home: an american familial haven (blue eye diy)

Things I love and my husband hates!Guys, please welcome Letisha and her lovely and oh-so-comforting American home to Hello, Scarlett Blog. Letisha’s blog, Blue Eye DIY, is self-described as “where lipstick meets sawdust.” It is there where you can find the most amazing creative projects to beautify your home. I hope that you enjoy touring her home and reading her thoughtful answers as much as I did! I think that her domicile sounds like nothing more than a little slice of heaven.

Emory

Life in Every Space and Color!!1. Where is your home located?

Home?  Boy that a good question!  I have moved quite a bit so the idea of “home” has evolved for me.  If you would have asked me this question 5 years ago I would have said “anywhere my kids and are.”  Now my kids are starting their own lives and making their own homes.  So I have had to reevaluate.  I think about the moments that I am most happy, when I am most at peace.  Those moments are when I have finished a good day of work, I am relaxed with my husband and dogs and eating food I don’t let myself feel guilty about.  That is home!

Memories2. What are your thoughts on the idea of ‘home’?

I wish I had a unique perspective to offer, but I really think home is about love and laughter not necessarily the location.  My son is leaving for his first “home,” it will be a tent in Nepal as he helps individuals rebuild after the earthquake.  I imagine him laughing, crying, sleeping, eating, working, playing music or cards … in his little tent.  Meanwhile back here in the states I will hang pictures on my walls, cook meals, watch tv, play cards, complain about slow internet … in my house.  Both are filled with love, both are a beautiful home.

My Personal Junk Yard3. What kinds of things influence your design style?

When I am designing my own home, I say my style is if Marilyn Monroe married Davey Crockett.  By that I mean, I love a bit of femininity and glam blended with rustic and distressed items.  I also LOVE to reuse or repurpose any item that I possibly can.  I believe everything should be purposeful if it takes a place in our home.  Even if its purpose is just to bring us joy!

Mirror and Brush 4. What do you consider to be one of your favourite items in your home? What could you never live without?

My favorite item is an antique mirror and brush set my husband gave me for my first birthday with him.  I told him a story of watching an old movie where the handsome man marries the town ugly duckling.  He told her she was the most beautiful woman in the world to him.  For their wedding gift he gave her a mirror so she could see the beauty in herself. 

My Memory DrawerTwo things [that I could never live without],  first, my memory drawer.  I have saved mementos and collectibles over the years from my children and courtship.  These items make me laugh and remind me of when my kids thought I was cool!  

The second thing is my personal junk yard.  I just love my junk!  I have an addiction with all things old, dingy and discarded!

The Hubby's Guitar5. Please share any ideas/stories/pictures that best highlight your home.

When I decided to become and interior designer it was originally because I loved color and making spaces attractive.  As I have grown and had more experience in the field I have learned that what I love more than that is making people feel alive, comfortable and finally excited about their homes.  In my home I try to keep that same attitude.  I love to see my husbands guitar around, doggy’s toys, even the painting in my living room that my husband hates!  Because all these things mean that “WE” live here.

Daughter and DoggiesLetisha

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If you would like to take part in this series, entitled Home, please email me at helloscarlettblog@outlook.com.

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revisiting old photographs

America - June 6Hello, June!

On Saturday, I happened to come across one of the most refreshing travel blogs that I have read in some time, courtesy of Emma from A Beautiful Mess. The blog is called Mr and Mrs Globetrot. After scrolling through pages and pages of photographs and stories, I was inspired to revisit my own pictures from our American road trip that occurred in February and March of this year. I went back and flagged the photos that I had originally wanted to publish, but had either run out of space the first time around, or had not felt confident enough in showcasing. I also feel as if I had a fresh set of eyes going through them this time.

So, here are some newly edited wanderlust photos that you have not yet seen.

America - June 2America - June 9America - June 7America - June 10America - June 12To view Mr and Mrs Globetrot’s blog, please click here. Honestly, there is nothing more thrilling to a blogger than discovering a new site and subsequently being reinvigorated by it. I only wish that it would happen more often.

<3

Emory

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home: dreaming big, living small (tiny house teacher)

or PIC 3I could never have successfully done this Home series without having at least one Tiny House featured. For the last year, I have considered these little houses to be the ideal form of home ownership. I find nothing more desirable than to not only live mortgage-free, but to be able to move your lovely abode at a moment’s notice. Coming from someone who is able to commit, but also loves to change her mind, I dream of one day owning a Tiny House. When I do make the decision to build one, I will turn to one of the best teacher’s around, Lora from the blog The Tiny House Teacher.

For some reason, the most compassionate souls seem to follow HSB. Lora is no exception. I have been in contact with her for a few months now, and her goodness, coupled with her knowledge regarding Tiny Homes, never ceases to astound me. It is apparent that she truly loves her life in her tiny abode, and strives to share that expertise with audiences both near and far. She was brave enough to make a major life change, and for that, I am thrilled to share her home story on my blog.

<3

Emory

PIC 21. Where is your home located?

Currently my Tiny House and I reside at an RV park in Georgia. I chose this location because it was close to work, but I am loving it because of everything it has to offer.

It is perfect for the outdoor activities I enjoy, with great hiking trails, a couple of small lakes and stables nearby.

PIC 3But one of the best things about my Tiny House is that I can park it wherever I want in the future! The freedom of knowing I can move anywhere is incredibly liberating and exciting.

2. What are your thoughts on the idea of ‘home’?

My idea of home has always been more about the “feelings” a place evokes rather than the actual building or space. I have lived in 13 different states, 22 cities and 28 houses over the years. I have loved something about each of these homes, but I realize it’s my family and the experiences that I have had in each that made the house feel like a “home” to me.

PIC 4I know a lot of people think about an actual location when they talk about their “home”…and I have always wondered what it would be like to have one place that came to mind. I guess for me, my home is a place that reflects who I am at that moment in life. Right now, that moment looks like a Tiny House!

PIC 5“Home” is the place that has room for all of the things that are important to me. It has a cozy bed to sleep in, a place to cook, a bathroom for showers, and space for all of my passions and hobbies. Which right now include reading, writing, photography, triathlons and ballroom dancing!

PIC 6Home is also a place where I can share memories that are important to me. One of my bucket list items is to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Last year for Christmas, my sister bought me an amazing medal board to showcase all of my race “bling.” When I started making my “must have” list for my Tiny House, it was at the top!

PIC 7Overall, home is a place that feels like me. A space that represents all the things I love. A space that is organized and functional, but also comforting and relaxing. Most of all, my home is a space that encourages me to be thankful for what I have.

3. What kinds of things influence your design style?

My grandfather was an architect and my mom has always loved the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. I grew up in a home that had clean lines, lots of windows and organized spaces. All of these things stuck and influenced my Tiny House design choices.

PIC 8As I got older, I found myself pulled towards items that were functional and comfortable. I like things to look “clean,” but I don’t connect with spaces that feel too modern or sterile. I want the words cozy and relaxing to come to mind in my home. To me this means a lot of natural materials and comfy furniture.

PIC 9A lot of people ask why I didn’t just move to an RV when I decided to go Tiny. The answer is always the same, “they don’t feel like home to me!” I don’t get a sense of comfort when I walk into an RV, they feel cold, impersonal and kind of cheap.

In fact, I stayed in one for a month before my Tiny House was delivered…and I hated it. Not because of the space, but because it didn’t really feel like me. It was dark, flimsy, and had limited storage. It was all of the things that didn’t appeal to me from a design standpoint.

The final item that influenced the design of my house was my strong need for organization and limited visual clutter. I have always been OCD to a certain extent, and I wanted to have storage spaces for all of the things I wanted to keep. I am not really a minimalist at heart, but I am an organizing fan (in fact, I had my own professional organizing company for 7 years). So as I started looking at designs, I knew I wanted to use all of the space I had effectively.

PIC 10My design list looked something like this…I want a bright space, with lots of windows. It needs to be well constructed and feel like home. I want lots of storage, a functional kitchen and a loft bedroom. Because I knew what I was looking for, I was able to pick a design that met my requirements for light, comfort, quality and storage. And I am thrilled with the results!

4. What do you consider to be one of your favourite items in your home? What could you never live without?

This was the toughest question. Downsizing requires you to do a lot of self-reflection on the things that are important to you, but it’s hard to limit my “favorite” items to just one.

I will say that one of the first things on my “must-keep” list for my Tiny House were my books. I love to read! When I started thinking about downsizing one of the things that made me most nervous was the idea of getting rid of all of my books. I did end up donating over 200 to a local library near my old house, but I also had a custom bookcase made to hold all of my favorites.

PIC 11I also realized that I wanted technology to be part of my Tiny Life. I use my iPad and Computer daily, in part because I am a technology junkie and partly because they allow me to pursue my new found passion for writing and blogging.

I also couldn’t live without my Monkey…he is my traveling buddy and awesome pal. And as you can see, he is quite fond of our Tiny House Life!

PIC 125. Please share any ideas/stories/pictures that best highlight your home.

The first night I climbed in my bed in my Tiny House, I knew I had made the perfect choice. When I climbed up into my loft and looked out at my new space, I felt like a little kid with a treehouse. It was the best feeling ever!

PIC 12AA lot of people asked me what it’s like living with my dog in my Tiny House, and I can say it’s awesome. I own a two year old Australian Shepherd named Rocket and he has lots of energy! But we take lots of walks in the evening and he is adjusting well.

PIC 13About a month after I moved to the RV park, I noticed that some people named their RV’s. I didn’t want my Tiny House to feel left out, plus I really liked the idea of giving my house some personality, so I decided to go on a quest for a name. I posted my challenge on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and I got tons of great ideas.

I decided on Ma’alahi…which means simplicity in Hawaii. This name resonated with me because it was unique, sounded pretty and because I read my first book about Tiny Houses on a trip to Hawaii. It just seemed like a perfect fit! Now I just have to get a sign for the outside. :-)

PIC 14Lora

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8 pet-friendly hotels in america

American Hotels 5When we took our dogs with us on our road trip to the United States, we were worried that our hotel choices would be unremarkable. It turns out that finding pet-friendly places was incredibly easy, and we were able to stay in some outstanding accommodations. Here is a list of where we slept and what our thoughts were on our lodgings.

American Hotels 21Super 8 Motel – Swift Current, SK, Canada

Our rating : 3/5
Google rating : 3.3/5
Stay again : no

American Hotels 20This was not the greatest start to our trip. Our hotel room was dark, dingy, and smelled terribly like smoke. However, the hotel did have a continental breakfast, was located on the outskirts of town, and was next to several empty fields, which was perfect for walking Holly and Truman. Overall, it looked better on paper than in person.

American Hotels 10Best Western Plus Clocktower Inn – Billings, MT

Our rating : 3.5/5
Google rating : 3.7/5
Stay again : no

American Hotels 22The Clocktower Inn was physically much more appealing than the Super 8 Motel. It had a nice layout, a designated pee area for dogs, and a fantastic bakery just around the corner. The rooms were comfortable with colossal beds and tiny, but nice, bathrooms. In my opinion, this hotel should not be dog-friendly. To begin, it is located on Interstate 90 in the middle of the city. Walking your furry friends is a difficult task. Secondly, they put us on the second floor. With no elevator and a staircase that wasn’t completely closed off, travelling up and down the stairs with a senior, stubby-legged canine was impossible. We therefore had to carry her up and down with every trip. This got annoying considering she is 50 lbs. Additionally, the rooms are quite small in themselves. I would not stay here again with pets, and advise other pet owners to do the same.

American Hotels 15Sleep Inn & Suites – Douglas, WY

Our rating : 4.5/5
Google rating : 4.2/5
Stay again : yes

American Hotels 12This was our first decent hotel so far on our trip. Hallelujah. Situated more on the edge of the city, it is still conveniently near major food chains and gas stations. It is also right next to a residential area and a few small but beautiful parks. Our walks were quiet and enjoyable, and we felt more like residents than tourists. The hotel also offered huge and spacious rooms, and overall was very clean. The added bonus of a gym, pool, and continental breakfast made this one of the best hotels that we stayed in on our vacation. I would certainly choose this chain again.

American Hotels 4The Hotel Denver – Glenwood Springs, CO

Our rating : 5/5
Google rating : 4.7/5
Stay again : yes

American Hotels 17American Hotels 18American Hotels 11Praises aside for our previous hotel, The Hotel Denver is by far the most unique and finest accommodations that Geoffrey and I have ever been lucky enough to stay in. I don’t know what kind of travel gods we rubbed the right way, but for some reason, we were given a corner suite with views of Glenwood Springs and the mountains. It was the most picturesque views of our collective trip. The hotel was just to die for. The furniture alone in the halls were all antique pieces. Our room, with its exposed heating ducts and brick walls, was incredible. It was bigger than our first apartment. It had a seating area, office, walk-in closet, bedroom, wall-mount TV, and massive bathroom. The linens were handmade and exquisite, and the overall feel was that of pure class. We were also overlooking the river, railroad tracks, bridge, and hot springs. The hotel also had the trendiest, two-storey restaurant and brewpub which streamed movies on a brick wall. Although it was in the heart of the downtown area, it was such a pedestrian town that our walks were still enjoyable and equally adventurous. It still baffles me that the hotel was pet-friendly. 

American Hotels 2Best Western Turquoise Inn & Suites – Cortez, CO

Our rating : 2/5
Google rating : 4.1/5
Stay again : no

American Hotels 19How the hell is this rated 4.1/5 on Google? Granted, the rooms were spacious and there was a designated pee area for the dogs. However, I personally couldn’t see past the fact that we had an ant infestation in the bathroom, the linens and towels were incredibly old and worn, and the general feel of the building was that it was in desperate need of an upgrade. Also, they listed that there was a fitness centre. Big lie! How can they get away with that? The fact that again, there was no place to walk our dogs left a sour taste in our mouths. And it wasn’t the pizza that we ordered for supper.

American Hotels 3Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City, A Kimpton Hotel – Salt Lake City, UT

Our rating: 4/5
Google rating : 4.1/5
Stay again : no

American Hotels 1American Hotels 6This hotel was stunning. It is an old building that was tastefully converted to have all the modern-day amenities. There was a gym, a gorgeous (pet-friendly) restaurant, huge lobby, the list goes on. Our room looked like it was suited for a palace, and we really were treated like royalty. It was our first time visiting Salt Lake City, and I wouldn’t have wanted to stay in any other hotel than this one. Yet, would we stay there again? Probably not. The fact that it was right downtown and only had valet parking were two major turnoffs for us, with dogs. Holly and Truman were terrified of the people and the streetcars, and the residents kept giving us glares for even having our dogs next to them and their formal attire. There was no grass in sight, and Holly kept pooping in the most awkward places. One was in front of the Hilton Hotel doors and their guests, and the other was in plain view of the morning news cast. If you are not travelling with dogs, you must stay here when visiting SLC. If you do have them, please think twice!

American Hotels 7Residence Inn – Idaho Falls, ID

Our rating : 3/5
Google rating : 4/5
Stay again : no

American Hotels 9Staying at the Residence Inn with pets makes you feel like you’ve been quarantined to a hospital ward with an infectious disease. The staff makes you use a back entrance rather than the main doors, keeps you away from other guest rooms that are pet-free, and makes you display a sign on your door informing others that you have dogs. It’s effing ridiculous. I even had a deranged mother come up to us with her baby saying, “ooh puppies, puppies,” and when 15 lb Truman growled at her, she turned around in a huff and started getting upset and mad. Normally quiet, I was fed up with the hotel and the guests, and I yelled after her, “oh, calm down!” It didn’t matter that they had a gym, the hotel itself was very well maintained, and included an incredible walking area outside. The treatment that we received alone was enough for me to have negative feelings towards the entire experience. However, if you like that sort of segregation with animals, be their guest!

American Hotels 14Townhouse Inn – Havre, MT

Our rating : 0/5
Google rating : 3.7
Stay again : not in a million years

American Hotels 13What a frightening experience this was. I literally do not know where to begin. Let’s start at the back entrance. This hotel is an extensive maze. Not at all labeled, we had to guess what back door led to our wing. When we tried it, it was locked and our key would not open it. I ended up sneaking in another way, and tried to find the door that Geoffrey and the dogs were waiting at. I was instantly hit with the suffocating smell of the pool, that was located about two feet away from the lobby and with no ventilation, and I felt incredibly dizzy and sick. After a few minutes of wandering around, I finally found our room, and to my surprise, Geoffrey was already waiting there. I still don’t understand how he got in or made it there before me. When we opened the door to our room, it took a few minutes for our eyes to adjust even with the lights on. It was that dark. The carpets were stained so badly with what must have been pee from other animals that it almost looked intentional. The brown recliner from the 1970’s was disgusting, as was our bed. The TV hung so crookedly on the wall that I thought it would come crashing down at any given moment. The bathroom was so disgusting that I didn’t dare have a bath or shower. The sink was incredibly rusted, the toiled was plugged before we had a chance to use it, and the tub had more hair in it than I knew what to do with. Additionally, each time that our neighbours took a shower, it sounded as if they were in our bathroom. Speaking of neighbours, you could hear every word that they were saying and from every direction in the room. Geoffrey swore that the people above us were rearranging the furniture.

Upon checking in, Geoff told me that they had free soup and cookies near the lobby. I said that I would go and grab some soup for the dogs, and he told me to grab him some sweets. I made my way back to the lobby, once again feeling sick from the smell of the pool. I reached the free soup, and went to go pour some in a coffee cup. There were no bowls, of course. One staff member peaked their head through the glass window and said, “it’s probably not ready” as it was bubbling in its pot.

“That’s ok,” I replied, “I’ll just heat it up in our room.” I looked up, and suddenly another staff member appeared, put her hand in the cookies, and began eating them one by one, all the while never taking her eyes off of me. It was the creepiest thing, ever.

The only ATM machine in the building was in the Casino. It was also broken. We ordered pizza and when they came to deliver it they said that they didn’t bring their card reader along, so Geoff and the delivery guy went in search of an ATM. They tried the one in the Casino, which of course didn’t work, so they both had to leave and drive to Pizza Hut just so we could pay them. Because the staff didn’t ask us how we would be paying in the first place, got our order wrong, and were rude when Geoff showed up, for a tip he wrote, “better service.” I think that our crappy hotel stays were making us crotchety!

The next morning, I decided not to risk my life with the continental breakfast. Never one to pass on a free meal, my husband tried it. He said that it was the worse tasting food that he had ever experienced. When a grown family of men got in a fight over the waffle-maker, the chef came out, haggard, and with a cigarette hanging from her mouth. That was when Geoff left, came back to the room, and told me that we were leaving.

It wasn’t over. After speeding away from the hotel, we made one last stop in the town to get gas. I stayed in the vehicle while Geoff filled our vehicle up. I was entertaining myself by watching one worker come out with a cup, dump it near the pump, go back inside, then come out and do it again. He must have done this at least five times. When Geoff returned to the vehicle, he said, “oh my God, did you see what he was doing?” I said that I assumed he was putting salt on the ground, even though there wasn’t really any snow. Geoff said that the gas pump was leaking, and that he was dropping saw dust to soak up the gas. How dangerous! Not only that, but Geoff’s shoes were soaked with gas, and about 20 minutes after leaving the town, he threw them out the window because the fumes were making us sick. I had also asked him to get me a cappuccino from the gas station. He did, but informed me that the machine had run out of water. I took a sip, and nearly puked. It was the sweetest and strongest tasting drink that I had ever tasted. Geoff asked what was wrong and I told him to take a sip. He did, then pulled over, and spit it out. I swear you can’t make this stuff up. Needless to say that we couldn’t wait to leave Havre.

<3

Emory

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photo of the day

Devils Tower

“At night in the part of the West the stars, as I had seen them in Wyoming, were as big as Roman Candles and as lonely as the Prince who’s lost his ancestral home and journeys across the spaces trying to find it again, and knows he never will.”

– Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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  • Hello! My name is Emory. I am a wife, mother of four (three on earth in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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