ate fish tacos & had margaritas while the kids danced to the live music. We would definitely stay here again!

My parents were in Destin for work early in the week, so they met us when they were done to stay the rest of the trip. Friday morning, we all headed to the infamous Donut Truck located in Alys Beach, which turned out to be my most favorite place of all. Alys is SO incredibly beautiful, like beyond words. All of the architecture, scenery, everything. Next to the donut truck (which was honestly the best donut I have ever had in my life) is a splash pad, which is literally the best idea ever, because three little girls who were once covered in chocolate, were now clean as a whistle & happy as can be. We played there for almost an hour, and then headed to the beach. This time we went to Rosemary Beach, which was quite a bit more crowded, but it was still pretty early in the day. ย The girls got to do all of their favorite things, dance in the ocean, build sand castles, dig a hole to turn into a pool & sit in the waves. They were also completely fascinated with all of the outdoor showers!

Harper’s Swimsuit // Ellie’s Swimsuit // Claire’s Swimsuit // My Swimsuit

We left to head back to our house in the early afternoon so Claire could nap, make lunch & enjoy the pool. They just completed swim lessons so they were having a blast jumping into the water. The pool at the place we stayed was amazing & was never busy, a huge plus when watching three kids in the water! ๐Ÿ˜‰

More to come soon in part two! XO

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Eloise’s 3rd Birthday Baby Doll Brunch

This weekend, our sweetest Eloise Ruby turned three! As with every birthday, we are equal partsย happy & sad, celebrating their little milestones while peeking back at photos from when they were born is always a recipe for tears.

Eloise loves her baby dolls more than anything, so when we asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted, it was no surprise that she said babies & pancakes. So I put together a little baby doll brunch, with pancakes on demand (thanks to chef daddy & grandpa who manned the kitchen all morning!) and each of her little friends bringing their baby dolls over. She loves blueberries (and anything blue really) so we did some blueberry yogurt parfaits (and blue cupcakes that we saved for later), made her a cake out of waffles & had her favorite cereal for snacking. I borrowed a few baby doll high chairs so each of the girls had a spot to put their babies to feed them as well, it was the cutest little set up,ย complete with OH BABY balloons that she loved!!

She wanted to make sure that we also wished her babies happy birthday, because of course they all had to share the big day with her, and she was over the moon excited about all of the new baby clothes (and even matching pajamas for her!) that she got to dress them all up. This is such a fun age and their excitement is contagious, we loved celebrating our Ellie girl!!

Eloise, you bring so much love & laughter to our family. We love listening to you tell stories & use your beautiful imagination, your smile has lit up the room since the day you were born. We love you more than words can say, happy birthday sweet baby girl.

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Our Kitchen Renovation Details


It’s taken me forever to put this post together because there are so many components, but I am super excited to share it all for those of you considering an kitchen renovation using Ikea cabinets.

When we first had an accepted offer on the house, we had a local designer & her contractor come in and give us some pricing on custom cabinetry. We knew we wanted to stay around $15K for the entire kitchen, and our first quote for new cabinets,ย just cabinets,was $16,500. We looked at options for getting the existing ones refinished, getting new shelves built inside of them, etc. but ultimately the cost of starting from scratch with Ikea cabinets was the best option. And I was SO excited about it. I have always read amazing things about them, minus the part about putting them together, and couldn’t wait to get started.

We were limited on changing the layout of the kitchen to stay within our budget, our surrounding walls were all load bearing and we also wanted to keep the existing hardwoods so we tried to keep everything on the same floor plan as it already was. The kitchen is actually pretty small,ย which did help keep costs down when it came to pricing per cabinet & per square foot of countertop. We knew we wanted to remove the cook top and replace it with an actual range, and also wanted to remove the upper cabinetry in favor of open shelves. Once we got our layout down, the kitchen planner helped us figure out what Ikea boxes fit in the space, and then we finalized our order with them – without the door fronts.

We then worked with the AMAZING Semi-Handmade team, to order our doors. We chose this option for a few reasons. They were higher quality than the Ikea doors, solid wood & the style was more of the shaker look that we wanted. Semi-Handmade also offers door sizes that are custom fit for your space, where as Ikea only offers a few sizes, requiring you to use “filler panels” for the extra spaces. So for example, our doors above our wall oven would have been about 6 inches shorter, and we would have had to put in a flat panel as a filler between the doors and the oven, since we did not use Ikea appliances. (I hope that makes sense, I know it is a little confusing!) I also really wanted a custom color that Ikea didn’t offer, so we loved that we were able to order the doors unfinishsed and have them painted in the color that we chose. I really can’t say enough good stuff about this part of the process, they actually helped us so much when it came to install and assembly, I am certain I called ten times over the course of the month asking different questions along the way. Overall, they gave the kitchen a much more custom look & we were so happy to have worked with them.

So to break it down a bit, here is a simplified version of how the process went (for those of you who have emailed me, this is where I was confused when we started, so hopefully this is helpful!)

1. Decide on a basic layout, then use the Ikea kitchen planner tool to pick & choose the components of your cabinet boxes (lowers, uppers, drawers, sink base, wall pantry, etc.), taking into account all of your space & appliance dimensions (so make sure you have these all picked out ahead of time).

2. Send finalized kitchen design to Semi-Handmade, so that they can give you the door sizes & panels. Panels are basically the wood that goes around your cabinet boxes & fills in the spaces between cabinets & appliances.

3. Finalize order for cabinets & doors (we did them at the same time to make sure there were no changes to be made to the original Ikea order order, which there were, so do these together), and patiently wait for 8,092,384,759 flat packed boxes to arrive on your doorstep (we paid an additional $75 to have someone pick up all of the pieces from the store & deliver them, because #threekids #aintnobodygottimeforthat)

4. Install cabinet boxes, then appliances, and then panels (in that order) for the best fit (if you are starting from scratch).

5. Countertop installation happened right in here somewhere, followed by having the sink/faucet plumbed.

6. Paint. Hands down one of the best decisions we made during our renovation, the painting company was SO professional and did a way better job than we ever could have. They came in, tented the kitchen, taped off EVERYTHING, filled all of the seams & nail holes, sprayed all of the boxes, and then took our cabinet doors to their studio to paint & return a few days later.

7. Install doors (everything is pre-drilled, and fit for Ikea hinges).

8. Backsplash, cabinet hardware & floating shelves (using these brackets that we used in our last house) come last, the best feeling ever.

We highly recommend hiring a carpenter during the process to come help out with any installation issues, someone who can make sure everything is cut perfectly to size, add trim, quarter-round, etc. to give you a really finished look. Brandon is super handy and was able to do most of this, but we were lucky to have a great carpenter to come in and assist with a few pieces of the puzzle & some amazing trim work at the end.

Here is our cost breakdown:

Ikea cabinets: $1850
Semi-Handmade door fronts: $2100
Custom Painting: $700
Appliances (purchased during 4th of July Sale!): $6200
Sink, Faucet & Cabinet Knobs: $1100
Countertops: $3800
Tile & Backsplash Installation: $1100
Floating Shelves DIY: $40
Electrical, Plumbing, Trim & Carpentry Work: $550
Total Cost: $17,440

We already had factored the price of buying a fridge into our closing costs, so less the cost of that, we weren’t too far off from our original budget. If you are looking to do a kitchen reno, and already have your appliances, there is definitely a good chance that you can complete it for under $10k. We love that we were able to give the kitchen the overhaul that it needed while making it totally our style, I am so so so happy with the way it turned out.ย If you have any questions regarding the process, definitely leave them in the comments and I will be sure to answer!

Sources: Cabinet Doors in DIY Shaker by SemiHandmade // Cabinet Paint Color SeaGull by Creative Cabinets // Quartz Countertops by Premier Surfaces // Floating Shelf Brackets c/o Shelfology // Sink // Faucet // Gas Range // Range Hood // Fridge // Microwave Oven // Drawer Pulls // Cabinet Knobs // Subway Tile Backsplash

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