Sunday, April 10, 2016

New Name & New Look!

Things look a little different around here, huh? After a few years of blogging, I decided it was time for a change! I started this blog about four years ago when we were planning our wedding and house hunting (we were nuts for doing those two things at the same time). It was a great way to document both of those things and I never stopped blogging after we got married. I like being able to keep family and friends, both near and far, updated on our life and I've also fallen in love with the blogging community altogether.

I haven't blogged nearly as often over the past year, but I plan to get back in to a regular blogging routine. I thought revamping the blog's look and name to something more fitting would be a great way to start. I purchased this template from DesignerBlogs on Etsy. It came with great instructions and installation was pretty easy. I made some small changes to the template and still have some things I'm playing with to make it just right, but I'm super happy with the way it turned out!

Along with a new look, I wanted a new name for this blog. I wanted something more personal to me and what this blog is about. "This Crazy Thing Called Life" was definitely fitting, but generic. You might be thinking well, "It's A Long Story" is pretty generic too. BUT for those of you that don't know, my last name is Long. So the title is all about my story. Or I should say OUR story. It's a LONG Story....get it?  :)

I'm so excited about this fresh start for the blog! Thank you to my readers and fellow bloggers, for making this blogging thing something I have fallen in love with. <3

- Ericka

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Basement Makeover Part 1 (Before & Progress)

When we bought our house almost four years ago, I knew I wanted to do something with the basement, because I HATED the wood paneling down there. After I got back from my Louisiana trip, I decided to finally do something about it. So I started painting! I thought I'd get this whole thing done in a few days, but I severely under estimated the work that it was going to take. Here's a reminder of what the basement looked like when we first bought it:

stairs that lead to the basement
one end...
the other end...and super blurry--sorry!

It's basically one giant room, which is great, I love the amount of space down there. But the wood paneling, drop ceiling, and florescent lights were just too outdated for me. We moved our stuff in and basically created two areas: a game area with the Ping Pong table, and a seating area with the TV. These photos are a couple years old, but it basically looked the same because I never put any effort in to this space.

If I had an unlimited budget, I would have ripped out the paneling, drop ceiling, and lights and replaced with drywall and canned lights. But that wasn't in the budget. So paint it was! I did some research about painting paneling, and decided to jump in. I started by priming EVERYTHING. It took so long, because you have to get in every single groove. But I finally got it all primed, which made a huge difference:

don't mind all the junk piled in the middle of the room,,,,

Just priming over the wood paneling made the room seem so much bigger and brighter! Getting everything primed took me 2-3 weekends of work. Then it was time to paint. I went with light gray paint and white for the trim. I'll do a full blog post soon with pics of the space completely painted, but here's a little preview of what the paint looks like:

Have you ever painted paneling before? Any tips or tricks to share?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Weekend Recap

This weekend was pretty low key for us. One reason being that I'll have to work most of next weekend, so I wanted to soak up some time at home this weekend. The other reason being that it decided to snow like crazy most of Saturday. But then the sun came out on Sunday and melted most of the snow, so at least it's gone now.

I did venture out to a couple of fun stores on Saturday and I picked up this super cute clock for our living room from Painted Farmgirl:

I'm in love with this clock. I've wanted a clock for that wall since we moved in, but never found the right one. So I made a starburst mirror, which I really liked. But then it cracked somehow. It never fell or anything, just a got a crack in the middle of the mirror. So weird. So when I saw this clock, I knew I had to bring it home with me.

Saturday night was spent watching basketball at home with Kevin and Admiral. And it was great.

Sunday was full of the usual: grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and making dinner. I know this week is going to be a crazy one (work is going to be BUSY), but I'm hoping that this relaxing weekend helps be ready for the madness ahead!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Chalk School

On Saturday I had some family and friends over for Chalk School! I heard about Chalk School classes that were being offered at a local store and thought it sounded like fun. When I looked up info on the classes, I found out that I could host Chalk School at my house, rather than just attend a class somewhere. I immediately contacted Amber from I Do Signs, who teaches Chalk School, and got signed up to host!

Amber was so great to work with from getting the class scheduled, staying on top of registrations, and then the actual class/party itself was so fun! Amber was professional, yet down to earth and had some GREAT tips and tricks that she shared with us. If you live in the West Michigan area, you definitely need to go to one of Amber's Chalk School classes or host one of your own! If you're not in Michigan, still go to Amber's website (HERE) and check out her amazing chalk board creations.

So, in case you didn't gather from the title, Chalk School teaches you how to make those super cute chalk board signs that you've probably seen on other blogs, instagram, pinterest, etc. I was a little skeptical because I am not very creative or artistic, but Amber was a great teacher and all of our signs turned out super cute!

I would go to another one of Amber's Chalk School classes again in a heartbeat! I talked to most of my family and friends after the party and they all agreed that they had a great time. It's such a fun way to have a girl's night (or afternoon in my case) and create a fun piece of decor at the same time.

Thanks again Amber for all of the great information and for teaching us all of your tips and tricks!

Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY I have going on right now for a custom house portrait! Just go HERE to enter!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Custom House Portrait - Giveaway!

For a while now, I've wanted some type of drawing of our house that I could frame and hang up. Since this is our first house, I thought it would be a fun way to remember it and bring it with us if we ever move. A couple of weeks ago, I randomly saw a house drawing that Kim had done on Instagram and I fell in love! I immediately went to her Etsy shop, GallaDoodle, and contacted her about doing a custom house drawing for me. Kim was quick to respond and super helpful. I purchased a custom drawing listing from her shop, sent her a photo of our house, and she knocked it out of the park! I LOVE the way this turned out and can't wait to print it and hang it up.
Just for reference, here's the photo of our house that I sent Kim:

Didn't she do an amazing job?? I reached out to Kim and asked if she'd be interested in doing a giveaway for custom house portrait on my blog, and she was kind enough to say yes! You can enter using the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

If you don't want to wait to see if you win, be sure to check out Kim's Etsy shop and buy one for yourself! They would also make a great housewarming gift :)

You can also follow Kim on Ingstagram, where she posts pics of the fun drawings she does, and read more about her adorable little girl and fun projects on her blog, Galla Baby.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekend Recap

What a productive weekend it was for me! I took Friday off from work and ran several errands, got a hair cut, and did some more painting in our basement (you can see progress on Instagram--full post on this coming soon). I headed to my parents Friday night because I was running a race in that area on Saturday morning.

My sister and I met up on Saturday morning and headed to run the Shamrock Shuffle 5k in Muskegon. The weather was great, especially for March in Michigan! I ended with a new PR so I was super happy (my time was 29:15). I headed back home after the race and spent about four hours doing yard work with Kevin. I had plans to do more painting, but had to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. We got a lot accomplished in the yard, so it was totally worth it.

Sunday was spent catching up on things around the house...laundry, dishes, cleaning, all that good stuff. And more painting in the basement. I swear it's a never ending job!

I love weekends that are full and productive. Happy Monday!

P.S. Look for a fun giveaway coming this week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Happy 5th Birthday Admiral!

I can't believe it, but Admiral turns 5 today! Well I guess he's actually 35...but 5 to us :) The past 5 years have gone by so fast. Since 5 is kind of a milestone (or just an excuse for me to do something special), I ordered a super cute pupcake from Dogwood Barkery for Admiral to enjoy. They did such a cute job and even decorated the box for him!

He's also been spoiled with a new football, tennis balls, t-shirt, and treats. Happy Birthday to our fur baby!