Occasionally I’ll take on book recommendations…who am I kidding. Gimme allllll of the book recs, I love to read new books! If you’re following on Instagram (@laceyellehill) you may have seen my post about my new favorite candle company Frostbeard Studios. Well, a reader commented on that post that she loved this book by Emily Carpenter and I hop-skip-jumped over to Amazon to get it! The rest is history.

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls is about 29-year-old Althea Bell, who is fresh out of rehab and still heartbroken over the years-ago death of her mother. She returns to Alabama to reconnect with her estranged father, but is met with family hostility. Her history with drugs and lying have made her unwelcome, even to her brother and his wife. In the midst of this all, her father fills her in on a grim family secret: her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother all died mysteriously at the age of 30, and he is worried that she is next.

Before her mother died, she whispered to Althea “Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her”.

Since the death of her mother, Althea has dealt with her own mental issues, which were fueled by her use of her mother’s leftover bottle of prescription medication that she used to help curb what was deemed to be “schizophrenic tendencies”. Althea set out with her childhood flame to uncover the secret of the Honeysuckle Girl, and the deaths of her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was met with opposition, intrigue, obstacles, secrets and family angst; all of the hallmarks of a great page turning mystery! When the secret of the Honeysuckle Girl was uncovered in the end, I was floored.

The book switches throughout between Althea’s point of view and that of her great-grandmother in the 1930’s and I loved that! To understand our future, we must look to the past; it was a beautifully done dynamic characterization. There is something in this book that just about anyone can relate to, whether it’s mental illness, family secrets, or feeling alienated and different. This was a very satisfying mystery to read!

Have you ever toured a house and loved the physical layout, but hated the fixtures or coloring?

When we bought our house three years ago, I knew that I had to put in some major work to make it a home that I loved. The wall paint was pretty easy, albeit time consuming. I’m honestly such a control freak that I couldn’t give that task to anyone else, so I spent about a solid 2 weeks painting bedrooms, our living room, dining room, and the hallways.

But the KITCHEN. That kitchen was the bane of my existence. I hated everything about it, the yellow cabinets, the orange tile, the awful white appliances. And that dark brick colored paint, I hated most of all. The problem was, I couldn’t find a single color that I thought would at least compliment the other strong earth tones in the kitchen! Did I mention that I loathe earth toned paint? I’m a cool pallet gal all the way. Flash forward to January 2016 (and our tax returns) and we had finally had it. We knew from the start that we wanted to redo the kitchen, and I put together an idea board wayyy back in January 2014. I knew that I wanted white cabinets and counters, dark wood floors, and a grey pallet for the color scheme. We purchased our tile back splash thinking that we would be redoing the kitchen much sooner, and all of the tiles sat in our garage for 2 years while we waited for our opportunity.

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The first thing I did was order our flooring. Since the tile was basically stuck in there for life, it was more cost effective to do an overlay of flooring on top of the tile. We contracted this part out, and chose a luxury vinyl plank tile. It’s more durable than wood floors, because in wet areas the wood always has the potential to swell. Because we had already purchased the back splash, we really had to design everything around them. I wish that I hadn’t done this because I’ve always lusted after white subway tile, and I’ve seen some gorgeous white kitchens lately. White subway tile is super trendy right now, and I keep telling myself that my kitchen is at least a little more unique. I’m still sad about it though!

I think that the hardest part BY FAR was choosing a durable cabinet paint, and then actually painting the cabinets. This took FOR-EV-ER. In reality it was about 2 months, but it really dragged on for us! Between two full time jobs, two kids, and all kinds of life happenings, painting our kitchen cabinets really sucked my soul out of my body. I’ll never do it again. We used General Finishes Milk Paint and Top Coat, and while it’s a bit pricey, the durability is definitely worth it. We have some chips in the paint that we have to touch up, but this is due to child locks that had scrapped the doors for the past 6 months. And because kids. But I would most definitely recommend this paint to anyone looking to paint their cabinets!

We also replaced all of the hardware, the fixtures, and the appliances. Y’all…it was so much work. But I am so happy with how it turned out! I waited for two years to have this kitchen, and I really am proud of all the work we put into it. Gone are the dark walls, the yellow cabinets, the awful flooring. I finally have the airy kitchen I’ve always wanted, and it’s even sweeter that Michael and I did it together. Kidding, we were ready to rip each other’s heads off at the end of the two month process. Like our personalities, our work style definitely is OPPOSITE. Michael is a power-througher with little attention to detail. I am a detail-freak who takes way too long to finish projects because I hone in too much. But now that we’re done I can look back and laugh about it. In the moment I definitely had thoughts of throat-punching him. But hey-that’s normal, right?

 

Am I the only one who cares about the initial “Started Dating” anniversary way more than the anniversary of marriage? Maybe it’s because Michael and I never had a wedding…I know, I know. We were engaged for a year and a half at that point, and a wedding just didn’t seem super necessary at 21 years old. Now that I’m 30, I’m DYING to have a wedding. Maybe one day I’ll plan a wedding and a huge party after, as a vow renewal ceremony.

Anywho, Michael and I celebrated our 13th Anniversary in February by doing…NOTHING. Like, at all. But honestly, that’s okay because we don’t do much of anything to celebrate special days. We’re getting more low key the older we get! (read: couch potatoes) I think we spent the day at work and the evening cooking dinner and watching the ID Discovery Channel until about 9:30 before we passed out. Writing this makes me feel a little sad for us, now that I dwell…but again, I’m good. We talked about the past 13 years and everything that we have been through together that has gotten us to this point. We’re both so grateful for how we are at this point in our lives, and so HAPPY with our relationship! 

We graduated High School together, moved to Florida together, went through college, had babies, started careers, advanced in careers, bought a house, traveled, experienced life and death, had a billion fights and make ups, almost split up 11 thousand times, and experienced everything in between. But we never gave up on each other and that’s why we are at this point. The comfortable silence, happy companionship, parenting team “Badass But Tired”, and just so content. In honor of our 13th anniversary, here are 13 things about my husband that I love.

  1. He doesn’t care what ANYONE thinks. This is what drew me to him that fateful December 2003 when we met. I immediately recognized this trait in him and respected it. He doesn’t feel the need to shout “I don’t care” from the hills so that everyone knows he’s a badass…he just lives his truth everyday. He is the same person with everyone, no matter what.
  2. He has the funniest habits! Like looking up at the sun directly to make himself sneeze (no idea why) or double looping his shoes laces before he ties them. I love quirks!
  3. He never gives up; just keeps moving forward. He spent two years going to radiology tech school, only to find out on the day he was supposed to graduate that the program wasn’t accredited. They took our money and scammed us! Did he pout, get depressed, throw a fit? No. He went that week and enrolled in the Police Academy and never looked back. And was Officer of the Year in 2014 so…
  4. He’s incredibly brave. Five years ago, he suffered a mental breakdown out of the blue. It took him for a spin and really scared the hell out of me. Instead of hiding, he spoke up about what he was going through. He got help, worked through things, and spoke out to the police department. Those of you who have worked a testosterone driven career (no offense to ANY of our amazing female LEOs) know how difficult that can be to swallow pride and be vulnerable. I’ve never respected him more.
  5. The dude LOVES animals. You wouldn’t meet Michael and think that he has a ginormous soft spot for animals, but introduce him to a sweet animal and he’s a pile of baby pink mush.
  6. He is so UN-lazy. My favorite thing to do on the weekends is sleep late and lay in bed catching up on all things LACEY’S PHONE. Michael gets right out of bed and starts cleaning and doing yard work. Never fails! Don’t worry, he likes to relax later in the day when I’m revving up to work myself into a frenzy. We compliment each other’s habits perfectly.
  7. He is the most fun Daddy. While my focus tends to be their health and habits (Did you say thank you? Did you brush your teeth? You better get back here and take these vitamins!) his focus is always “Are they happy?”. That’s the most important thing to him, making sure that our children are happy. While he doesn’t make them eat healthy cereal wit’s filtered milk and take vitamins like I do, he makes sure they get lots of sunshine and play time and know how much they’re loved every single day. Yin to my Yang.
  8. He always supports me. ALWAYS. I tend to be very widely spread in terms of my hobbies, ideas, wants, and ventures. He never objects, never tries to slow my roll. He just supports and is there for me, no questions asked. Whether I’m gone for a week with work travel, starting my blog or Young Living Oils business, cheating on my diet with pizza, or just want to do something wild to my hair, he’s down.
  9. He puts up with me being a brat. Let’s leave it at that! 🙂
  10. He has simple tastes. He loves fishing, Coors Light, Cowboys football, and guns. He knows what he likes and spends time cultivating his hobbies in his own unassuming manner. I love watching him be happy!
  11. He is a great friend, and will do anything for the people he loves.
  12. He isn’t super vocal about his feelings (Neither am I, we are NOT romantic people) but he loves so hard. Anyone who is close to him would never doubt how much he cares for them.
  13. He is the best husband, my absolute best friend, and the most important person in my life. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t go home and just hug him and talk about my day or my thoughts. He makes my life better in so many ways! Have you ever had someone who perfectly makes up for every flaw and fault that you have? My husband does that for me.

Happy Anniversary my love, I’ll love you always.