Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

DIY Half Bath Refurbish on a #Budget

Recently, my husband installed beautiful white bead board in our almost 30-year-old home’s half bath. The pristine clean lines of the bead board seemed to emphasize the bathroom’s dated imperfections. The multitude of other needed updates stuck out like a sore thumb.

I’ve wanted to do a bathroom remodel for sometime, but if you are like us, you live on a tight budget and timeline.

So I put my #DIY on a budget thinking cap on— and devised a plan.

When perusing pages of magazines and #Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com ideas, the rooms that always seem to pop out to me are ones with a light and airy space— whitewashed walls with vibrant artwork and unique accent pieces.

Our home already has a beachy feel to it as I was raised on the coast and spent my twenties living the beach life in a popular coastal town in my native North Carolina.

It was only natural I would choose to move our older, traditional style bathroom to a more modern, coastal feel.

I decided in order to make the small bathroom feel lighter and more open I would paint the palm green walls a bright white to match the bead board. We had a nearly full gallon of white paint on hand so it would not cost any additional money for this update. Just a bit of elbow grease.

I was tired of the older dark wood floors and wanted to make them pop. I purchased a can of Rust-Oleum gray chalk paint off #Amazon http://www.amazon.com months before to use on some furniture refurbish projects I had in mind. I felt it would be the perfect color for a #cottage-style update for the flooring as well as the bathroom vanity.

Lastly, I wanted to update the sink, #backsplash and #countertops of the bathroom. I popped into the local #DollarTree http://www.dollartree.com and purchased 12 naturally water absorbent #coastertiles with a #Grecian blue, gray and white design, as well as 2 small containers of spackling, a roll of foam tape, and a set of furniture markers.

It roughly cost me $16 for the total purchase.

The sink faucet had been an eye sore for some time as it tends to trap moldy looking residue constantly. YUCK.

I decided it would need to be replaced to do the bathroom justice and found a pretty, more farm-style faucet by #Parlos for $38.99 on #Amazon.

Steps for Applying Backsplash Tile and Painting Countertops:

1) I mounted the #tilecoasters an inch apart with foam tape on the backsplash- then used spackling to fill in the spaces and gaps.

2) I sponged on black and white acrylic paint. When the paint dried I followed up with randomly spaced markings with the brown furniture markers.

3) Then I repeated the sponge 🧽 method with gray chalk paint— and decided to add a bit more white and a light blue blue acrylic to soften the look.

4) Once dry, I used sand paper to even out the look and feel of the countertop.

5) To finish I brushed on polycryllic sealant to protect and seal the paint. This method gave a #granite look to the #countertop.

I used this same #refurbish idea on my #kitchencounters a few years ago and have been pleased with the outcome.

Steps for Faux Wood Frame on Bathroom Mirror:

1) The bathroom mirror needed an update as well. I wanted to give it a #woodframe appearance. I first taped off the dimensions of the frame space.

2) Then I painted the base with gray chalk paint. Allowed it to dry and again used the brown furniture markers to give it a #woodgrain texture.

3) I wanted the frame to appear as realistic to wood as possible so my husband suggested I use white spackling to give the frame more texture.

4) Once dry, I lightly topped with thin, light strokes of white paint.

5) Lastly, I applied polycryllic sealant to protect the finish.

Honestly, the #fauxwood frame is by far my favorite feature of the bathroom project and I’ve received so many complements on how unique and great it looks!

Steps for Chalk Painting Wooden Floor:

1) First you will want to place painters tape around the floor base molding, toilet base and vanity at floor board. Then use a small paint roller, dip in chalk paint and roll the paint even along each wood board.

2) Once paint dries and you are happy with the color and coating appearance, evenly apply polyurethane either with a brush or paint roller to seal and protect the underlying paint.

#AddAccents to create a #FinishedSpace—

I switched up home decor I already owned to replace the original bathroom pictures and decorations. The above ☝️ photo of wall hangings fit nicely with the new color scheme and cottage feel of the bathroom to create the perfect accents.

Overall I am thrilled with the weekend project that gave our old bathroom a completely new and fresh feel. It was #costeffective and the total cost of the #renovation was under $100!

– Alison Paul Klakowicz

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog

Author of the Award-Winning Children’s Picture Book Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

https://www.amazon.com/Mommys-Big-Red-Monster-Truck/dp/1525530178

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Ghost Tales of North Carolina

North Carolina is filled with ghost stories stemming from the shores of the Graveyard of the Atlantic down to the southern coast in Wilmington, up the Cape Fear River to the Sandhills in Fayetteville, and westward to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I’ve loved hearing these tales my whole life and have a collection of classic North Carolina ghost stories and legends books I cherish.

My love of ghost tales started as a child while listening to old folks, cousins and friends whittle yarns of things that go bump in the night.

I’m not much on horror films and gore, but I love a good old ghost story. So I decided today on Halloween 🎃, I would tell you all a few of my favorite ghost stories.

Listen 👂 Here 👇👻:

https://anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom/episodes/Ghost-Tales-of-North-Carolina-e6abiq

Cool Spring Tavern, Fayetteville, NC known for its ghosts

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.fayobserver.com/news/20191023/8-famously-haunted-spots-around-fayetteville-region%3ftemplate=ampart

Ghost Story Hayride by the Market House, Hay Street, Historic Downtown Fayetteville, NC

Sanford House Ghosts- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pWT9s-mVaIw

Ghosts of Old Wilmington https://www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/about/news-blogs/post/ghosts-of-old-wilmington-one-of-the-most-haunted-cities-in-the-south/

https://visitncsmokies.com/blog/the-legend-of-the-boojum/

-Alison Paul Klakowicz

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

https://www.amazon.com/Mommys-Big-Red-Monster-Truck/dp/1525530178

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Stephanie Starr: Multiple Sclerosis Warrior, Woman of Faith, Mompreneur

Today, I had the honor of interviewing one of my dearest friends in the world, Stephanie Starr.
Stephanie is a superstar whose light shines so bright. She has overcome amazing odds and blossomed during a time of struggle.
She is an amazing mother of two beautiful miracle children, a loving and devoted wife to her husband Adam, a successful and tenacious Mompreneur, a devout woman of faith and encourager, and a Multiple Sclerosis warrior and advocate.
We talked about everything under the sun to include her battle with MS, infertility issues, Christian Faith, postpartum depression, and her recent entrepreneurial pursuits in the CBD industry with a local coastal North Carolina-based company, Green Compass Global.

LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST INTERVIEW HERE: https://anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom/episodes/Stephanie-Starr-MS-Warrior–Woman-of-Faith–Mompreneur-e7tpdh

– Alison Paul Klakowicz

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Blog and Podcast

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

https://www.amazon.com/Mommys-Big-Red-Monster-Truck/dp/1525530178

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Uncategorized

From UNC to World Travel, Hurricanes, Surfing CA, Saving the World— to Marriage

Chapel Hill, NC-

My family and I attended a very special wedding ceremony this past April at the whimsical and enchanting Chapel Hill Carriage House on Jones Ferry Road in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We were ecstatic to support my cousin, Matthew Duarte, (son of my mom’s sister Fran Austin Duarte) as he celebrated his marriage to his lovely bride, Ellie Bolas.

You see back in Fall 2018 the two planned to wed, but Hurricane Florence had other plans for North Carolina (and their special day). The day the two spent a year planning from their California home— dreaming of beautiful memories to be made with dearest friends and family back home in North Carolina— would have to be postponed.

True to the couple’s fifteen year partnership, commitment and independent spirit, the two fled Raleigh out of the hurricane’s path to the North Carolina mountains and eloped— as not to let Florence ruin the special union between these two strong, love-filled souls.

However, they promised their families to return from their home in California in Spring 2019 to celebrate and renew their vows among their loved ones. They held true to their promise and on Saturday, April 13th, 2019, their special day finally arrived like a dream come true.

This is a very happy Ellie being escorted by her brother Jack.

This is Matt escorting his sweet mom and my aunt Fran down the grassy aisle.

Cutest little flower girl!

Joyful couple!

It was a…

lovely day,

lovely day,

lovely day,

LOVELY DAY!

The ceremony was conducted by a dear friend of the couple who knows them in and out. There was meditation, reflection, laughter, memories, poignant handwritten vows— and passionate kisses.

Not to mention, the most gorgeous setting!

PSA- Anyone looking for a wedding or party venue should seriously consider Chapel Hill Carriage House for a multitude of reasons:

https://www.facebook.com/Chapel-Hill-Carriage-House-Farm-Gardens-231260380267235/

1) They have baby goats 🐐!

2) You get to feed the resident Alpacas 🦙😃!

3) Children absolutely LOVE this place: games, grounds to play and run, and lots of charm and whimsy!

So fun!

But let me place my focus back on the special bride and groom.

YES, I am biased because they are family. BUT, their journey is an incredible one and I’d like to brag on them just a bit.

The two began dating fifteen years ago while attending undergraduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill— Matt, a student of Psychology and Ellie, always the over-achiever, a double major in Environmental Studies and Religious Studies. A UNC couple with dreams of the world ahead of them.

Upon graduation, Matt earned a travel scholarship which allowed him the opportunity to travel to Japan 🇯🇵 for a solitary pilgrimage across the country to visit and study Buddhist Temples and Japanese culture.

Ellie studied abroad as well and spent time in Tibet. After graduation she would go on to travel to Turkey and Japan to teach English as a second language.

Following their international journeys the two settled back in the United States and found themselves at home on the West Coast in California where they have blossomed and embraced the state’s natural beauty to include surfing those awesome California waves.

Matt has worked for Student Conservation Association, where he led young adult teams doing service work such as trail building and habitat restoration in wilderness settings. In addition, through REI’s Outdoor School, he has taught outdoor adventure classes.

Currently he teaches First Aid for backcountry enthusiasts with NOLS Wilderness Medicine. He is also a certified yoga instructor and is working toward a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

And if his plate isn’t already full, he carves time out to volunteer at a local prison in California where he is part of a horticultural inmate rehabilitation gardening program.

Ellie, a Graduate Group in Ecology, Master of Science Candidate, at University of California, Davis, is researching two rare carnivores, island spotted skunks and island foxes, that live on the California Channel Islands.

Prior to graduate school she performed research on wildlife living in and around Los Angeles (such as mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes) with the National Park Service, a project she is returning to for her PhD.

Ellie has also worked as an outdoor science educator and currently works with initiatives to increase diversity in science.

https://vanvurenlab.weebly.com/

These two people are amazing.

Amazing!

When asked what the secret is to their incredible journey and relationship, Ellie answered, “I don’t know any secrets to a long lasting relationship, for us, it’s just that we really like being around each other and we like to make each other laugh. Also, we both love being outside, which is part of why we love living in California- there are so many great opportunities to adventure outside and we love it all, from surfing on the coast to hiking in the mountains to wandering in the desert.”

How fortunate the world 🌍 is to have two mindful, intelligent, fun-loving, and holistic souls to share their passion for betterment of the planet and humanity as well as a sincere commitment to each other.

I’m proud to call them family.

Here’s to many more years of happiness, adventure, and travel!

Cheers to y’all, Matt and Ellie!

– Alison Paul Klakowicz

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

https://www.amazon.com/Mommys-Big-Red-Monster-Truck/dp/1525530178

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Blog and Podcast

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Prayers for Grand Bahama Island

On Easter weekend 2018, my husband and I took a much needed vacation to Grand Bahama Island where we stayed in a lovely resort in the port town of Freeport.

The island was recovering from years of abuse from the tropics as well as the island’s damage from Hurricane Irma which wreaked havoc across the Caribbean and left much of the businesses and amenities inoperable months before.

Despite this our spirits were not dampened one bit as the natural beauty of the island was captivating, and the people so lovely and kind.

Lucayan National Park stole our hearts with its white, pristine sandy beaches and aquamarine tide. The natural underground caves were like visions straight out of fairytales. Captivating and breathtaking to say the least…

On Easter Sunday 2018, we attended an Easter service at the resort officiated by a local church whose congregation were so kind and welcoming to us. Their faith and joy was infectious.

After the service we felt compelled to introduce ourselves and we were received with open arms like one of their own.

The pastor told me he would be traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina (two hours from our home) the following month for a mission trip to spread their message of Christian faith and perform outreach in the community. We hugged and instantly established a true and meaningful bond.

My husband and I had found ourselves smack dab in the middle of Paradise with the nicest of God’s people and pondered not returning home… just playing on those lovely shores forever.

It was a nice dream for the moment. But alas, our responsibilities and life back home beckoned.

When weather reports started to roll in a week ago of the development of a Category 5 Hurricane named Dorian which had set its sights on the Abacos, my heart sank.

As a native of Eastern North Carolina who grew up on the Coast, I am no foreigner to hurricanes and tropical weather. Storms have always been a part of my life.

When I was a freshman newspaper reporter—20 years ago — during my first month on the job in September 1999 my native home community in Beaufort County, NC fell victim to the devastating floods from Hurricane Floyd. I spent the next year covering flood victims’ stories and the multitude of relief efforts in my home state.

In my then 23 years of life, I had never been more aware of the travesties hurricanes leave behind than at that time. It was a time of self-growth for me and the realization that nothing in life is permanent. Each day a gift and without community to help one another in time of need, humanity will drown.

It seems storms have occurred more and more over the years and are now annual cringeworthy, commonplace events along the Atlantic.

It was no wonder after spending so much of my life beach-combing and adventuring through the marsh, surviving one storm after another only to witness the beauty of humanity and communities in the aftermath, I would feel at home in the Bahamas.

Grand Bahamians are strong people. I pray now in the days after such devastation has ripped their lives apart they will continue to witness to the world their strength and faith. I know I was blessed to meet them and visit their home.

I am praying for you all and those gorgeous sugary shores to return to glory.

But, I know you will need more than just prayer to rebuild your community and heal.

If you would like to donate to the Bahamian people, please do so here at the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Fund:

https://www.gbdisasterrelief.org/donations/

– Alison Paul Klakowicz

Host and Creator of Hodge Podge Blog and Podcast

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

https://www.amazon.com/Mommys-Big-Red-Monster-Truck/dp/1525530178

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

travel

Off the Beaten Path: The Planking Traveler

Recently, I was invited to collaborate with Emily Adams on her fabulous and informative travel blog, The Planking Traveler.

https://theplankingtraveler.com/

Emily Adams demonstrates her signature plank pose

The theme of the collaboration— 12 Unique Off The Beaten Path Destinations For Your Next Adventure.

My favorite “off the beaten path” destination instantly came to mind— The Inner Banks of the Pamlico River, North Carolina— my native Eastern North Carolina coastal home.

Sunset capture by my mother, Julia Austin Paul, at hers and my father’s home on the Pamlico River

Take a look at the blog post here of the twelve worldwide destinations featured:

https://theplankingtraveler.com/2019/07/27/12-unique-off-the-beaten-path-destinations-for-your-next-adventure/

-Alison Paul Klakowicz

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.

Lifestyle, Writing, Podcasting, Military Life, Inspirtation, North Carolina

Carolina BBQ… Beach Road Pit Stop Heaven

Kenansville, North Carolina-

When traveling through historic Kenansville, North Carolina byway of NC Hwy 24 just off I-40 East make sure to make Carolina BBQ your lunch or dinner destination!

Wonderful Eastern North Carolina style BBQ and Seafood Buffet

My husband and I were recently traveling through on our way to the Crystal Coast of NC, when our tummies started rumbling and we made it our mission to seek out a good ole Eastern NC barbecue spot to quench our soul food Sunday craving.

Well, I can tell you we were thrilled to happen upon this awesome restaurant.

It has all the makings of your grandparents’ Sunday dinner table— pork barbecue, fried chicken, fried shrimp and flounder, chicken and pastries, collards, lima beans, Brunswick stew, sweet tea, banana pudding, hush puppies— you get the drift.

If you are in need of comfort food, this is your spot.

Not to mention, the staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome and satisfied with your visit.

Ample seating in the spacious dining room

This kind fellow, Jimmy (pictured below), went out of his way to greet two unfamiliar faces and make them feel a part of the Carolina BBQ community.

He instantly connected with us and took time to learn of the new folks wandering in on a late Sunday afternoon.

He was congenial, kind and quite the conversationalist— told us stories of days long ago when he served in the US Marine Corps, his retirement from the state of North Carolina as a probation officer and his pride of his wife and daughter who are both doctors.

Southern hospitality at its finest.

Thanks, Jimmy. You made our visit even more of a delight.

If you find yourself near Kenansville, go ahead and set your GPS to direct you straight to the door of Carolina BBQ and Seafood.

Good news… there is a second location of Carolina BBQ in Wilmington, NC too!

You will be living high on the hog if you give this barbecue joint a try.

-Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS

Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck

http://www.alisonpaulklakowicz.com

Podcast: anchor.fm/jalisonpaulyahoocom

Instagram @alisonklak

Twitter @KlakowiczAlison

Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.