Monday, June 25, 2012

5 things . . .

Even though we're not moving until the renovations are complete, in honor of closing this week on our new home, I thought I would share the top 5 things I will not miss about living in our apartment:

(1)  Our high water bill.  It's actually more expensive here than it was at our previous home. 

(2)  Having to take the dogs out -- down the hall, down the stairs, and out to the back.  Justin does this task 98% of the time, but it is annoying -- and even more so now with 100+ degree weather.  We can't wait to let them run around off-leash in their new back yard!    

(3)  Smelling our neighbor's horrible fish dinners and mothball clothes.  Seriously, it's terrible. 

(4)  Having to go up several levels to park and then, usually because there are no close spaces, walking a ways to our apartment.  This is especially fun with groceries in tow.  I am pumped just thinking about being able to walk directly from my car in the garage into the house.   

(5)  Hearing every time that our upstairs neighbors walk around or use the restroom (and knowing that our downstairs neighbors likely have the same complaints about us).


On a more serious note, please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers.  My Great Aunt (who was probably closer to a grandma to me than a great aunt) passed away Monday morning.  She was a wonderful woman.  Here we are dancing a few years ago at my cousin's wedding:

Every birthday (mine and Justin's), Christmas, Easter, and our anniversary we would get a card from her, always with a thoughtful message (in her handwriting that was so hard to decipher).  I will certainly miss getting those cards and, of course, her kind heart.  While in the hospital recently, after suffering a stroke, she got out of her wheelchair to help push someone else's wheelchair.  That story pretty much exemplifies her life -- always helping out others.

We will actually have to close on our house remotely so we can attend her funeral.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kitchen Counters

In case you missed the news, we will be closing on our new house in less than 2 weeks!  One of the things that we want to update is the kitchen.  It's not terrible in its current condition, but we have some ideas to make it work a little better for us.  So you can see what we're working with, this is the view from the breakfast room.  

We are going to get new appliances, make the island bigger, remove the bar-height level counters, and also reconfigure the wrap-around counter to make it more open.  We will also be refinishing and staining the hardwoods a darker color.  We plan to leave the white cabinets. 

But the biggest debate in our house apartment right now is the new counter tops.  We've narrowed it down to two options -- Option #1 is white marble and Option #2 is honed absolute black granite.  (Since it really boils down to either black or white, I always seem to get Michael Jackson's "Black or White" song stuck in my head.)    

Here's the breakdown of the dilemma:
  • I love love love white marble counters with white cabinets.  Visually speaking, they are always my favorite kitchens.  (My pinterest page has been full of them for a very long time.)  It's safe to say, I like the look of white marble counters more than black.  But I don't dislike the look of the black counters.
  • White marble has a tendency to etch, stain, and chip.  I have done substantial research on this, and think I'm ok with a less than perfect finish (or patina -- which doesn't make it sound so bad) over time.  Given these issues associated with white marble, Justin prefers the black granite over the white marble.
  • The black granite is substantially cheaper than the white marble.  
  • I've thought about doing the island in the white marble and the remainder in black granite, but don't really like the look of that since the island isn't very substantial (and has the stove).   
And for visualization purposes, here are some amazing kitchens with both black and white counters with white cabinets.

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

So readers, do you have a preference?  What are your thoughts?  Does anyone have either of these counters and wish to share some of their thoughts on them?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We bought a house!

I mentioned here that I would be back to share our anniversary present to each other.  Nothing gets by Cassie, and she totally guessed it.  We found the perfect house!  And it's (almost) ours!  We could not be more excited!   

So this has been in the works for a couple of weeks now, but I didn't want to say anything before it was official.  We are past the inspection and the appraisal . . . so now we just have to wait until we close at the end of the month.  In the meantime, here's a little teaser picture from the entry hall we snapped during the inspection. 

Couple of fun facts about this house:

(1)  It is literally right next to this house (the one we had the back up contract on and didn't get).  How fun will be to get to know those next door neighbors?   The house we had the back up contract on was great, but neither Justin nor I were ever super pumped about it, but we LOVED the street.  Our new house is amazing and we are totally pumped about it, and it's on the same street we loved so much.  So now we get the best of both worlds.  Winning.

(2)  We put an offer on the house and were under contract about 12 hours after it was listed.  My mom was driving by the other house when there was still a chance it would be ours and noticed the for sale sign in front of house number 2.  She called to tell me, and frankly, I thought she was crazy because it wasn't showing up on the market.  I told her maybe it was a contractors sign, but she proved me wrong and called the realtor.  He said he had just put up the for sale sign that afternoon and it would be listed at midnight.  But that if we wanted to see it the next day, we could go ahead and schedule a time.  So we did -- we were already seeing another house in the area that morning anyway.  We knew right away that we loved it.  So we put an offer on it right after we got back to our offices that morning.  They countered about an hour later and it was a done deal!

The house needs some cosmetic updates, and we are meeting with some contractors to talk about remodeling the kitchen and bathroom.  The good news is hopefully there will soon be some great before and after pictures.  I am excited to share the progress along the way with y'all.  We cannot wait to make the house our own!   

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

So I'm a couple of days early, but Tuesday is our 8th wedding anniversary.  I really cannot believe I've been married to my wonderful husband 8 years (and he's put up with me for that long).  Time flies when you're having fun! 

Instead of telling you all how amazing my husband is (which he is) or how much I love him (a lot), I thought I would share one of my favorite memories from our wedding reception.  Surprisingly, it was when he removed my garter.  His friends convinced him to put a lace thong (that they picked up at Wal-Mart) up his sleeve and pull that out instead of my actual garter (without me having any idea, of course).  I should have known something was up since all of the guys were paying very close attention.  Look at those faces. 

I had no clue that he was going to do this, and when I realized what was happening, was embarrassed at first.  Then quickly thought it was hilarious.  And also wondered immediately what my grandma would think.  Thankfully, she was not offended!  

I love seeing how funny the guys thought it was.  Sheer and utter delight.     

And my sweet husband giving me a kiss and apologizing for the little surprise.  Clearly, I was very upset.

Thankfully our marriage has still been full of these fun moments together (though not necessarily of him removing a thong -- get your mind out of the gutter, people)!    

Hope you guys had a great weekend.  I'll be back very soon to share our anniversary present to each other!  It's a good one!  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paris Map - Z Gallerie Style.

Remember my inexpensive Paris map art?  If not, we framed a piece of wrapping paper from the Paper Source that was less than $4.00 in a cheap Ikea Ribba frame. 

Well imagine my surprise when I saw this at Z Gallerie the other day.  (Excuse the crappy iphone pics.)   The Z Gallerie version is substantially smaller because it doesn't have the thick mat, but otherwise, it's exactly the same! 

The price was $59.95 -- double what we paid for our "DIY" map!  

I actually like ours better, not only because it was cheaper, but because of the matting and its overall larger size.  Note to self:  If I like a piece of framed art at Z Gallerie, double check that Paper Source doesn't have the same wrapping paper that can be framed for much cheaper!

Hope y'all are having a great week! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

San Diego - Trip #1.

Sorry for the radio silence.  Things have been crazy busy around here . . . more details on that in the next post.  But before this post becomes even more overdue, I had to share pictures from our trip to San Diego in early May.  (We actually went back to San Diego last weekend, but I will do a separate post about that trip, which involves a surprise wedding!  See, I told you I've been busy!)

For our first trip out to San Diego, we went with only one goal in mind -- to meet and love on Henry, my best friend's precious new baby.  (See the details of his baby shower here.)  Of course it's no surprise, but he is a beautiful baby. 

Henry was a perfect angel the entire time we were there.  We had our big outing and meal of the day around lunch time, which worked perfectly with his schedule.  Henry got quite the tour of San Diego while we were there.

One afternoon, we headed to the embarcadero to enjoy the scenery.  It was pretty cool to go there for several reasons, but maybe the coolest was because the last time Lauren and Jacob were there, Lauren was walking up and down the stairs (you can barely see them in the first photo) trying to encourage Henry to make his appearance since he was nearly a week late!   

The next day we headed to Coronado island and had lunch at the hotel. 

We were also happy to be a part of Henry's first trip to In-N-Out.  Lauren had to put a napkin over Henry's head so the delicious sauce from the burger wouldn't drip on him while he was in the Moby!  

When we weren't out and about, we did a lot of staring at Henry.  It never got old.

Justin was on this trip too!  He just happened to be the one taking most of the pictures.  I did manage to get this one of him and Henry on my iphone.

Look at his hair!  It is so long!  

These are some of my favorite pictures of Henry with his mom.  How cute is it that they both have on their gray and white stripes? 

And here's a picture of Henry from today.  His hair is parted just like his dad's!  It kills me.  Such a beautiful baby!  

While we've loved visiting Lauren and Jacob in San Diego over the years, I am super excited that, as of last weekend, they have moved back to Texas!  I will be able to hang out with Henry so much more now!  (Oh yeah, and Lauren and Jacob too!) 

Hope y'all had a wonderful weekend!  I am hoping to have some time this week to catch up on some much overdue blog reading!