Life Update: Tearing Up Our Yard, COVID, and a Happy New Year

Here’s a quick update from the last few months of the most chaotic year ever–2020. I am excited for a new year of awesome new content!

Hi there! Yikes…. It’s been a little while since I have been on the blog, but if you’ve been keeping up on Instagram, then you know the past few months have been a bit of a whirlwind. While 2020 was chaotic all by itself, the last few months took quite the toll on Skyler and me. For one, we totally tore up our backyard… *cringe*

Skyler living the dream and making a mess he couldn’t get in trouble for haha

Okay, I am being a little dramatic about it, but it is quite the muddy mess right now–especially after the bouts of snow and rain we’ve been having. It’s never easy watching your soon-to-be-husband run a Bobcat through your neat yard (no offense, honey *wink*) What started out as a simple retaining wall project to widen the driveway has turned into a lengthier project due to weather…Isn’t that how home projects always go? Oh, the woes of home ownership *wink* –a BIG thanks to Skyler, my dad, and a good buddy of Skyler’s for tackling the driveway/retaining wall project!!

Oakley is such a good little training partner *wink*

The end of 2020 was super busy with my buying a new car (one that gets way better gas mileage than the Jeep I had), visiting my grandparents in Mississippi, and celebrating my 25th birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (via video chat–see below for why). Besides doing home improvement projects and other adulting matters, I have also been busy training for a half marathon.

Nothing beats being back home and seeing my two favorite people: Paw Riley and Maw Maw.

The end of 2020 also brought COVID to Skyler and me…like days before Christmas. Definitely not a “gift” we wanted! Ugh! Thankfully, we didn’t get as sick as many others, but it was still a scary time for us because of the unpredictability of the virus. Even with our mild cases, we felt the effects weeks afterwards, and not to mention, I never thought I would be able to smell again haha But…I digress.

Oakley knew we were sick and constantly insisted on being held/cuddled. She was a good little nurse *wink*

To be honest with you guys, I have missed writing on VIP so freaking much. 2020 was such a weird, dysfunctional, and depressing year for like the entire universe. It was hard to write because I felt my content would be taking away from something more important like COVID-19 updates or Presidential debates. Now that things are finally settling down a bit, I feel like I can finally breathe and truly share fun, happy, real content.

I have lots of posts planned for the coming months–home projects, renovation updates, and outfit posts, as well as new content like running and fitness, inspirational posts, and my favorite local shopping and dinning spots in the Tri-Cities (Tennessee) area. Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, Skyler and I also have some fun travel plans later in the year I hope to blog about *fingers crossed*

Oakley enjoying her first White Christmas…that girl LOVES to play in the snow.

Thank you SO much for sticking with VIP through thick and thin. You guys are seriously THE BEST. *wink* Here’s to a new year (over a month in 🙃). I cannot wait to share upcoming posts, so stay tuned for Everything You Need to Know About Painting a Brick Backsplash next!

How I Updated My Kitchen Cabinets for Under $100

A step-by-step guide on renovating outdated, wooden kitchen cabinets from drab to fab for under $100

Renovating or revamping interior spaces is no small feat, especially when it comes to the kitchen. It’s so easy to get on Pinterest and gather big ideas. But it’s even easier to become overwhelmed with where to start, what to buy, and how much it will cost.

If you’ve been wanting to tackle your kitchen cabinets and have been struggling with getting started, today’s post is for you. I’ve got tips and tricks you need to take your kitchen cabinets from drab to fab for under $100! Yes, you read that correctly *wink* under one hundred dollars.

My fiancé and I recently purchased a quaint, mid-century modern home near downtown Jonesborough, Tennessee. While a lot of the major renovation work was completed like new flooring throughout the house, the kitchen was a typical flip job that needed some personality and cohesiveness. I knew when looking at the house, I was going to immediately change the mismatched cabinets and red-brick back splash.

Before painting and revamping

After some investigation, we discovered the bottom cabinets are brand spanking new, but the top cabinets are the original, wood cabinets. The bottom cabinets have a beautiful, smooth enamel finish, while the top ones had a dingy texture–like they had been stripped and re-stained many times over the years.

Rather than destroying our kitchen + spending a fortune on matching top cabinets, my fiancĂ© and I embraced our inner DIY and decided to paint the upper cabinets. Again, I say–this was no small feat *wink* but it was totally worth the time, effort, and “choice” words that were said.

So, if you’re ready to tackle your outdated, wooden kitchen cabinets, here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Step 1: Remove cabinet doors + hardware

It’s much easier to paint cabinets and get a nice finish when the doors and hardware are removed. I set up the cabinet doors in a different room on a clean plastic tarp to ensure they didn’t get dirty, and I didn’t mess up the tile floor. If you’re a messy painter or are handling a bigger project, this is also a good time to put a tarp or plastic covering over counter tops, appliances or flooring. And if you’re cabinets hug the ceiling like mine….I suggest using painter’s tape as well.

Step 2: Clean / wipe down the cabinets and doors.

While this is not an instruction detailed on the can of Valspar enamel paint, I found it extremely helpful in achieving that nice, smooth finish with my older cabinets. This ensures that there’s no dust, oil, pet hair, or any other un-wanted goop on your cabinets prior to painting. I simply used Windex and paper towels.

Step 3: Take a sigh of relief because you don’t have to sand or prime ANything!

Unless you have an unruly or intense texture on your cabinets and cabinet doors, the Valspar enamel paint is so awesome that you can skip sanding or priming and jump straight into painting.

Step 4: Ready, set, paint!

Skyler and I tag-teamed this project. While he painted the doors, I worked on the cabinets. It took three coats to get the finish we wanted. We were able to complete the cabinets over the weekend, starting on a Friday afternoon and finishing Sunday evening.

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES:

  1. Keep in mind it is a very thick paint. Avoid putting too much paint on the wood surface, especially with the first and second coat! It will begin to drip and dry, creating an unwanted and bumpy texture. If this happens…don’t panic. Wait for the spots to dry and use a light grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface before adding another coat.
  2. Each coat needs to dry 4 – 6 hours, and the last coat needs to cure for up to 48 hours. Because kitchen cabinets are commonly touched surfaces, you want to let each coat dry really well before applying any additional paint. Once you’ve painted your last coat, let your cabinets and doors dry separately for at least 24 hours before adding hardware and hanging. Leave the doors open and do not touch/use them for another 24 hours. This helps prevent chips or scratches.
  3. Use a small craft brush for touch-ups. If you notice a few chips or scratches after re-attaching your cabinet doors, you probably didn’t let them fully dry (24 hours) before. If you made this mistake, like me, use a small craft brush + the enamel paint to fill in. Depending on how deep the chip/scratch, you may have to repeat this a few times.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to stay tuned to an upcoming step-by-step post on how I painted my ugly brick backsplash *wink*

VIP Home: Why Blog About Home?

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Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!

Since I started the VIP Home segment a little over a year ago, I have received many emails from curious fans asking “why I do it.” It is a good question–a fabulous question, as a matter of fact. 

Before blogging was ever even a thought, I was surrounded by all kinds of interior design, re-decorating, renovation, selling, moving, and buying–the whole nine yards. Through all of that, I unconsciously gained a love for adventure and houses of all kinds. For example: I am totally obsessed with little blue houses. If you do not believe me, check out my dream house board on Pinterest here *wink*

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Kicking in walls in the master bath of Sloss Castle.

The main “life-event” that sparked the idea for “VIP Home” was when my family and I moved to Birmingham, Alabama and tackled a total renovation project. If you are just now joining us on VIP, be sure to take a glance back at some of the reno blogs here. Note: my leg came out unharmed after getting stuck in a wall *wink* We had a lot of laughs over it…so many that my mom took a picture to capture the moment *wink*

VIP Home not only broadens the VIP’s content from just fashion and beauty–because writing about the same thing over-and-over again gets a bit boring after a while *wink*–but writing about home also gives me the opportunity to share cool and fun ideas with y’all. In the famous words of American advertising director William Bernbach, “word of mouth is the best medium of all.”

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My dad and I after the “sold” sign went up at our house in the Tutwiler Farms subdivision of Trussville, Alabama.

So, to answer y’all’s question in the simplest way, I do VIP Home because the home has played a huge role in my life–from teaching me how to fix a leaking shower head to total renovation. Although I am no expert, I want to write about and share my home experiences with y’all in a fun way that makes YOU want to put more heart into your home. :)

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For home advice from the experts, check out my in-person interviews with Ty, Mark, Ahmed, and Matt:

Ty Pennington interview

Mark Brunetz interview

Ahmed Hassan interview

Matt Muenster interview

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Embracing My Inner Nicole Curtis

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Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!

Today, I took a break from painting my apartment to help out my parents with a few projects at their gorgeous, majorly renovated 1920’s Victorian house in Johnson City, Tennessee. Although the home is newly renovated, there are still a few things that need to be tidied up a bit before having a neighborhood welcome party. When my mom texted me that my only job was to clean the three fireplaces, I was a bit surprised because it was such a simple request. Wow–I thought–this will not take long at all! I should have time to get back to my apartment to finish painting my bathroom–*game buzzer* wrong answer. 

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Once I took a closer look at the fireplaces, I realized that they were in dire need of a hardcore cleaning. So, I embraced my inner Nicole Curtis–you know, the adorable, kick-booty renovator from Rehab Addict…Oh, how I love that show–and got to work on fireplace #1 downstairs.

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At first, this task was very daunting because I felt like the tiles would never be pretty again, and that I was just wasting my time–BUT after spending several hours scraping away years of coal buildup (all of the fireplaces in the house were originally coal-burning), I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The once sad, dingy fireplace tiles were in the works of becoming a shinning star once again.

After the globs of coal residue were gone, I took a warm water/baking soda mixture and gently scrubbed each tile several times…using a Mr. Clean sponge–which is my favorite go-to cleaning tool. To my disbelief, there was still coal residue on the tiles…What?! After all that scraping and scrubbing…yes, after all that scraping and scrubbing. This was a bit frustrating–but I did not let that stop me! I knew that the fireplace tiles had the potential to be gorgeous again, and that was enough motivation for me to push forward and ruin my manicure. *wink*

 

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After thirty minutes of scrubbing with my warm/water baking soda mixture, I stepped back and took a look–Wow! The tiles looked dramatically different….Now, they are so clean and so pretty! The once 1970’s yucky brown colored tiles are now a striking mix of warm terracotta hues that look amazing with the original, refinished hardwood floor. My goodness…it was so worth ruining my manicure *wink*

Fireplace #2 downstairs--I will be tackling this cleaning project tomorrow.
Fireplace #2 downstairs–I will be tackling this cleaning project on another day. I wonder what color the tiles really are?

Making the fireplace tile beautiful again was a magnificent moment that made me realize why Nicole Curtis is addicted to rehab. I still have two more fireplaces to clean, and strangely enough…I am actually looking forward to it! I cannot wait to see what beautiful tiles are beneath the years of gross, coal residue! By the time I have the third fireplace looking all spiffy and new…I am pretty sure I will be addicted to rehab too*wink*

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Throwback Thursday: High Heels and Tool Belts

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Hello, fabulouses, and welcome to Throwback Thursday on VIP! Phew! What a fabulous year it has been here in Birmingham–it is hard to believe that the family and I took on the project of renovating the 1981 fixer-upper only a year ago. Words cannot express how happy I am that the renovation is almost complete! It was fun trading in my high heels and jewelry for tennis shoes and a tool belt for a little while…but after a few, long weeks of ripping out and tearing up…I was happy to have my sparkly jewelry and stilettos back again *wink*

As I was reminiscing December 2012 blog posts, I realized that for an entire month–yes, that’s right a month–I wrote brief blogs about the home construction. Oh, man…that was a rough, but fabulous learning experience.

Here are a few of the things I learned from the renovation of the 1981 fixer-upper:

  1. When kicking in walls, it is always important to kick low enough so that you can more easily pull your leg back through the hole. No one likes being stuck between a rock and a hard place–or in this case, a piece of sheetrock and another piece of sheetrock.
  2. Ripping up carpet is the easy part…it is the carpet tacks that will get ya’.
  3. Wicker wallpaper is never a good idea no matter what year it is.

Okay–that is enough throwbacking for now. I must be off to bake some gluten-free brownies for my mom! I would make her do it…but she is not the best at baking desserts–no offense, mom *wink*

While I bake, check out the December 2012 archives here to see the VIP without makeup and her hair fixed. Woah! Say what?! *wink*

See, told ya'--I didn't lie about the wicker wallpaper thing. Check out the blog here to find out what room had this "lovely" wicker wallpaper...

See, I told ya’ about the wicker wallpaper thing. Scary…I know….Check out the blog here to find out what room had this “lovely” wicker wallpaper…I kind of like saying “wicker wallpaper, wicker wallpaper, wicker wallpaper” *smile*

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn