Category: SIMPLE. INSPIRED. STYLE.

5 Outstanding Things That Arrive With Spring

Depending on which part of the country you are from, the exit of Old Man Winter can signal many different things.  Northern climes are just hoping the last of the dingy white-stuff finally melts away and fingers crossed that there's not "just one more" storm on the way.  California and the rest of the west are coming through the rainy season, but for the most part, their temps don't waiver much below 70 anyway.  Southerners, of which we have been club-members for 15+ years, anxiously await the end of "Snowmageddon" season so we can stop worrying about 1" of snowfall and empty milk coolers at our local Publix.  But take heart, weary Americans, I am here to give you 5 Outstanding Things That Arrive With Spring.  No matter where you call home in these mostly contiguous states, let our list be your roadmap for renewal...a rejuvenation of mind, body, and soul.
Spring flowers blooming through snow into sunlight
Spring crocuses in melting snow
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the spring season for 2018 is officially on the books between Tuesday, March 20 and Thursday, June 21.  That differs from what meteorologists recognize, preferring a more convenient guide, use March 1- May 31 as their metric.  Either way is fine, since most of us pay very little attention to the date itself, only truly believing spring is upon us when the time-change kicks in (all due respect to Punxsutawney Phil).  Any list of 5 Outstanding Things That Arrive With Spring has to start and end with warming temperatures and outdoor activities.
#5- Boating Season and Time at the Lake
Lake Lanier Boat Ride
The girls riding on the front of the boat across the lake.
Having spent most of our lives in the state that looks like a mitten, lakes were were all around Rhonda and I (almost literally) for the better part of 30 years.  Moving to Georgia didn't change that lifelong love of the water.  While most of us either own or know someone who owns a boat, having one is not a requirement to enjoy our "toes in the water and our proverbial in the sand".  Spring brings the itch to get back out, whether fresh water or salty, and spend countless days sharing beverages and soaking in the sun.  Longer days bring the promise of weekends with friends, anchored in a cove or just hanging out at the marina.  Fishing, tubing, or an evening run across the glassy surface of a wake-less, open expanse of water, the experience is unrivaled.  Now, everyone grab a bucket and a sponge and let's go clean the boat...guys...hello...hey...where's everyone going...guys?
#4A- Baseball 
Detroit Tiger Nicholas Castellanos- Spring Training 2018
The first thing you'll notice is that I've already started adding to our list of 5 Outstanding Things That Arrive With Spring.  We now have a 4A and a 4B.  This was not the original intent, however, there's a real struggle here to even get it down under 10, so you'll have to forgive the creative license.  The first of our "4's" on the list is America's Pastime.  I grew up with baseball.  Played it on vacant lots growing up in Detroit, played organized baseball in high-school, and still watch or listen to my beloved Tigers to this day.  Rhonda, on the other hand, hates it.  She thinks it's boring to watch, certainly won't listen (apologies to Ernie Harwell), and has even less of a desire to venture to a ballpark.  No disrespect to the home town Atlanta Braves and their cavalcade of legends (Aaron, Murphy, Chipper).   I'll always be a Gehring,Kaline,and Justin Verlander kind of guy.  The month of March always brings about renewed hope when pitchers and catchers report, no matter how terrible the previous season was, everyone's a contender on opening day.
#4B- Spring Rains Bring Color In Bloom
Flowers Garden Spring
Spring Planting Pays Off with Blooming Color
One of Rhonda's favorite things about spring is planting.  Let's not confuse that with the actual labor required to maintain the flowers once they are in the ground, but the initial rollout of the flower process- that is her wheelhouse.  Of the 5 Outstanding Things That Arrive With Spring, this is firmly at 4B due to the labor piece of the equation.  I like working in the yard as much as my beautiful wife likes watching baseball.  Now the 4A and 4B makes sense, doesn't it?  I am the gardener in our house.  I have zero decision making authority, but I swing a mean mini-shovel.  The rub here is the pollen.  Timing is everything when it comes to planting in the south.  Usually peaking in early April in Georgia, this yellow wave of "dusty paint" covers everything in its path for about 2-weeks.  One is tempted to just stay indoors for the duration.  Barring this, hide your outdoor furniture, pray for rain to wash it away every few days, and get your plantings in the ground prior to the onslaught.  If all goes well, you'll have beautiful blooms everywhere before summer and cuttings will grace every table and shelf inside and out.  Follow the link here to see our full complement of bud vases and containers to hold that freshly cut spring color.
#3- Outdoor Concerts and Festivals
Summer Concerts Outdoors
Outdoor Concert Series at Verizon Amphitheater
Nothing says warm weather and change of seasons like outdoor concerts and weekend festivals. Number 3 in our 5 Outstanding Things That Arrive With Spring, these outdoor gatherings are the quintessential use of Daylight Savings Time.  I don't remember a weekend that, during warm-weather months, we didn't have planned events in and around Atlanta.  This social calendar was built early in our dating relationship with countless concerts at Pine Knob in Detroit, enjoying the warm breezes and 1 or 2 adult beverages.  We've instilled this same love of music outdoors with our girls...Kenny Chesney at Lakewood, Luke Bryan's Farm Tour, and Jason Aldean at Samford Stadium in Athens.  Family, friends, and good music- staples in our world then and now.  Local festivals are also on the radar once spring has found its home...wine tastings, oyster festivals, and county fairs all make the cut for great family time and outdoor fun.  Find an event in your home town and head out with your blanket and chairs- it'll be time well spent.
#2- BBQ and Backyard Entertaining
Garden Party Tabletop
Table Setting For Outdoor Gathering / BBQ
At the end of a long work week, sometimes we just want to kick back and relax at home.  After all, the biggest expense most of us have, is tied to our house, why shouldn't we actually enjoy it from time to time.  The second highest rated of our 5 Outstanding Things That Arrive With Spring is BBQ and Backyard Entertaining.  Our passion has always been to gather at home.  Impromptu dinners for 4 or small weekend barbecues with 15 of our closest family and friends.  Graduations, wedding rehearsals, and ringing in the New Year, all inclusive and worth the effort.  rusted fence was really born out of this entertaining and idea factory that is my immeasurably better-half.  We truly enjoy hanging out with our group and sharing good food and great libations.  We grill, we play corn-hole, we make s'mores around the fire pit...all in the name of family and close friends.  Decorating for our parties is an event in and of itself.  Every table is just right, every candle displayed to perfection for form and function.  Flowers and herbs are everywhere, carefully arranged in containers and vases. Conversation flows like the wine and a good time is had by all.  There truly is no place like home.
#1- Easter
Pastel Eggs Around Flowers in Vase
Small White Flowers In Painted Jar with Easter Eggs
The single greatest of our 5 Outstanding Things That Arrive With Spring is hands-down, Easter!  Let's start with the obvious...from a Christian perspective, the 40-days of Lent and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is pretty high-up on the ladder of what matters in life.  Reflection of one's shortcomings is not uniquely religious, though, and it's observation is rooted deep in history, philosophy, as well as the Bible.  A symbol of Jesus wandering and fasting in the desert until his death (Good Friday)and then rising again 3-days later on Easter Sunday.  This is the time to renew your spirit and reset your personal commitments, clear out the old for the new.  Spring cleaning is a yearly quest intrinsic of this need to reestablish our norm.  It is not always fun, but a good cleaning of our house and home can cleanse the soul at the same time.
Beach House Deck
Sunset Over Gulf of Mexico
Easter is also the first official holiday of Spring and a signal that it's time to take the first break of the year.  SPRING BREAK, specifically and so aptly named. This is a ritual of a completely different nature and one that is taken very seriously in our house as well.  This renewing of spirit also has a long and hallowed history, mostly rooted in warm-weather cities going back some 50 years,  on the sandy beaches of Florida and Alabama.  Sometimes the "yankees" choose Spring Break in the balmy cities of Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, but 55 degrees is still considered winter in the south. Y'all can have it- we'll stick to the Panhandle, thank you very much.  The pursuit of the ocean in our house is a constant and Spring Break is the opening day of our beach season.  Spend some time with your family, get outside this spring, enjoy the weather.
Discover our 5 Outstanding Things That Arrive With Spring and then tell us what your list looks like.  Subscribe to Simple. Inspired. Style. to get updates and join the rusted fence mailing list to be first in the loop for discounts and future promotions!

3 Best Ways to Keep Your Spouse Happy

When it comes to home decor and fashion, I certainly don't pretend to be an expert.  When it comes to relationships and understanding my better-half, I claim to know even less. Somehow, I seem to have mastered the 3 Best Ways to Keep Your Spouse Happy, at least as it relates to home decorating.  The single-most important of these is to just let them win.  I learned early in our 25-year marriage that Rhonda takes color and texture to heart.  I, on the other hand, do not...not even a little.  A survey I read about in the Chicago Tribune found that almost 60 percent of women think "managing different home decor styles" is one of the biggest move-in challenges for couples.  Read it here if you need further convincing, but trust me- they nailed it.  As I jump into my first blog and tackle this seemingly harmless issue at the same time, I'm feeling a tad bit intimidated- but I shall trudge on.
3 Best Ways to Keep Your Spouse Happy
Jim and Rhonda- Date Night
Very rarely do we, and by we I mean the husband half of the marriage, really choose to pick the home decor battle.  My guess is that it ranks somewhere between "Do I look fat in this?" and "My mom's coming to visit...for a month."  Once you get over the 'let them win' piece of this, choking down the rest is fairly easy.  Reason number 2 on our list of 3 best ways to keep your spouse happy is...drumroll please...buy her flowers.  Yep, that's it- buy your significant other flowers.  Not just roses, but bouquets of arrangements. Better yet, buy random flowers and arrange them yourself.  You won't do it right, she'll want to rearrange them, but you will look like a hero for putting in the effort.  Win-Win!  Now, as you get more experienced in the relationship thing, you'll start to see how these floral drop-ins become integral to completing her centerpiece displays. You'll have tulips in bud vases and roses in cylinders, hydrangea will fill your foyer. You don't have to understand the methodology grasshopper, only that there is a deep-seeded desire to make your indoors look like a greenhouse. You'll appreciate the smell if nothing else.
Mini Roses in Boca Lantern
The final task in our 3 best ways to keep your spouse happy is to be the laborer.  That's right, you have to be willing to do the work.  My job is to carry the Rubbermaid containers up from the basement for the seasonal decor change out, then lug them back down, full of past-season treasures.  In case you were uncertain what seasonal means, it can be defined as anytime your significant other wants to add or remove decor.  Move the furniture around, grab a ladder, move the furniture again, change the wall decor (in my house 5-foot metal stars are the bane of my existence), move the furniture one last time...you get the idea.  My wife's job is to be the supervisor, stand back and critique, direct an inch to the right, an inch to the left, take everything down and start over.  It will start to feel like a cover shoot for Garden and Gun Magazine at some point.  This is when you know you are getting close and the work is almost done.  Until next month.
Way #3 3 Best Ways to Keep Your Spouse Happy
Small Metal Trough Twine Balls Sofa Table
As I bring the first rusted fence blog to a close, I probably should mention a 4th way in our 3 Best Ways to Keep Your Spouse Happy.  This one will sneak up on you if you're not careful.  The 4th is to really appreciate what your significant other does.  Very early in my love of Rhonda, I realized she had so many talents, so many redeeming qualities, that I surely didn't deserve her.  One of her greatest gifts is her ability to pull a room together, to bring about a calm, a true "house to home" transformation.  rusted fence is a product of this talent.  It is an evolving vision, changing much like the seasonal decor in your house.  We want to share this process with anyone that wants to join us on the journey to uncover SIMPLE. INSPIRED. STYLE.
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