Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, friends!  I hope you enjoy (and have been enjoying) the most wonderful time of the year.  

Source: akadesign.ca via Emily on Pinterest

I also want to say thanks for bearing with me the last few months with my sporadic, at best, blogging.  Getting settled in a new house and working crazy hours has really put a dent in blogging and keeping up with what you guys have been up to.  And I have to say, I've really missed it.  I expect things to slow down after the start of the New Year, and I can't wait to share with you some rooms around the house.

In the meantime, I will be signing off to spend time with friends and family, stroll through the neighborhood to enjoy the lights one last time, watch Love Actually and Elf, get in some last minute billable hours before the end of the year, and take some time to reflect how truly blessed I am.

Have a wonderful Christmas!      

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

5 things . . .

I know it's been too long, but I have to pop in to share 5 things about Justin in honor of his birthday today.  I can't have a blog and not even mention my husband's birthday!

(1)  He puts up with all of my shenanigans.  He listens to me talk about work, he approves leopard carpet for my closet and an ostrich in the entry way, he pretends to care when I show him pins on pinterest, he looks at the million craigslist links I send him, and even pays attention when I talk about design.  He used the word ikat the other day (and he even pronounced it correctly too).  Impressive.    

(2)  He can hang a chandelier like it's no one's business.  It must be all the practice I've given him over the years.  But regardless, he's good.  (And this year, he's proven his mad skills at hanging Christmas lights at our new house.)     

(3)  He works hard and is great at what he does (even if he is an IT nerd).  I'm proud of what a hard worker he is and how good of a job he does for his company.  And it's always an added bonus that he can fix my computer problems!      

(4)  He cracks me up. all.the.time.  There is not a day that goes by that he doesn't make me laugh.     

(5)  He's the kindest and most patient person I know.  Which is good, since frankly, I am generally neither.  Obviously, I love my husband.  But I also like him a lot too.  And respect and admire him. 

He deserves to be celebrated every day, but especially today.  Happy birthday, Justin!  I love you. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Amen, Nordstrom.

CNN was on in the background as I got ready for work the other morning (as it is every day), and I heard a story that resonated with me.  Nordstrom doesn't put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving so they can celebrate one holiday at a time.

I've got to say, I'm totally in favor of that mentality.  I purposefully avoided the Christmas aisles at Target last weekend because I just wasn't ready for it quite yet.  It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I'm always behind on holiday decorating/planning anyway, and the thought of planning for Christmas before Thanksgiving stresses me out.  But I am also a proponent of taking the time to be thankful during Thanksgiving and enjoying that holiday before focusing on Christmas.  Even after turkey-day is over, we still have a month to get in the Christmas-spirit (which I love too)!     


Evidently, this isn't anything new for Nordstrom.  I guess I've just never paid attention before.

So what do you think?  Do you agree with Nordstrom or do you think Christmas can never come too early?  This may be a dangerous crowd to ask -- I always feel like bloggers on totally on the ball when it comes to the holidays!  But I want to know anyway.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day.

I know Veterans Day isn't an overly popular blog holiday, but I couldn't let it pass without thanking all of the men and women who serve our country.

I am especially thankful for my amazing badass Marine brother-in-law, Jason.  He enlisted in 2001 and served in Iraq in 2003.  He's been a drill instructor and is currently in The Basic School for newly-commissioned officers.  I am one proud sister-in-law!  This picture is from Jason's commissioning as a Second Lieutenant earlier this year.  Aren't Justin and Jason handsome?            

Thank you to all of our service people for such dedicated and loyal service. 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

5 things . . .

5 totally random things . . .

(1)  I am loving the new Taylor Swift album.  That's right -- I'm 30 years old, and I like Taylor Swift. 

(2)  I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new when I say foxes are all the rage these days.  This shirt from anthro is pretty darn sweet.


(3)  I was in Scottsdale last week for work.  The chapstick provided by the Phoenician is amazing.  I am a bit of a snob when it comes to chapstick, so didn't have high hopes.  But I was wrong.  That stuff is legit.

The hotel wasn't so bad either . . .

Pool Aerial

(4)  Have you ever heard of the term "bun feet" before?  I had not either until today.  I chuckle whenever I say it though.  "Bun feet" are just a type of furniture legs for cabinets. 


Why do I care about them?  Because when we moved most of our furniture into storage back in February, the movers removed these legs/bun feet from our china cabinet.  Since the cabinet was in storage for the last 8 months, we never thought twice about it.  Now that we need to unpack our china, the stupid bun feet are no where to be found!  They are probably rolling around the back of a moving truck somewhere.  I need to find something that looks close to replace them and stain them to match.   

(5)  Since it's election day, if I may (and I may, since it's my blog), I will leave you with the following quote from John Wesley in 1774:

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them: (1) To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy; (2) To speak no evil of the person they voted against; and (3) To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side."  

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Little Preview.

It will definitely be a while before each room is in shape to share in a wide view because we are still unpacking and getting things set up.  But I didn't want to keep you hanging that long.  In the meantime, check out some little sneak peeks around the house.  In case you need a reminder on what we started with, check out this video for a home tour before the renovation.   

Is it wrong that I've been sticking my head in the powder room everyday just to admire the pretty bird wallpaper?  I didn't think so.  I'm also a fan of the new faucet as well.     

In this picture, you can see the refinished hardwoods and the new laundry room tile.  

Check out the new paint color and orb chandy in the entry way.  I love the shadows it casts on the wall.  (I had to close my eyes when our contractor was teetering on a super tall ladder to hang that thing.)

We restained the banister to match the new darker hardwoods and replaced the medallion carpet with something a little more normal/neutral.  I love the gray, dark brown, and white together.  

The butler's pantry (sans cabinet hardware).  I am in love with the counters and the mirror backsplash. 

One of the master bath sinks.   

And my closet.  Oh yes, I did put leopard carpet in there. 

We're working hard to get things in order over here so I can do some "real" before and afters.  Hope these little bits can hold you over.

Monday, October 15, 2012

At Home. At Last.

I promise to be back with a recap of everything that's been going on (well, except for the 70+ hour work-week part of things), but I couldn't wait to share that, as of this weekend, we are officially in our new house.  I took a minute on Sunday morning to take it all in while enjoying my first cup of coffee in our new home.

Hope y'all had a wonderful weekend too.  

Friday, August 31, 2012

House Updates. Again.

It seems as if I've recently turned into a one-trick pony . . . only posting house updates.  Well for better or worse, the renovation has pretty much been consuming a good portion all of our time.  We are getting very close -- hopefully another 2-3 weeks and it will be done!  Then adios apartment, hello home!  I. cannot. wait. 

This may be the last set of progress pictures I share so the final result will be a big surprise.  You know, it's how they do it on all of those renovation shows.

Here's the latest in the bathroom -- the herringbone marble floors (pre-grout).  This iphone picture does not do them justice (and most of the floor is shadowed), but take my word for it, it looks 10 times better in person.  Justin said the other night he just wanted to hang out in there because the tile was so cool.  Very cool, indeed.  

And our new shower is coming along.  I love the shiny white subway tiles (also pre-grout).   

We stopped by the house the other night and the floor guy had been there to put some stain samples on the floor so we could see what we liked.  This iphone picture is terrible because it's blurry and it was nighttime so it was hard to capture the true colors.  But regardless of that disclaimer, any guesses on which one we chose?  I should be a tease and make you wait, but I won't.  We are going with the one in the top right corner.  It was a toss up between that one and the middle on the bottom row.  In the end, the top right one won out.     

More kitchen updates.  It just got a fresh new coat of white paint.  All it needs now is some new hardware, appliances, and countertops.     

And I've saved the best for last.  This is one of our slabs of danby marble for the kitchen.  We are actually headed out this morning to our fabricator's to go see where all of the cuts will be made to ensure we like the direction of the veining, etc.  I'm pumped to see them again.  And then the next time we see them, they will be installed in our kitchen.  I've got several stories to share about us getting these slabs.  But that's for another time. 

And that concludes the latest round of the renovation highlights.  What do you guys think so far?  Anything exciting happening in your neck of the woods.  Do y'all have any fun holiday weekend plans? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

More House Updates.

It should come as no surprise that we are still in the middle of our renovation.  It's been fun (and stressful at times), but more than anything, I am so ready to move in the house already! Here's a little update:

Remember the kitchen before?  Here she is in all of her green granite glory.  

And here she is now.  Bye bye granite and wrap-around, two-tiered counter and tiny island.  Hello new peninsula and bigger island (which you can't really tell from this angle).  The room feels tons bigger already.

Riley and Zoey came over with us one evening to check on the progress.  There is far too much for them to get into, so we used the old tub filler on the removed bathtub (and yes, it's sitting in our bedroom) to corral them while we scoped out the bathroom.  They didn't seem impressed.  For those eagle eyes out there, you can see our new hardware on the door. 

And last but certainly not least, I have finally decided on a wallpaper for our powder room.  I went back and forth for months on what I wanted, but in the end, I couldn't deny the beauty of this "hummingbird" wallpaper.  It has so many beautiful colors, and frankly, it's just pretty.  And who doesn't like pretty things?     


The tiling in our bathroom should start this week.  I can't wait to see it go up!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Master Bath Plan.

Since the last pictures I showed of our bathroom weren't very pretty, I thought I would share the direction we are headed with the master bathroom.  

Faucets: Newport Brass Fairfield Collection
Countertops: Carrara
Hardware:  Restoration Hardware Grafton Pulls
Sconces:  Byrant Sconce
Mirrors:  Reflection Mirror (we may not get these exact mirrors, but something similar) 

If all goes as planned, I should have pictures of some of the tiling this week!    


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


What I've been up to lately . . . renovations!  In case you want to see how it looked before, check out the video tour.

I was not sad to see the ugly green tile go in the bathroom. 

I don't miss the hideous lighting either. 

Or the brass-framed shower door.

Or the cultured marble walls in the shower.  (Yes, they removed the toilet and it is sitting in the shower for now.)

And the kitchen already feels much more open after removing the bar-height wrap around counter.


While things may not be looking pretty yet, I am thrilled with the progress so far.  And can't wait to see things looking fabulous and just the way we want them.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

House Tour.

Without further ado, here's a tour of our new house!

A couple of things to note:
  • My video skills clearly need some work.
  • I was really afraid of the video being super long, so I kind of breezed through some rooms.  Sorry about that!  Obviously, if you have any questions about the space, feel free to ask.
  • At about the 25 and 35 second mark, when I refer to "Walter," I'm referring to the massive ostrich print previously mentioned here.  That's just what we call him now, so it didn't occur to me until I watched the video that me referring to a Walter could be a little weird/confusing.
  • At about the 50 second mark, I guess I am very excited about the powder room.  Why do I say "powder room" like that?  I have no idea.
  • Around the 1:30 mark, look for our new cabinet hardware on two of the upper cabinets in the kitchen.  We love them (anything is better than the current pulls)!
  • About the 2:30 mark when we head outside, note that the grill is not staying, and the hose is in the fountain because Justin was siphoning out all of the rain water.
Hope you enjoyed it!  I can't wait to do a similar post with tour after the renovations are all done! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tub Talk.

I had high hopes of posting the video tour of our new place, but being the You Tube novice that I am, I had no idea it would take so long to upload my video.  I'll post the video tour later this week (unless I decide by then that listening to me talk for nearly 7 minutes as I cruise around a house is not entertaining for anyone).  So instead, let's talk about bath tubs. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, there are a so many freaking decisions to make when you renovate.  This weekend, we spent a substantial portion considering various bath tub options.  In doing some research, I came across this fabulous post by Holly at Things That Inspire.  It basically sums up our dilemma.

I mean, you can't really deny the beauty of a free standing bathtub.

Source: decorpad.com via Emily on Pinterest

We've talked with our contractor and a freestanding tub is going to be substantially more expensive to install since you have to rerun the plumbing and change the drain.  Neither of which are easy (read: cheap) to do on a slab foundation.  And maybe in an attempt to rationalize keeping the budget in check, I've realized that, with a freestanding tub, there are two potential downsides:  (1) there is no place to set my book, magazines, and/or wine; (2) the Inspector-Gadget-arm-reach needed to turn on the faucet.  The width of our tub is 42 inches -- that's a long reach across to turn on the water -- or maybe I just have t-rex arms.  Either way, I would probably have to stand in the tub just to reach the faucet.  See what I mean?

So now our search has been focused more on drop in (and possibly under-mount) bath tubs.  Even though we had jets in our last tub, I hardly ever used them.  So this time around, we are just going for a deep soaker tub without all the bells and whistles.  But we can't decide on whether to go with a rectangle shaped tub or an oval one.  

We had an oval one in our last house and we liked it:

The tub is in an alcove in our new place, like these:

Source: houzz.com via Emily on Pinterest

But there's something sleek and a little more modern with a rectangular tub:

The tub size we need to fill the space is 72" x 42".  That's a big tub!  I don't think I realized it until I saw this picture of a tub we were considering:

(photo: here)

I sure hope it's the angle of the photo that makes her look so tiny in there.  I don't want to have to wear a life jacket to take a bath!

Here's Riley and me trying to recreate the above picture in our current tub.  Okay not really, I was trying to figure out if I liked having those little arm rests inside the tub and Riley wanted to assist (he laid down shortly after this and got comfortable in the tub). 

So what do you think?  Do you guys have a preference -- rectangle or oval tub?  Anything I'm missing that I should consider? 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

30th Birthday Present.

I turn 30 in 2 weeks.  Yikes!  I already know what Justin is getting me for my birthday.  And it's not because I'm super sneaky/nosy and figured it.  (But that would be something I would totally do.)  Instead, this present was one he couldn't really keep from me.

We are going back to Paris for a week! 

When I did my Paris recap shortly after returning from our 2-week Europe trip about a year ago, I said the following: "I seriously loved every single second of Paris. I would go back tomorrow if I could."  Well, it may not have been "tomorrow," but I will take a year instead.

I can't hardly wait.  Our trip won't be as near as rushed this time around.  We are already planning on hitting up some of the places we didn't have time to check out last time, and I've been scouring blogs for some other great tips.  If you have any to share, I'm all ears!

I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the house renovations go according to plan while we are away!  I like to think I can calm my worries of what's happening back home by drinking copious amounts of wine and champagne and eating lots of French pastries and cheese.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Decisions, Decisions.

Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend.  Ours was spent mostly researching and thinking about kitchen and bath renovation decisions.  There are so many!  My head is spinning with all of the options for the layout, appliances, sinks, faucets, hardware . . . and that's just the kitchen!   

We also got some tile samples this weekend for the bathroom.  We are debating between 1x2 or 3x6 carrara marble tiles, laid in a herringbone pattern for the floor.  The 3x6 tiles in the picture are just ceramic tiles from Lowe's so we could get the idea of the scale of those compared to the 1x2.  What do you guys think would look best for the floor?  1x2 or 3x6?   

I have also been contemplating some new art work for the entry way.  Specifically, I have been obsessed with a massive ostrich print from Z Gallerie.  It's funny because it really doesn't seem like something I would be drawn to, but for whatever reason, I love it.  I finally took the plunge and brought it home with me.  We immediately hung it on a hook that was leftover from the previous owners and knew it was perfect for the space.  It makes me smile whenever I see it. 

I had Justin stand by it when I snapped the picture so you could get a feel for the size (and so he could work on his Vanna White pose).  Justin has named the ostrich Walter.  So everyone, meet Walter!   

As you could imagine, a lot of our time has been filled with renovation decisions, meeting with contractors, and all of the other fun things that go along with buying a house.  I've been hesitant to post too much about it all because I don't want to bore all of you with the million and one decisions.  And since the house has really been the only thing on my mind, I haven't had much else to post about! If you want to hear more about the specific decisions we are making along the way, let me know and I can share them.  Or if you prefer just to be kept in the loop on the big things and see it once it's all done, that's cool too.  Just let me know . . . I aim to please!   

I plan to go over to the house next weekend and take good pictures of the house before the renovation starts so y'all can get a full house tour in its before state.  I may even go all out and do a video tour!  Crazy!   

Monday, July 2, 2012


We're officially homeowners again!  We closed remotely, as previously discussed here.  Thankfully, our lender moved our paperwork to the front of the line and was able to get it all to the title company in record time so we could sign the docs before we headed out of town (and we would just have to fund the following day).  The only hiccup was that the sellers' paperwork was delayed because they were sailing off the coast of Florida and tropical storm Debby slowed down FedEx's delivery schedule.

But despite all of that, we closed and picked up the keys to our new house from our realtor on our way home from the airport!

(if we look excited but tired, we were.  we had been up since 4:45 am to catch our 7:05 flight!)

Of course we've been spending lots of time at the house.  Here's some iPhone shots from around our new digs.

Zoey's just chilling in the middle of the living room.

I love our huge crepe myrtles.  You can't really tell from the picture, but the flowers are pink and so pretty.  Not to mention the trees add such great privacy in our back yard.

Justin holding up our new entry way chandelier for size.  When you see the old one, you can understand why I was in such a hurry to find a new one!  

For those of you who are wondering, we've officially decided to go with white marble.  And don't worry, we will also be replacing those sweet cabinet handles. 

Justin was honing his MacGyver-skills and rigged up the hose to drain out our fountain, which is in desperate need of good cleaning. 

And my favorite of them all . . . sweet Riley and Zoey peeking out the backdoor.  

And I have to give a shout out to two sweet bloggers who I met up with this weekend.  First, Elz picked me up some amazing chocolate and almond croissants at the new Trader Joe's.  I knew we'd get along just fine when I discovered she was also addicted to TJ's mini peanut butter cups.     

Then I went over to Megan's house from Honey We're Home to check out her white marble counters.  It was so thoughtful of her to let us come check them out so we could see how they've worn before we made a decision.  Yippee for sweet friends met through the blogosphere! 

Hope your week is going well and you're ready for the 4th!