Monday, June 20, 2016

Birthday Bash 2016

This past weekend was Birthday Bash weekend! Anyone who lives in West Michigan and likes country music probably knows what Birthday Bash is, but for everyone else, here's a little explanation: it's a free, two-day, country music concert that is put on by the country radio station (B93) in Grand Rapids each year. The tickets are free, but you pay for parking and all of your food and drink inside the concert. This year was my 8th year going to Birthday Bash and I think it may have been the hottest weekend yet! Temps hit 90 degrees both days and total sunshine.

My mom, aunt, sister, sister's boyfriend, and his friend came this year and we had a great time. I actually didn't take a ton of photos because I didn't have my phone out much. I was just enjoying the weekend and tried not to look at my phone much. But I do have a few to share!

Saturday's Lineup: Brandy Clark, Lanco, Granger Smith/Earl Dibbles Jr, Brothers Osborne, Chris Janson, an d Chris Young

Sunday's Lineup: Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys, Kelsea Ballerini, Cam, Old Dominion, Frankie Ballard, and Cole Swindell

typical breakfast

You can check out my recap of past year's bashes here: 2015, 2014, 2013.

My favorite of the weekend was Chris Young, but there were so many great artists! It was hot, sweaty, and we came home with sun burn, but can't wait to do it all again next year!

Thanks again to B93 for the great concert and to all of the volunteers and staff who made the weekend so much fun for everyone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Peonies & Landscaping

Since we bought our house, I've started getting more interested in flowers/gardening/landscaping. Lucky for me, previous homeowners had left lots of perennials that I've been able to enjoy. I've also added a flower bed to our back yard and added perennials to that. And I always get some annuals to add more color to the yard.

Today, I just wanted to share some photos of the flowers that have already spring blooms. My absolute favorite ones are my peonies. They are so big and pretty and smell SO GOOD.

A few weeks ago we spent a good chunk of our weekend taking out a giant bush/shrub in our back yard. I haven't liked it since day one, and over the past few years it has just gotten so big and out of control that I couldn't stand it any more. So we cut it down and then dug up the was a lot of work but SO worth it. 

Some BEFORE photos:

Looked so much better after it was cut down:

 After the stump was dug out. And then I planted a small forsythia bush that I hope grows and blooms next year!

And a little Before & After:

I really love doing yard work and can't wait to do more projects this summer. Do you enjoy yard work? What are you favorite flowers?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Father's Day Gift Guide

Can you believe Father's Day is this weekend? That came up quick! I'll be at Birthday Bash all weekend, so I actually won't see my Dad on Father's Day, but I did do some shopping and wanted to share some of my Father's Day gift ideas with those of you who still might have some shopping to do. These are ideas that could work for dads, husbands, boyfriends, etc.

Father's Day Gift Guide

Baseball Hat - Kevin wears hats a lot in the summer, so this would be a great idea for him. And of course, it would have to be a Detroit Tigers one.

Golf Balls - Both mine and Kevin's dad love to golf. And so does Kevin. So golf balls area always a good idea, You can never have too many!

Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Kevin always has his phone playing music when he's outside doing yard work or when he's working in the garage. A bluetooth speaker would make so much more sense than using just his phone to play music.

Men's Underwear - I feel like no guy can ever have enough socks, t-shirts, or underwear. And a set from Tommy John with all three is even better!

Cashews - My dad loves cashews, so this is an easy thing to add to any gift for him.

What was on your gift guide for the dad in your life?

*I was contacted by Tommy John to share a Father's Day Gift Guide. I was not compensated in any way. All ideas and opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend (recap)

I know, I know. It's been a while. I'll spare you the "I've been busy" stuff, and just get back on track. I made this long holiday weekend even longer by take an extra 1.5 days off work.

I headed to the casino Thursday night with my Dad. We both ended up winning, which made the night even better. I spent Friday afternoon helping my mom clean out my Grandma's garage and then headed home.

Saturday morning I got up early to headed to the Hope Network One in Five Marathon Relay that I was participating in with some of my co-workers. It was a fun race for a great cause. And we had some really fun jerseys: Team 55 Zebra!

I spent Saturday afternoon doing things around the house. There may have also been a nap in there too.

Sunday was spent doing yard work and cleaning/organizing the garage. And my peonies started opening! I love how pretty these flowers are, and they smell SO good. One of my favorites.

Monday we headed to Muskegon for a Memorial Day parade and cook out with Kevin's family. Overall, it was a great weekend. Looking forward to more fun-filled weekends this summer!

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!