Big Backyard Plans

0BDCA82A-C544-40A5-8BCF-F73A0B1AFD06We have been enjoying our stock tank pool for weeks now and adding the tiki torches for nighttime pool time was such a good decision. I love the hardscaping of the pea gravel and how easy our watering can system makes keeping the pool clear of dirt and grass. Since all of those projects were successful I have been thinking about some big plans for the backyard.  I want to clear out that whole area of bushes and connect a large pea gravel patio and fire pit to the area. I also want to connect a beautiful flagstone patio to the pool area going out into the yard. I see it all finished in my mind but my husband is a very visual person and usually only likes projects when he can see them finished. I love that he trusts my ideas and just lets me go creatively. This has always been the case with our home decor as well.

This whole area will need to be cleared out to make way for the pea gravel patio and fire pit

I found some really great flagstones at Lowe’s and have calculated the price and plan on doing the flagstone patio out into the yard for around 500 bucks including delivery.

I’m using this picture that I pinned from for inspiration

I want to build a fire pit around a fire ring that matches our stock tank pool and fill the entire area with pea gravel and put these cute Adirondack chairs around it. I love the deep blue color of these. We will eventually purchase the wood version of these chair but these look just as great on a budget.

Here is a picture for a visual aid to see where everything will go. It’s not the greatest drawing since I was using my finger on my phone to draw it. 

I have also been pricing umbrellas and sunshades to use over the pool during the day to provide some shade from the hot sun.


I have found several great options that come in many colors to match your decor.

These are some of the the add ons that I am thinking about to complete my vision of having a backyard oasis to relax in. I start each project that I undertake by planning everything out like this and making a list of everything I will need.

Since this is just the planning stage of things I will keep y’all updated on these projects as I tackle them. If you liked this post and want to see more like it please like this post and subscribe to the blog.


Hardscaping and Lighting our Stock Tank Pool (also fixing a safety issue involving fire ants)

Before the hardscaping and tiki torches
After 🔥🔥🔥

When we made our stock tank pool I had visions of a beautiful flagstone patio underneath it and going out into the yard. I did look into the costs of making that happen and still may do it but I am a fairly impatient person and wanted something inexpensive that I could get done in one day and that would look just as good.

This picture from is the closest picture that I could find to show what I have in mind.

My goal of hardscaping the area wasn’t only aesthetic but also for safety. I had a run in with a fire ant colony when I was getting in and out of the pool the night after we filled the pool and I wanted to make sure the kids didn’t have that happen to them too. I wanted them to be able step straight out of the pool onto light colored rocks that bugs could easily be seen on. After poisoning all the ants with two different kinds of poison I was ready to work.

Dead fire ants he next morning. Yeah!!

Another reason for the idea was to make sure the area didn’t turn into a mud puddle. Since the boys shoot water out of water guns ,and my smallest boy jumps the entire time he is in the pool, there was an awful muddy mess after the first time they got in. The first day I placed storage box lids filled with water beside the pool to clean off little feet before getting into the pool and to step out onto when getting out of the pool but we kept having to dump it out and fill it up again with the hose.


Just a little taste of the chaos of the boys in the pool.

The box lid system worked in a pinch but I wanted something more practical and easy. I sat down that evening and made a list of everything that I would need to achieve my end result. I needed about 10 bags of pea gravel to go around the 8 x 2 pool and a couple more to have enough for a 2 foot amount in front of the pool and needed a border to hold in the gravel to make sure it didn’t get washed away or move.  I wanted to pick up a cheap lighting option and a citronella candle while I was out shopping so I planned on getting some torches. I included four tiki torches,  citronella tiki torch fuel, and a citronella candle in my Walmart grocery order that night to pick up the following morning. I also needed something like planters to put them in that wouldn’t fall over and cause a fire in my bushes.  I decided to weight them down with a project using a mix of concrete mix, paver sand, and river rocks. I wanted to concrete in a holder for the tiki torches so it would be easy to put them in and have them stand up perfectly straight around the pool and we had some 1 1/4 inch pvc pipe that we used for something else that I used to measure and make sure that the tiki torches would fit. I also decided using a watering can to pour water on our feet before getting in the pool would get any grass , mud, or sand off of our feet before getting in would work out better than a dipping system. I started out the project with a trip to Lowe’s and on my trip I bought 12 bags of pea gravel, a long piece of 1 1/4 inch pvc pipe, a bag of Sakrete (quick mix concrete), a bag of paving sand, a big blue watering can, a plastic no dig border (some extra stakes to put in into the ground), and a bag of river rocks. This trip to Lowe’s was about 89 bucks all together. I couldn’t find a planter or flower pot that had a wide enough base that would be right for my project so I also stopped by our Dollar Tree and found four black buckets with rope handles that fit the bill.  I had enough garden plastic already to put down around the pool to pour out the pea gravel on so it didnt mix with the sand under the pool or red clay but if you don’t you will need to purchase some of this as well.

I laid down the plastic as I worked. This is after one roll out of the plastic and about two bags of pea gravel to weigh it down and then I smoothed it almost to the edges. I wanted to put more plastic so I left enough room to overlap the plastic each time.
The other side done


Almost finished putting down the plastic and gravel and the no dig border is in place and staked down in intervals to keep it from moving.
The border in place and filled completely to the edge with pea gravel. Also pictured is the watering can that I purchased from Lowe’s.

Next I wanted to make the stands for the tiki torches.

I started by standing the large piece of pvc pipe in one of my buckets and used a piece of paper to mark the pipe at the height of the bucket. I sawed off the pipe at the mark I measured.
The first piece of sawed off pvc pipe
I made sure that the piece that I sawed was perfectly measured to hit the top of the bucket before cutting any more.

Measure twice, cut once is alway a good rule to follow!

I measured the next three cuts using the first piece that I made and marked it with a pencil
Using duct tape I sealed off the ends of each piece
I used tape on each side of the pipe to tape it down in the middle of each bucket to make sure that they would stand up while I poured in the sand and concrete mix.
I divided the one bag of paver sand that I pirchased equally between the 4 buckets making sure not to get it into the hole of the pipe.
I also divided the Sakrete quick concrete mix equally into the four buckets avoiding the pvc pipe hole and using a mask and safety glasses to protect myself from the dust. I poured water all the way around the bucket once using my watering can and let it sink in.
I poured water quickly around the edges again to get the dust off and further water the concrete into place.
After completing all four buckets and letting them harden. It took about an hour.
After dividing the bag of river rocks equally into the buckets
The tiki torch in the completed stand project.
After I put the stands around the pool and placed the fuel filled tiki torches in them
When unwrapping the torches make sure you get out the snuffer cap before lighting them so you can put the fire out.
Hanging out in my completed pool complete with Tiki torches!!
The citronella candle that I purchased at Walmart
The completed hardscaping and torch stands during the day!
At night!!! 🔥
With 🍷

I absolutely love how this turned out!! It’s perfect for keeping the bugs off and having a relaxing night in and it’s the perfect setting for a romantic date night at home.

Complete List of Items for the two projects:

*12 bags of pea gravel

*A plastic no dig border and extra stakes

*Garden Plastic

*Watering Can

*Citronella candle

*4 tiki torches

*Citronella tiki torch fuel

*1 bag of Sakrete concrete mix

*1 bag of paver sand

*1 bag of river rocks

* 1 1/4 inch thin walled pvc pipe

It took a little over 100 dollars to complete both projects but you can do one at a time if you want a more inexpensive option. I made the torch stands and purchased the torches and fuel for about 40 dollars.

If you liked this post please like it and subscribe to the blog to see more upcoming projects and trips that we take.

If you have any questions about the pool or the hardscaping projects feel free to leave a comment below!

DIY Stock Tank Pool

00991917-1282-466F-82F1-FF8611556B07Y’all this is so exciting! This project has been a game changer!!! I have wanted a stock tank pool for a couple of years now but I haven’t wanted to pull the trigger since we already had a small above ground pool. Last year as summer ended I decided that I would no longer deal with pin holes, dead grass, or setting up and packing away yet another kiddie pool. I started my project by researching  stock tanks prices online.


I originally wanted to get the $259.99 pool since it seemed like a more reasonable amount to spend but when I measured the area we were putting the pool in, I decided that the 8 foot stock tank would be perfect for us and the kids to hang out in and cool down. North Carolina summers get super hot and usually we head to a water park but I wanted something we could get into anytime, that would be permanent, and have relatively easy upkeep.

I went to our local Tractor Supply and there she was: the exact shiny, pretty, 8 foot stock tank that I wanted.  The price tag was $399.99 so I asked at the counter if they would honor the online price of $379.99 and they did!
Word to the wise… if you try to strap down an 8 foot galvanized steel stock tank it will not work and let you safely go down the road.
After trying several different ways of having it put on the truck bed, we decided it may fit in a rental trailer. I paid $14.99 for half of the day, my dad helped me strap it to the trailer, and we brought it home.
The pool on the trailer. We finally got it to the house!


I put the pool where I wanted it to go and used a shovel to make dig marks around the pool to mark where to dig out.
After digging out the original circle I used the tiller to level out the land where it was higher so that the pool would be completely flat and then shoveled out the dirt into a wheel barrow.
I put the pool back and marked again using a bag of play sand to ensure I had a perfect circle and then moved it back again to dig deeper and level the land again.
I laid out gardening cloth (to keep the foundation sand separated from the dirt underneath) and used scissors to cut it the shape of the circle I had made.
It took almost 11 bags of sand to make a 1 inch foundation for the pool to sit on. This is important because the pool will rust and shift if you put it straight on top of mud. We poured out all the bags of sand into piles and used a rake to level it out.
Once the foundation sand seemed level we moved the pool back into place and put a ladder across it with a level on top of that.  We checked front to back and side to side using the level on the ladder.  The pool was almost level the first time we checked but we did have to lift one side and throw more sand under the side that was low.


Perfectly level!!
I bought a Summer Waves Cartridge Filter pump for 80 bucks from Walmart to filter the water and hold chlorine in the filter. Never toss a chlorine tablet straight into the pool it will cause rust. To prevent this either get a pump that holds chlorine or buy a cheap floater.


Using the hole saw to drill the initial hole

To install the pump and make it a “real pool” it needed to have holes drilled to fit the supply and return hoses. If you feel you can’t do this, you don’t have a hole saw, or are scared of messing up your $400 stock tank (it was a real nail biter) you can use pvc piping to put the hoses over top of the pool and call it a day. I decided it would be worth the risk and, after deciding where I wanted my pump to be located, I marked 2 inches from the top for the supply fitting and then moved two feet around the pool to mark two inches from the bottom for the return fitting. You want to make sure it’s that far apart so the pump can circulate the water effectively. After making the initial pilot hole through the mark that you made in the the outside move to the inside of the pool and stick the drill back through the pilot hole you just made. Slowly drill your hole from the inside to just score the wall with the holesaw so it so it doesn’t tear out as you drill through. Then remove the drill and finish cutting the hole from the outside again. Do the same thing for the other hole.

WARNING: After you have your holes drilled you will have metal fillings in your pool that you have to either sweep out or vacuum out. I used our shop vac to completely vaccum out the bottom and sides of the pool. The holes will be extremely sharp so put the fittings on immediately.


I didn’t take a good picture of the pump fittings before I filled up the pool but you can see they just fit on there like a regular pool.

It may have been the 8 foot size of the pool or the fact we tightenened the dickens out of them but the hose fittings sealed perfectly. We didn’t need any putty or anything on ours but if you do have leaking using plumbers putty or caulking to seal it.  You also could use extra washers (if you can get the fitting nut to start and screw on) to avoid the mess of sealant.

Filling up the pool

After tightening everything and making sure it was in the perfect place we threw the garden hose in the pool and turned on the water.Then following the instructions of the pump we primed it and turned it on after it filled up halfway. To chlorinate the pool the correct amount I bought 3 inch chlorine tablets and then used a hammer to split one tablet into two halves.  I put one half of a tablet in the filter.

Pool Floats make it even more awesome!!

The cost breakdown:

Stock Tank $379.99 ($405 with tax)

Summer Waves Above Ground Pool Pump $80

We already had a hole saw set and a cordless drill. If you don’t have access to these you can find them at Lowe’s or any home improvement store.

Some additional costs are a pool net and small pool vacuum to keep it clean. We have had it for a week and love it!!

Right now we are using a storage box to cover the pump when it rains and the storage box lid for it’s base.


I plan on putting down plastic and pea gravel all the way around the pool and paver stones for a walkway.

I also want to build a housing for the pool pump, bench seating around it, and put up a lit pergola over it for shade. It’s going to be such a relaxing spot.

*The pool doesn’t get too hot but if it’s warm at all adding some water cools it off immediately. The kids are always splashing water out of it so that works out well. If you are worried about the edges for little ones split a couple of pool noodles lengthwise and put it over the edges to cushion.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional this is just what we did to make our stock tank pool. This is for informational purposes only. No liability is expressed or implied in the content of this post. Please use safety glass and all personal protective equipment for any tools that you use.

Have fun!!

Travel | Washington, DC Day 1

Last month Hayden and I traveled to Washington, DC on a four day long school trip with his fifth grade class. After 6 hours and a few stops for lunch and stretching our legs, we were in Virginia.

Leaving North Carolina early in the morning

With lots to do and see we started out our sight-seeing right when we got to Virginia with our first official stop The 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 Museum of the Marine Corps.

Riding through Richmond,Virginia almost there
Arrived at the museum excited to start our trip

This tribute to all past and present marines has a lot to see and so plan for at least 2 hours to allow enough time to get through all the exhibits. We experienced what it’s like to be given orders by a drill sergeant, tested our marksmanship, and got to see many amazing pieces of history while we were there.

To have a chance to see everything you need to give yourself at least 2 hours to walk around and take everything in. There are so many things to see and I think everyone needs to see it.


My favorite parts of this museum were the different eras of Marine uniforms and seeing all the weapons that have been used in each war.

Autographed baseball from 1943
Hayden checking out this mannequin


We really enjoyed our trip to the Marine Corps Museum. We learned a lot and It was special to get to show Hayden about the branch of service that his Great Granddaddy belonged to.

While we were looking at the flag of Iwo Jima, a Vietnam Veteran talked to us about his experiences and all about the day the flag was raised.

The flag that was raised in Iwo Jima

Our next stops were The Roosevelt Memorial and  The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The memorials are really beautiful and it was amazing to be able to see them.

The Roosevelt Memorial


The fountains were absolutely beautiful and it was nice to take a moment with Hayden and just watch the water cascade down the rocks together. He is about to be in middle school and I know that he won’t be little sooner rather than later so I’m trying to be in the moment with my now 11 year old.



The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

This is such a substantial monument both in size and in importance. I took a lot of pictures of Hayden and his friends in front of it but I didnt want to invade their privacy posting them here. 




Next we headed down the sidewalks to the waters edge of the Potomac River to see the view of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial.

I took this picture while we were walking down to the water. I was really excited to see the Washington Monument.
This was the first of many angles taken of the Monument. We were freezing and the water was sloshing against the concrete and getting our shoes wet but we’re really excited.
If you turn the other way across the river the Jefferson Memorial is behind you.


One of my many favorite pictures of this trip. He is just in awe of where we are In this shot and so was I.
“Mommy look!”

We ended the day having dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen with friends and then checking in to our hotel. We had a pool so the kids all wanted to get in for 30 minutes. The parents all caved and let them despite being dog tired from our busy day. We decided to go to bed after showering to make sure we were setting ourselves up for a good second day in Washington.

Valentine’s Day Plans for Everybody

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and with all the hype and sales going on I felt the need to post a list of all the fashion picks on my mind lately. Truth: Men aren’t always the best at taking our subtle hints so I find it easier to just show my husband what i’m loving lately on holidays or birthdays. He says that it takes the stress out of trying to buy something that I won’t absolutely love and I get exactly what I wished for. For any guys that want to surprise their lady, however, any of the below items are perfect. All my single girls don’t need to feel left out either because my philisophy is whether or not you have a significant other you can go buy yourself something amazing. You can also take a page out of Tom’s book and Treat Yo Self. TREAT-YO-SELF

{photo cred}

Click on the blue hyperlinks to go shopping for each item at the price point listed!!

  1. Kendra Scott Danielle Earrings $60

->Kendra Scott is or should be on every girl’s list. There are plenty of colors and styles for everyone. My favorite are the Danielle style not because of my name, but because they are so polished and chic and can dress up a casual outfit or make a dressy outfit even more special. Also they looked spectacular with the gowns on The Bachelor. I own the Black and Gold pair of these!

2. Rebecca Minkoff Purses!! {From Left to Right}

Rebecca Minkoff Micro Avery Tote $130  

Mini M.A.C. Crossbody $130

Rebecca Minkoff Avery Crossbody  $104.98 Sale Alert!!!

I am having a love affair with these purses right now. I got the Black Mini M.A.C. {gold hardware} for Christmas and have my eye on these V-Day Blush colored Crossbody purses. The best thing about them is they are great for an everyday purse but also look amazing with dressier outfits.

3. Naked 3 Palette $58 


Any palette by Urban Decay is my jam!! I have been wanting the I have the Naked Palettes and I think #3 is my favorite. Maybe #1….I shouldn’t play favorites. I love them all and this one is perfect for Valentines Day! In my opinion it can make looks appropriate for day or night, casual or dressy. They are so buttery, easy to blend, and creamy these colors need to be in your collection.

4. Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette $36


Another palette that I am obsessed with right now. I am a fan of any palette that boasts both dramatic and neutral colors, both glitzy and matte shadows. I am also a sucker for cute packaging and themes and this has both. Go get this and fix yourself a pb&j…eye look.

5. MAC Lipstick  $17-$30


MAC Lipsticks are my favorite lip products. I bought my first one at 16 {Creme d’ Nude with Prrr Lipglass was my everyday lip} and never found a better and longer wearing formula. My favorite and most worn lately is Velvet Teddy.

5. Alex and Ani Bracelets $28


Alex and Ani anything really. I have their Initial Bracelets and I wear them everyday. I feel like once you buy a few, you need more. I want to add this Love charm bracelet to my stack in honor of V-Day and love in general.

6. Kat Von D Shade+Light Contour Palette


The Shade and Light Palette is currently my go to make-up item. I thiink it’s great for makeup beginners and also more detailed contouring. Blendable,  buttery, and great for a number of skin tones.

7. Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop $38


This is the perfect highlighter to accent your cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and cupid’s bow. It simply glows. I love to mix it with Becca Opal on my brow bone.



A few other ideas for your V-day plans 

-Book a Massage/ Couples Massage

-Make reservations for a nice dinner and a show!! We recently went to Wicked and dressed up and made a big deal out of it and had the best time together.

-Go see a chic flick- There is always a Nicholas Sparks one out for V-day!!


-Deadpool & Pride and Predjudice and Zombies are also out Valentine’s Day Weekend!!

-For those of you who are homebody’s, want to avoid the V-Day crowd/ dreaded restaurant wait times, or just want a low key romantic night with out bells and whistles, take-out from your favorite place and one of these movies is a perfect night for anyone.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s,  The Notebook, When Harry Met Sally are my favorites and Titantic are my favorites. Just in case you wanted to know. Have fun!!

XO, Danielle





MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande/ Philanthropic Retail Therapy

There are few times when a product comes out that I immediately run out and buy it ( or in this case place it in my cart) but this was one of them! I am a huge Ariana Grande, vampy lip, and MAC Cosmetics fan and this lipstick encompasses all of them. MAC describes the new Viva Glam Lipstick in collaboration with Ariana Grande as a deep, dark matte plum color and I agree. The color is matte and not as drying as other matte formulas that I have tried out in the past. I do recommend using a lip liner as the color is very dark and has the potential to bleed. I used MAC lip pencil in the color Night Moth.I have been perusing Instagram to see how it looks on each person that posts under the hashtag #vivaglamarianagrande and others like it and I love the shade it translates to on every skin type. The best thing about purchasing a yearly Viva Glam lipstick is the feel-good knowledge that every cent of the purchase price is donated to The Aids Foundation. Just call it Philanthropic Retail Therapy. Just another reason to run out and buy it {or drag it into a cart ,like I did, from the comfort of your couch in your pj’s}

{I tend to wear dramatic and dark lip colors either with a dramatic eye look or with a blank eye and black winged liner. }

Continue reading “MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande/ Philanthropic Retail Therapy”

Lipstick Collection

I instagrammed a picture of my lipstick collection earlier today and I decided it would be a good blog post. I wanted to show the color as well as the name and I will follow it up with a video on my beauty channel featuring the color swatches of each lipstick and the reason why i like them in the upcoming week.

This is the Instagram picture. I wanted to be able to see all the colors at a glance.
Here is a picture of  all the colors at a glance.
A more detailed shot
A more detailed shot
Name of each Maybelline lipstick
Name of each Maybelline lipstick from left to right (Row 1)  #660 Touch of Spice, #690 Siren in Scarlet, #691 Rich Ruby, #695 Divine Wine, #945 Stormy Sahara  (Row 2) #720 Power Peony, #725 Lilac Flush, #860 Pink Pop, #865 Fuchsia Flash, (Row 3) #870 Shocking Coral, #875 Vivid Rose, #885 Vibrant Mandarin, #905 Brazen Berry, (Row 4) #910 Bare All, #920 Nude Lust, #930 Truffle Tease, #940 Touchable Taupe
Mac and Elizabeth Arden Lipsticks (EA Pretty Pink, EA Fiesta, EA Coral, EA Tempest, MAC Hung Up, MAC Russian Red, (R0w 2) MAC Heroine, MAC Bombshell, MAC Candy Yum-Yum, MAC Velvet Teddy, MAC Punk Couture, MAC Saint Germain.
Mac and Elizabeth Arden Lipsticks (Row 1) EA Pretty Pink, EA Fiesta, EA Coral, EA Tempest, MAC Hung Up, MAC Russian Red, (R0w 2) MAC Heroine, MAC Bombshell, MAC Candy Yum-Yum, MAC Velvet Teddy, MAC Punk Couture, MAC Saint Germain.
These are the lipsticks located on the far left. They are EA Wild Winterberry, EA Fiesta, NYX India, Star Wars Covergirl 550, CG Hop, EA Iced Mocha, CG Classic Red, EA Bronze Lame', EA Amethyst, EA Hot Pink, and EA Beauty
These are the lipsticks located on the far left. They are EA Wild Winterberry, EA Fiesta, NYX India, Star Wars Covergirl 550, CG Hop,
EA Iced Mocha, CG Classic Red, EA Bronze Lame’, EA Amethyst, EA Hot Pink, and EA Beauty

XO, Danielle