hiking, tjmaxx, and backyards

This post is a smorgasboard of all kinds of things. And sorry it's late. Life has been hectic and I'm human. But alas, we shall start with a shopping trip to TJMaxx. Side note... I was never a big TJM fan until my sister forced it upon me. It seems to be a hit or miss thing and in the past, I had always missed. But if you visit often enough, you'll be lucky to find some nice stuff. This trip was superb. I managed to keep my mula in my purse but check out all these pretties that I was tempted by [don't mind the iphone photos]:


I was loving the stool selection and they were only $40. Plus at that price, if you didn't like the color it would be an easy spray paint fix. The white one is my favorite but with two inside and one outside already, I felt like I was pushing it in the stool department. Tehehe. 

These bamboo director chairs were adorable and only $30 each. I loved them but I would probably ruin one of the covers and wouldn't be able to find a replacement. That's how things go for me. Also, Ikea has a lot of cheap chairs for outdoors that are probably more weather-worthy. But if I had a screened-in porch, I'd be all over these bad boys. 


How amazing are these baskets? Obviously, they're more of a decorative kind of thing but I love how modern and fun they are. And that yellow planter? I think I'll be going back for him. He just screams cheer. 

These pillows were really cute too. I love the first one and how it looks painted on. Unfortunately, almost all their pillows have feathers which I'm allergic to. Yes, I could replace the inserts and wash the cover. But I know how lazy I am and they would sit in my office, untouched for months. I'm that bad. 

As for our backyard. A little disclaimer: we haven't touched it. I have a black thumb. In years past we have focused on the inside and have neglected it. We basically rake and leave it at that. On top of that, I'm someone that mosquitoes dine on. It's like an all you can eat buffet and I'm the main feature. And we have mosquitoes. So I usually end up running inside with 12 bites within a few minutes. 

But.... this past year we removed six dead trees. Six!!! Needless to say, it's a lot sunnier out there and I hope that helps. We removed a really thick bush that I felt was a good mosquito home. We have no standing water but learned that leaves can hold water so we have been bagging any remnants of fall that we can find. We will also be removing the stack of wood behind the shed for several reasons, mosquito and snake possibilities included. With the new sunlight, I'm probably more hopeful than I've ever been before. Here's to growing grass! 

Here is what we're working with. Don't judge. 

Oy the deck. It started off a very red color that I didn't care for. I stained the bottom but it needs it again and it needs to be sealed this time. Shame on me! I need to work on the railings as well. Not looking forward to that by any means! 

This brick pathway has potential and I don't necessarily mind the moss but it's got a bit more than moss and is being taken over. You can see the steps here are the perfect example of the red tones. We had the same in the front and nixed those last year. 

This is what we are working with. It's a lot of space for someone like me with no gardening skills. Everyone always asks if that's our shed [the cute brown one in the back on the left]. I frown, and point them in the direction of that big red thing. I don't like it, but it's storage. I plan on making it over but haven't really come up with a solution. Possibly a dark stain like the deck.

The back of the house is pretty barren and doesn't have much windows. The lights are old brass ones. It's pretty depressing. There's a lot of work to be done. In the back there's stone instead of mulch. I'm not a huge fan of the color but... it's stone. So beggars shall not whine. The crawl space door looks uber ghetto. To say I need a makeover is an understatement. 

To top it off, our neighbors have an impeccably manicured lawn. It could be in a magazine. Their shed has a light, window, and window box. There's an upper and lower deck. Bird houses and feeders everywhere. A bottle tree. These guys don't fool around and I'm always slightly embarrassed when we run into them. They obviously don't struggle with plants and here I am trying to grow grass. 

This is a perfect example of what I'm working with. Moss, a few tufts of grass, acorns and leftover leaves galore. Okay. I feel like I'm starting to lose all that hope I talked about earlier! Moving on!

Sunday was amazing. We started it off by visiting my friend's new house. Nothing like that to take you back. Back to the time when you haven't even unpacked, you're trying to paint and clean everything, and the house doesn't smell "like you." How exciting!

Katie, Bob, Oscar, and I [along with Charlie] went out for a quick lunch and then went on to hike. It was Charlie's first hike and he did really well. He wasn't a fan of the bridges at first but he got over it.

I know I'm partial but I think he's just adorable. I don't have kids so I suppose this is my little outlet. My dog mama outlet. Indulge me. 

He also found his first ever creek. He even got in a bit and we were amazed. He hates baths and was never fond of the puppy pool we got him last summer.

So what's the next logical step? Throwing him in of course. Note: not my idea. His favorite chucked him into the water. He swam, rather violently, and did not seem too pleased. Maybe because this sealed the deal on a later bath...

After that, we got ice cream back in town and charlie had a pup cup. Classic! Then we trucked it over to a new-to-us puppy park. This was amazing. We don't have a fenced in yard so it was so great to see him running free. What's better is that he doesn't get to see other dogs much so this was a great chance to socialize him. I was nervous but he did really well. He was a bit of a rough player but luckily, Oreo, his new friend was okay with it. We will have to visit again. 

So that's our weekend in a nutshell. I found a tick on my neck later [heebie jeebies!!!]. Can you believe they're already out?? And I have a rash on both of my arms. I'm thinking it was from holding Charlie after the creek incident. So far it hasn't spread so yay for that?! Hope you had a relaxing weekend without rashes... we will be recovering today! 

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