For the past week there have been crickets chirping around Thrift Diving, but behind the scenes, it’s been the craziest week ever!
I just got back from a 5-day trip to South Carolina, where the RYOBI headquarters is located. You guys know I partner with RYOBI, right? (Seriously the best people; they’re like family!).
Well, for the past 2 months, I had been in talks with the awesome folks from their Outdoor Tools division to do a big 30-Day Outdoor Overhaul Patio Makeover Challenge this coming July for their RYOBI Landscapes site (which is the sister site of RYOBI Nation).
It started as a simple idea, really: I pitched them the idea of doing an outdoor makeover and then we’d invite readers to participate in the challenge to spruce up their patio or outdoor space, and at the end, winners will win awesome lawn tools for participating. If you’ve done one of my other challenges, you know how those work! But then it morphed into,”Hey, why don’t you fly down here and we’ll make over a patio and film the entire makeover step-by-step so that we can show people how to make over their patio?
You don’t have to ask me twice!
It was a great concept and I couldn’t wait to get to South Carolina to get started on the project!
When I arrived on set, this is what I found:
I knew right away this makeover would be dramatic!
I’ve seen first hand how big of a difference deep cleaning can make! Remember my own patio makeover last season??
Pressure washing is one of the most rewarding things (almost as good as popping a zit! LOL)!
You don’t even notice the grime until you start blasting it away! That’s how dramatic of a difference it is!
I had no doubt that this patio makeover would be dramatic, as well!
The homeowners were friends of the Creative Director (they lived in the same neighborhood, in fact!) and volunteered their home for our project site.
I kept joking that the film crew seriously could have come up with my house to do the makeover! Although I had already done mine, it could still use some help!
The Hardest Project EVER!
You may be thinking this patio makeover was difficult.
Not at all!
When you actually see the steps laid out for you, it’s simple to execute (you just need a few people and a weekend!).
Actually, the hard part was working in the elements.
We had sun visors (probably not the official names) to break up the hard light….
We had reflectors to pull in more light when we needed it, too, so I didn’t look like a racoon with large, black circles.
And yes, you may be wondering why I was wearing long sleeves and pants when it was at least 80-85 degrees. It’s all for safety reasons. You’re supposed to wear long sleeves and pants (and eye protection and gloves) when handling outdoor tools, so of course, we have to follow safety precautions in the videos. But I took it like a champ and rarely complained! (Okay….well….a little… LOL).
Filming in a studio is a breeze: Take 1…..action…..cut!….BAM!….you’ve got your shot.
Be prepared for the shifting light and shadows…the construction next door…the AC unit coming on…the garbage truck coming down the street right when you finally nail your lines, forcing you to redo it juuuust in case the sound was picked up by audio. It was insane! LOL
The moment we’d hear silence from the wood chipper or the lawn being mowed next door, we’d quickly jump into place and the director would yell, “Action!” and hope we got the shot before the noise came back!
And Let’s Talk About Memorizing Lines…
This is something I’ve always done really well, despite having a bad memory. LOL
I memorize my lines…I come to set…and I deliver. And I do it well.
In fact, it’s one of the things that the filming crew for RYOBI have told me time and time again: that they appreciate how professional and prepared I am when I come to set. It makes their job easier!
Thankfully, I was prepared last week!
But it was much harder this time.
We filmed a total of seven videos (videos on pressure washing, creating landscape beds, planting and mulching, etc)!
All of them I had to memorize the scripts. No easy teleprompter to make my job easier! LOL
So the week prior to leaving, I couldn’t focus on anything else other than memorizing my lines and making sure I was 100% comfortable and confident when coming onto set.
The Dramatic Difference
What was amazing is that while we were filming the videos, this was unfolding:
A patio that was badly in need of some TLC suddenly turning into a clean, backyard oasis for this family, which was exciting!
AFTER PRESSURE WASHING
Seeing the entire patio makeover come together made all of the heat, reflectors, and long-sleeves worth it!
Their backyard was becoming pretty and inviting, and I had major “patio envy” while there!
We created landscaping beds, added pretty plants and flowers, and created the easiest, cutest walkway with pea gravel and flagstone.
P.S. Do you follow me on Snapchat? If not, we should become Snapchat friends! I share a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that doesn’t make it on the blog!
By the time the finishing touches were added, I was more than a little inspired to tackle my own landscaping and patio redesign!
My goal now is to recreate this look for my own patio when the 30-Day Outdoor Overhaul Patio Makeover Challenge starts in a couple of weeks! (Hopefully, you’ll join us!).
Let’s have another look at the BEFORE…..an average patio for most homeowners, and wasted space that could be getting a lot of use but isn’t.
It looks absolutely amazing!!
And the best part is that achieving something that looks like this isn’t too difficult! It takes a few tools, but mostly takes time! That’s what we’re hoping to show you in the Patio Makeover video series!
I’ll admit that I’ve always neglected much of my outdoor space because it’s been so hard maintaining the inside, who had time for the outside??
Aside from pressure washing, mowing, and trimming my hedges, I haven’t spent much time making my outdoors pretty.
After taking part in this patio makeover, realizing how a few key things (like deep cleaning, creating and maintaining landscape beds, and general maintenance), I’m looking at my outdoor space in a whole new light!
I’m looking forward to July’s outdoor challenge, and I hope that you’ll join me in the challenge!
FYI…..be on the lookout in the next couple of week! I’ll let you know when the official Patio Makeover Challenge starts! My challenge will run July 1 – July 31st!
I’ve really come to know some of these folks at my RYOBI Family, and while on the shoot, met some new faces that were super cool!
And while filming, I kept having these thoughts like, “OMG, pinch me…Is this really my career now?!”
For those of you who have been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I wasn’t happy before losing my day job in early 2015.
I reflect on how different my life is now, and the amazing opportunities that have come my way since that blessing-in-disguise day when I lost my job.
And I’m happy that I get to share it with people that appreciate and respect what I do! It means a lot.
What Came Next!
The story doesn’t end there.
It gets even better!
So while in South Carolina filming with RYOBI Outdoors, I was also going to be filming with RYOBI Power Tools at the end of that week!
Talk about insane…
The best part, though, it that there were no scripts to memorize. It was strictly fun, relaxed, and hanging out on set while being recorded!
Since filming ended late on Wednesday for our patio makeover videos, I had to rush to get to the next event: drinks and appetizers at the President’s lake house!
Yes, I’m talking about the President of the Power Tools Group under which RYOBI is housed.
He’s the head honcho that runs not just RYOBI Power Tools, but all their sister brands (such as Rigid tools, etc.).
This was big.
I was coming from the Outdoors shoot, running late, sweaty,with a face full of makeup that had horribly started to melt on my face. LOL
I stopped quickly at Walgreen’s and bought some cleaning towelettes instead of stopping by the hotel for a shower and change. I hoped I was presentable enough. I didn’t want to miss the get-together!
The view and sunset were amazing!
It was another one of those “pinch me” moments.
There I was…little ‘ole Serena…sitting on the lakefront patio of one of the most powerful Presidents of a major company, sipping red wine, along with Tom Bury from the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible.…Whitney and Ashley from Shanty 2 Chic (who now have a new show on HGTV called Open Concept… David Sheinkopf, who used to host HGTV’s Design on a Dime…and Brad from Build This, Fix That.
(Can I just mention that Tom is hot, hot, hot??!).
Here’s a little 26-second clip from the get together!
It was amazing being in such a small space with people who have “made it,” are talented, and have star-status. You know what they say, right? Birds of a feather flock together. That you become the people you hang around. Crossing my fingers that old wisdom is true. 😉 LOL.
We were actually all in town to film a few segments of a cool new project that RYOBI is a part of called Toolin’ Around.
DIYers, contractors, fun people are invited on the show, which is hosted by David Sheinkopf, and we just have a good time and talk DIY, tools, and whatever else comes to mind!
The episodes online will be featured soon, so I’ll keep you posted when they’re released. But it was fun being invited on!
And you’ll not want to miss the segment where me, Tom Bury, and Shanty 2 Chic play Pictionary, trying to draw power tools. HA! It was a lot of fun! (FYI: me and Whitney were the losers!).
Another inspiring thing was getting all dolled up!
I don’t get many opportunities for that since I work from home, so it was exciting having my makeup professionally done.
When I returned home, I was exhausted, suffering from heartburn from all the indulging I shouldn’t have done.
But it was a truly amazing week!
I can’t wait to get our 30-Day Outdoor Overhaul Patio Makeover Challenge started, and I’m looking forward to seeing the Toolin’ Around segments go live!
Now that I’m back, it’s time to jump back right into my garage makeover, furniture makeover, tackling my oldest son’s room (I’m making a copper pipe headboard for him!)
What great projects have you been working on while I was away??