Sunny Weekend

Last weekend, Justin and I went for a much-needed visit to my parent’s house. Justin has been working extra hard lately and we haven’t seen mom and dad for a couple of weeks so he surprised me with a trip. So on Friday we jumped into the car and headed down to sunny San Diego.

Every time we go to the coast without fail, we talk about retirement. I know its probably too early to discuss this kind of thing, seeing as we have only just started in our careers but it feels great to talk about the amazing things in our future. Especially to dream about the things that we will do together. For example, my plan is to have a little cottage on the coast with a big bay window and a cozy loft bed. Every morning I would like to go out dressed in a thick grey sweater with my puppy, a thermos full of hot delicious coffee, a red plaid blanket and a good book to sit on the beach and watch Justin surf. This is my idea of absolute paradise. 

Going to San Diego will absolutely do in the meantime though. It is always perfect visiting Mom and Dad and this weekend especially because the weather was amazing. The weather everywhere is wonderful right now. Oh man, do I love fall.

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A Flurry, A Frenzy, It’s Fall!

Hello family! This has been the busiest most incredible time of my life these past couple of months. Justin has been working like a busy bee and as it turns out, so have I. I’m not quite ready to reveal everything about my new occupation, but I’ll just say that today is the day I’m working on new business cards.
Time has absolutely flown since we moved in. We have got all our furniture in and are gradually making tweaks to each of the rooms. Right now there is hardly a color to be found in the whole house; just a lot of white and wood and neutrals while we sort out the direction we want this house to take. Mostly, that comes down to art.
Both J and I are newbies to the whole art scene, but I am (right now) of the opinion that art is something to be found, loved, and (eek!) invested in. So we have been searching antique stores and other people’s garages and even some boutiques while we are vacationing but so far we have come up with nothing. Any advice for finding art that you love? This weekend we will be visiting mom and dad and I hope to be able to score a piece (or five) at an estate sale. Since they live in such a beautiful, old area there are usually beautiful and expensive pieces to be found.
So I have been rambling slightly, but the point of this piece is to give you a slightly more comprehensive look at the new house. I know this is what the last post was about and I’m sadly behind the curve (try drastically, pathetically, irreparably) but I want to give you a look at what it was like when we started moving stuff in. Then maybe next time I will update you on the finished product and then from there we can start walking through the updated as they happen (or shortly thereafter, I’m not making any promises).

IMG_1570 First up, I have to apologize for the poor quality of the photos – I must have forgotten the big camera. This room above is our soon-to-be breakfast nook. Or kitchen table area.IMG_1571 Here is the self-explanatory living room.IMG_1572 And here is the kitchen. This is the granite we decided on – that I now love. And up in the left corner is our “bar area”. We had our builder put in a little wine rack and use it to store all our drinking glasses.IMG_1573 Here is the formal dining room with our old table. We (yay!) have since got a new table, which I will reveal shortly.IMG_1574 The view from inside looking to the front door.IMG_1575 A front office full of trash. Not anymore, but at the time I must have weighed moving them and pretending I was organized or not moving them and suffering the side eye. Clearly I chose the right path.IMG_1576 The hallway down to the extra bedrooms.IMG_1577 Extra bedroom #1! This one is for Bianca, and once she starts decorating it will be beautiful. IMG_1578 Extra bathroom.IMG_1579And a view of our arches. Well, this is clearly not a comprehensive study of our new home, but you will see the rest as we go along.

Arched Doorways and Rafter Tails

Well folks, I’m not fooling you. I’m almost 100% moved in by now, but even though I’ve been a terrible blog hostess I don’t want to jump straight into the finish product without a little warming up, if you know what I mean. Justin and I worked pretty hard (ahem, mostly Justin) on the house in order to get it exactly the way we wanted it. Even so, we had some minor slip ups along the way and definitely some majorly dramatic moments on my part. One such moment occurred when I was charged with picking out granite countertops – not my dream countertop material. I wanted to be different, said I, from all the other homebuilding sheep. I yearned for the raised eyebrows that concrete or soapstone might inspire in less worldly folk as they entered my kitchen. But in this, Justin and Bryan were adamant in hammering the practical and cost-effective nature of the granite into my hard head. So finally, hating myself, I agreed to the search for granite. Which of course, I now adore. At the time these pictures were taken the granite had yet to be installed so you will have to imagine it in all its contrary glory.146 127 122 121 120 119

Aaand We’re Back

Hi everyone. First off, I would like to apologize for the lengthy break there. Things have been more than crazy around these parts – after we got back from our Alaska trip we moved out and into grandma’s house. Which was a total blast. The last time I slept in “my” bed there was the night before the wedding! Let me tell you, it felt all kinds of funny to announce bedtime and then have Justin come trotting after me into the bedroom, unassaulted by raised eyebrows or tsk tsking.

Well we are finally moved in! The house is ours and full of stuff, but it’s not quite ready to be photographed yet. For starters, I can’t find my camera. Secondly, I want to show you all the pictures from our beautiful Alaska trip! Because what a thrill. I had heard over and over “oh, Alaska is so beautiful” so I figured I knew what was up. Clearly I had no idea.

007 028Can I say “beginning of the voyage toast”? Our twist on a classic – salt, tequila, orange.
038 043 047 One of the best parts of this trip was our opportunity to get all cozy with our cousins. There are a ton of us around the same age – Ali, Bianca, Justin, Nicky, Timmy and I. Then one baby step down we have Brendan, Jonathan, Dwight and Ben, whom we hung out with but couldn’t participate in our imbibing. Then below that come even more cousins. But for the most part you could not find any of us without the others the entire trip.065In Juneau we got to visit the Alaskan Brewery, where my main man showed off his plaid. Since the actual brewery was a little out of the way, we were some of the only people on the tour. Therefore we got the ultimate experience – an extremely lively tour from an excited  and knowledgable guide followed by an extensive tasting menu. My favorite was the Alaskan Amber, while Justin’s was the Alaskan Freeride APA the sheer hoppiness of which will burn a hole through your shirt if you happen to spill any.066Doesn’t that little gold ring just make the outfit? 069 080We could mostly be found on our top deck. And from gray and mysterious the sky suddenly became bright and the water a brilliant green-blue. With the weather at an unbelievable 75 degrees, we all peeled off our layers and basked in the sunlight. And out came the camera.

086Clearly I cannot claim credit for this beautiful shot. I think this may be the best picture anyone has taken of me ever. My little sister is forever talented and basically just picked up the camera and caught me at the perfect moment. I mean seriously, I’m actually trying most of the time and my shots aren’t half this good!

087 095The men among our family decided amongst themselves that they would seem more authentic in the Alaskan wilderness with a bearlike visage.
099104Emmett and Bianca looking chipper as usual.

106 109 113 115 119126 129 141Family soup a-brewin’.
143 152 154As Alaska is wont to do, it got cold.

164Undaunted by the chilly temperature, we decided to go hiking. And what a hike it was.

180 About halfway up, we thought seriously about turning back. And every 100 feet after that.186But these guys would not allow it. Every time we let out a fresh wail, Bianca and I were reassured that we only had ten minutes left. Like we would fall for that. But by that time we had gone too far to turn back. 198And how glad we were that we made it to the top. Can you believe this view? Once we reached the summit, there was only one more thing to do…203 205 209We leapt! After the initial shock and misery, we felt as if we had conquered the mountain.212 215 221 And then we reenacted the climb.236 240Climbing down was almost worse, if you can believe that. But we finally made it back and had some celebratory beers before staggering back to the boat.

We were extra sad to leave, but I know I probably can’t stay away too long. It was an amazing trip that I can’t quite put into words. Our great big family got to spend quality time together in an exceptionally beautiful place. What could be better than that?

Choices, Choices

So the last time we really talked about the house, we talked about the stain color, so I wanted to tell you which one we picked!

024Did you guess which one? We chose the far left! It’s called Mission Oak, and we loved that it was not too dark and not too red, but had tones of gold to it. It was just warm enough to blend well with our wall color and floors. Which, by the way, we have also picked.

I would do the whole suspense thing, but I have put it off for too long and want to do the reveal photos. So here is the floor.

124Travertine! We had originally planned on getting a wood tile, but we ended up deciding on a real stone instead of an imitation wood. When I say it out loud, it seems like the obvious choice but it took me forever to get to this point. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Picking permanent things is totally not my strong suit. I would rather make trivial decisions all day long. But a couple more of these and I’ll be done!

 

 

Kablooie!

So yesterday Bianca and I were out running errands and were tearing down the street when all of a sudden a car hit us in the side. BOOM! Bianca and I skipped into the oncoming traffic and plowed to a stop over the median. Anyway, both of us are totally fine, we went and got a checkup this morning. But check out the car that ran into us! I mean really.

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Damn, son. Ever since, I’ve been in a totally weird mood. It would seem as if my life is going a little crazy right now. We are going to Alaska in two weeks, we have to be completely moved out of the house two days after we get back, I just lost my job and now totaled my car and I have to live in the houses of family for the next month. It’s really enough to make anyone reflect.

And SOLD

Well the first pretty major step in our moving has been accomplished. We sold the house!!!! I don’t want to get ahead of myself, we are still working with the buyer but it looks like everything is going to be checked out.

So Thursday before last was the day we put it on MLS. I had just been laid off two days prior, which was just one day long enough that I was out of the house when it was being deep cleaned in preparation and two days soon enough that I was around to make the house beautiful with flowers and show the prospectives around the house. So that Thursday afternoon, Justin put the house on MLS at one. Around two, I stopped by his office to bring him a coffee treat. As we were sitting there chatting before he went back to work, he got a call on his cell phone. It was an agent!!! And he wanted to show the house at 3! I leapt to my feet and raced to the nearest grocery store, where I bought sunflowers and white fluffy flowers, then galloped back to the car and got the house ready. I had read somewhere that whatever a person smells upon first entering a house will be the only thing they smell throughout. So I placed my very favorite candle right next to the door. This baby, from Target.

Vanilla Container Candle GRN

So I had just laid everything out, put on Vivaldi, tried on 4 different outfits and tried to make myself look casual at the bar about 5 minutes before they arrived. I couldn’t relax though – it was so exciting to show this house that we have worked so hard on over the past few months.

Just an hour later we had a full price offer! Just like that. The only problem is that we are shooting for a 30 day escrow aaaaand our house won’t be done until September. With a little math, it’s easy to see that Justin and I will be homeless for around a month. Luckily we have plenty of family members who have volunteered to take us in. Our plan for now is to spend one week at my grandmas, Justin’s parents, Justin’s grandparents and James in order to not overstay our welcome. The real pain will be having to move everything into storage and then again into the new house. But it’s a challenge I can’t wait to undertake. At least the moving in part.

I’ll leave you with some nostalgia – here are the pictures of our current house I took to put on MLS.

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I am really going to miss this house. It’s where Justin lived when we first met, where he cooked for me for the first time and where we came back after our wedding and spent the first six months of our married lives together. We love our neighborhood and the people here. Although it’s exciting to move to a new house and start over, we will always miss this house.

Unemployed

Well, I didn’t think I would ever be writing this post on the blog. Almost two weeks ago, I was laid off from my job as an executive assistant. Although it seems like this should be pretty devastating news, I had a couple of things working in my favor. For starters, I let my boss know that I was going to be looking for a new job about a month ago, when my two years in the position were up. Second, as you well know Justin and I are pretty much up to our ears in house business. Third, well this is summer and its pretty hard to be upset about not having to sit in a cube all day long.

The hardest thing about this is finding a way to tell people. No matter the circumstances of leaving your job, its still awkward to let people know what happened. Or not to tell them at all. So after leaving my position, I decided to take full advantage of my newfound summer break and visit my sister, who does not have much time left before she goes back to college. 008 010 013 018 056099 138

We played around, did yoga, had coffee and pretty much just enjoyed hanging out together for almost a week. Then I came home to my husband and started my job search, feeling very much refreshed and renewed. Many updates on the house to come, including the stain color we picked aaand the paint!

Picking a Stain

After much consideration, Justin and I decided to go with a stain in the house. We had previously decided on white walls (exact color of white to be determined) and a dark floor of some kind (type and color also tbd). Also factoring into our decision was the cost; painted cabinets as it turns out cost about three times the price of stained cabinets (whoa nelly). So stained cabinets it was. Plus I love the Spanish look of dark wood and white walls. Plus eventually I would like to add in some blue and white Moroccan tile throughout the house.

023 024Now these may look similar to the untrained eye, but to those of us who have been staring at nothing but nuance for months these seemingly identical cabinets hold infinite variations in color. Can you guess which one we picked?

 

Nooks and Crannies

Well, technically better than nooks and crannies. We have cabinets! It feels like it took forever to get them in but now that they are in place everything is happening pretty quickly.

Next Steps:

  1. Pouring of the concrete
  2. Staining of the cabinets
  3. Laying of the granite
  4. Pouring of the concrete countertops (I think??)
  5. Many more things that I am not yet qualified to name

All in all everything is revving up to record levels and its almost happening too fast to process. Which is why I’m glad I spent so much time thinking about everything in advance.

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That right there is where our driveway is going to go! Technically I am standing on the sidewalk. Which leaves a little circle right behind me for a tiny garden in front of a little patio area.

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Check out this absolutely gorgeous front door! I was just telling the boy that I would never be able to paint a door blue again (my reasoning for painting our current front door blue) and I was right. It would be criminal to touch these doors with paint. So they will be a beautiful stain and seal.

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The fireplace is only a hole in the wall right now but soon it will be surrounded by a large wood mantel above and then maybe a natural stone on the bottom.

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And here is the kitchen! With shaker style cabinetry and an island. Our builder happily fitted us with an extra cabinet on the far left to even out the space around the hood and to add our counter space.

019And the absolutely crowning feature – our wine bar!!! Justin and I can’t wait to stuff it full of wines and store all our wineglasses. I am a very happy girl.