Monday, December 28, 2009

Shopping Spree!

Don't you just love giftcards? I do! Especially with the new house. There are so many things we need/want, and so many things we just can't afford right now. We got a ton of giftcards over the holidays and decided to go out on a shopping spree to spend them yesterday.

At Lowe's, we got a ceiling fan for the master bedroom, and a chandelier for the dining room. At Kohls, we got some really pretty B&W floral photography prints for the loft, and some accessories for the guestroom, and FINALLY a welcome mat! At Sears, I let my husband have at it, and he decided to go with one of those huge Craftsman metal standing tool chests, and an under-car "creeper" (which I like to call the padded for when he's working on our cars. We also made a stop at the local Goodwill and spent $10 on two adorable white ceramic canisters, a small wire shelf tower that I want to spraypaint oil rubbed bronze and fill with bath products for our guest bath, and a seagrass basket for the guestroom. Woot! Thanks to giftcards, we only spent about $50 out of pocket for all of that!

Next weekend will be the BIG giftcard purchase! I got a VERY GENEROUS giftcard from the client I deal with at work as a Christmas bonus, so we will be finally getting ourselves a dining room set! I'm so excited. I have one in mind, but we want to do a little shopping around next Saturday just to make sure. I'm so psyched though. The dining room is the first thing you see when you walk through our front door, and right now it's totally empty, aside from my cat who has seemed to claim the room as his own. I'm so excited to start decorating another room. Maybe we could even get some painting done. MAYBE. I already know I want to paint it a deep grass green. Yay!

I plan to take some pics of our new purchases and share them with you very soon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

I am excited to have the next four days off of work, followed by another four-day weekend next weekend. Yay! It's nice because I really need a break. Work has been INSANE lately (I work in benefits administration, and December and January are two of the most popular months for companies to have open enrollment).

But on the bright side, we were surprised (SHOCKED!) by a very generous Christmas bonus at work this year. I think we have decided to spend it either on a dining room set or finish buying replacement light fixtures for the rest of the house. We shall see!

After hosting a small five-person family Thanksgiving dinner 1 week after moving in, and hosting a 25-guest housewarming/Christmas party a couple weeks later, I am once again preparing to entertain. We have the whole family coming over tonight for a Christmas Eve baked ziti dinner. Luckily my mom is bringing bread & some of the dessert, grandparents are bringing salad, and my aunt & uncle are bringing some wine & beer, so I am not alone in this! Still, it means my Christmas Eve off from work will be spent cleaning & cooking like a mad woman! Speaking of which, I'd better get cracking!

Oh, and can you believe that we will be hosting ANOTHER big party for my husband's birthday the 2nd week in January??? It just doesn't stop! I promised myself that after that, we are DONE for awhile.

Anyways, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A little exterior sparkle...

Sorry it took me so long to post this next entry. We had our housewarming party last Saturday night and it was a hit! All of our friends seem to love our new house. We got so many compliments! And it was lovely to see everyone after spending so many weeks working hard on getting it ready. I felt like I hadn't seen any of our friends in AGES!

Anyways, we had to go smaller scale than I would have liked on the outside of our house. First, because we don't have a tall ladder yet to get to the roofline on the top story. Second, because we don't have $30194873108461438701 to buy all new lights & decorations! Hopefully we can pick up some good stuff for next year in the after-Christmas sales. We bought 2 strands of lights BOGO at CVS, bought some cheap greenery garland, used a wreath I had made three years ago for the door, PVC yard candy canes from the dollar store, and for the rest we worked with what we already had.

In-progress pic:

Door & walkway. Excuse our horrid lawn...again, the house was vacant for 6 months before we bought it (over the Florida summer too) and the lawn was grossly neglected. It's one of our priorities for after the holidays:

Close-up of door...We hope to get nicer & bigger porch trees in the future. These little ones were cheap finds 50% off at JoAnn's, embellished with berry/bead things (also 50% off).

And last but not least, the broader view of the whole house:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Merry & bright!

We are finally making some progress on our decorating. It is becoming more and more obvious that I will have to scour the after-Christmas sales this year in an attempt to really build up my holiday decor stash. But we are making due with what we have and having a ton of fun decorating our new house.

Last week I put up our tree:

I've been working on the miscellaneous stuff all week. Found these great star wreaths & the retro tree toppers on either side of the "HAPPY" sign at Dollar Tree!

Just got this little modular shelf unit for our foyer at Ikea for $39 last weekend! It was fun to add some holiday touches to it.

I bought these little snowmen tealight holders this weekend for $15 for the set. I knew I needed something for the powder room, since when we have our holiday parties, this is the restroom the guests will use. Aren't they cute?

Next up...exterior decorating!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Some decorating progress pics.

The living room is pretty sparse (luckily right now the Christmas tree is helping with that), but I love my red couch so much, I could not resist sharing. We actually got a new coffee table since this pic was taken. I also want to put some floating shelves on the blank wall to the side of the couch.

The kitchen is probably my favorite spot so far. Still working on building out my accessories above the cabinets. I absolutely love the plates over the pantries. They both have a little bird sitting on a branch.

The guestroom was cobbled together with a furniture set that my parents really wanted to get rid of (yay, free!). We gave the set a fresh coat of white paint, and will be adding new hardware as soon as I decide on some. My mom had this brand new comforter set on the bed that she asked me to take (free again!). I am going with the coastal/seaside look in this room, with light blues, whites, and sand colors. The print over the bed is of a lighthouse and some grassy sand dunes and the lamp is a Goodwill find that I painted white & added a sandy-colored shade. Since this pic was taken, I have already added a round seagrass mat under the lamp on the nightstand, and a silver lantern tealight holder on the short dresser. This room needs some serious accessorizing, but I am buying a little here and there as I go. The furniture set came with a mirror that is supposed to go over the short dresser, but I think I want to find an oval mirror instead...maybe one with a light wood wicker/woven frame.

Need more holiday spirit!

Whew! Tennessee relatives are gone, and Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. Now we can move on to Christmas!

I didn't realize how little I had in the way of Christmas decor until I started trying to decorate my new house. I have decorations that made less than 1000 square feet of our apartment look quite festive. But now that I have almost 3000 square feet, I need a LOT more. So I went to Jo Anne's & the dollar store this morning and spent about $35 on:

- 2 small star-shaped wreaths
- 4 PVC candy canes for our walkway
- 2 small trees for our front door area
- 10 small berry/beady things to decorate the 2 small doorstep trees
- 1 tiny tree with burlap wrapped around the base.
- 2 tubes of ornaments to fill a huge glass apothecary jar
- a wreath hanger

I am still no where near close to done. We still need to do outdoor lights, hang some greenery garland, find a spot for a few more wreaths, I and I really want to do those white electric candles in all our windows. And I still need more! We haven't done anything at all upstairs. So overwhelming. I'm sure I will gather more decorations as time goes by, but I just really want our first holiday season in our new house to be special & festive. Especially since we are hosting 2 parties!

Pics to come soon, I promise...

Monday, November 23, 2009

My blank slate.

I thought I would post some pics of the house from the night that we closed. It is a TOTAL blank slate. White walls & builder-grade everything. I absolutely HATE every single light fixture. But it has SO much potential. I love it more and more everyday.

Here is my husband opening our front door for the very first time as a homeowner.

This is our foyer & dining room taken from the entrance to the kitchen.

The kitchen...Again, very basic, but I LOVE the dual pantries!

This is the other end of the foyer, standing near the front door, looking into the entry to the kitchen & family room. The center is one of two entry closets, and to the left is the stairwell. Just to the right of this pic is the laundry room.
This is the U-shaped upstairs hall, taken from the loft. The doorway on the right is to the master suite. To the left are 3 guestrooms & a guest bath.

Master bedroom.

Master bath...

I think you get the's a pretty builder-basic house. Needs lots of pizazz! Pretty soon, I will post some "after" pics to show you what we've done with the place! We are still working on it (I'm sure we will never stop!), but it's starting to come together.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Soooooooo tired. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Well, we FINALLY moved into our new house. Due to delay after delay, we did not actually close on the house until last Monday night! Long story. We painted a few rooms on Tuesday, then the movers brought our stuff on Wednesday, we got appliances on Thursday, and have been unpacking and fixing everything up ever since. I am EXHAUSTED!!!!!!!

Very soon I should have some pics to share. I need to finish straightening up and adding a few items here and there. Everything HAS to be ready (or as close as possible) soon because we have relatives coming for Thanksgiving on Tuesday! Eeek! In the meantime, here is a teaser pic taken while we were painting the kitchen:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Home stretch!

Just a quick post to say I have not forgotten about my blog. We have just been BUSY packing! We close on the house this Friday!!!

ANNNNNNDDDD...I got a new laptop!!! Yay!

Things should start to pick up in here very soon. Bear with me! Things are quite hectic right now, as you can see from the following pictures of our dining room & den in our apartment. I am currently living in a sea of boxes!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Moving forward? A long overdue update.

I really have not felt like posting lately. Our house situation had deteriorated to the point where we were actually scheduling appointments with our agent to view other houses. We were getting NO answers about the title problem and it seemed like it might go on forever. All my original excited energy that built up when I first started this blog went out the window with the prospect of losing this house. I no longer felt like thinking about paint or decor or anything of the sort, it just stressed me out and made me sad. Nothing fun to post, so I didn't.

Then yesterday we got some news! The title problem is close to clear...the selling bank wants to know if we can we close in 20 days. We double-checked with our lender and he confirmed we are set to close anytime, he just needs to get the paperwork together for the new price. YES!!! One major step in the right direction and I have renewed hope.

The only thing we have left to deal with is the low appraisal. The selling agent is giving us a very hard time about this, but our awesome agent and our awesome lender have actually joined forces on this and are both confident we can get this cleared up, and get the price in line with the appraisal.

So we are not out of the woods yet, and we still don't have a definite closing date, but everyone seems confident that we will get everything cleared up. That means that very soon (hopefully!) I will be back to posting happy fun house stuff!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Magazine mixup.

I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday, so I escaped work early, went home, got into my jammies, and got all comfy on the couch. I called my husband to see if he could stop by CVS on his way home and pick up some NyQuil and cranberry juice. He very kindly obliged and asked me if there was anything else I could think of that I wanted.

I thought for a moment and said "Yes! Can you get me a copy of Better Homes & Gardens?" He said he definitely would.

About 30 minutes later, he walked in the door and handed me my magazine... When I saw it, I gigggled a bit. He had handed me a copy of Good Housekeeping. When I asked him why he got me that magazine, he was dumbfounded: "This is what you asked for!" It turns out that both magazines had congealed in his head as the same thing. It didn't even occur to him that they were different even though they had distinctly different titles.

Men! lol...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting frustrated.

Now we have title problems. Former owner of the house we are purchasing went into a complicated bankruptcy situation, so we have to wait for the title to clear before we can proceed. It is currently tied up in Florida state red tape. Our agent will not bring up the low appraisal until the title situation is rectified, because she is worried that they will let the deal fall through. She says the closer we are to closing, the better a time to bring up the low appraisal because the bank will just want to lower the price and be done with it already. We are feeling frustrated because it means we have no earthly idea as to when we will be moving now. We would have been closing in less than 2 weeks, but now it looks like it won't be for awhile...

Sorry I have not posted much lately, but our frustration, coupled with the fact that my laptop is STILL broken (might be permanently so) has meant I have not had the motivation or the easy ability to share on this blog. Hopefully once things get moving along, I will be much more active here. I just haven't felt very excited about the house purchase lately, because it's more a source of stress than anything right now.

However, I do want to thank PK over at Room Remix for linking my post about stencil canvas art on one of her recent posts. And I also wanted to give a big hello and thanks to anyone who has wandered in via her blog. I'm new around here and happy to have new readers!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Inching closer...

We finished submitting all our documents to the bank yesterday, and pre-signed a lot of our closing documents. My agent is STILL waiting to hear from the selling bank and the closing date is still up in the air. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will be paying rent for the month of November. I just hope our closing date doesn't get extended TOO long. I want to get settled well ahead of the holidays, and aside from that, we are just anxious to get on with our lives! It has only been two months since we first started looking for houses, but it seriously feels like it has been an eternity at this point!

Last weekend, Tadd and I went to the flea market (or the "dirt mall" as we like to call it...any guesses what movie that is from?) and wandered for awhile until the 90+ degree heat got the better of us and we HAD to get out of there. Almost left emptyhanded, until we happened past a booth that was looking to completely rid itself of its inventory. In the very front of the booth was a 5-tier corner shelf unit thingie. It's about 4 feet tall with shelves that get gradually larger from top to bottom. Not the most spectacular item, but I thought it had potential. We got it for $10! Score! I know I want to paint it, but can't decide what color yet. It will be a great spot to hold some fun knick knacks and help to fill up space in the house. At least until we are able to actually afford to properly furnish all this extra square footage we are about to move into.

Not much on the agenda this weekend that has to do with the house...Tonight we are going to see my brother's band New Man play in downtown Orlando. Tomorrow, we are going to the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot! Busy weekend indeed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fun with stencils!

Tadd (who actually tends to be slightly more crafty than me at times) and I were roaming the craft store yesterday, when we came across some really cute stencils. He suggested we buy a few, plus some blank canvases and try to make some art for our new house. I thought it sounded like a simple enough project, so we bought the stencils, canvases, some cheap sponge brushes, and four tubes of paint and headed home.

I spread out an old shower curtain on the floor of the living room, put on our DVD copy of Ratatouille (we are big Pixar fans), and we got to work.

Here is what we started with:

Tadd wanted to do two long, skinny canvases, and I wanted one big square one. His idea was to paint one black and one white, then take the bamboo stencil and do layers of different shades of green, going from light to dark, and then dark to light. I honestly wasn't sure what I was going to do with mine when I started. I just kind of played with the stencil shapes as I went. Here is a work-in-progress pic:

Tadd's is hard to see, but at that point, he had only done the darkest shades of green, so it kind of had a tone-on-tone effect against the black.

And here are some finished products. Tadd's black canvas is done, and he has started on the white one. And mine is completely done.

Mine is going to probably go somewhere in the master suite, probably in the bathroom. Tadd's will go into his "man den". It was a really fun project, and very easy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm back...and very tired.

Back from my whirlwind trip to NYC. Had a great time, but I'm so sad it was so short. Weather was overcast, but the temperature was perfect! And it never rained.

I attended an event at the Central Park Boathouse, which was lovely. Then we went to an after party at the W in Times Square. LOVED Times Square! Loved Central Park too, but there is just something about Times Square...magical! I told my husband we HAVE to go back on a real vacation. I think he would love it there.

I came back to some problems with the house...could be potentially good, but it's still making me nervous. The bank did their appraisal and it came to $8000 less than the offer we made. Our agent is in the process of renegotiating our offer down to what it is worth. It means everything is currently in a holding pattern...But getting the house for $8k less than what we thought we were going to be paying sounds VERY appealing. I just hope it all gets ironed out and we can keep the same 10/15 closing date. Tadd and I already got time off approved for the week after closing so we could paint/fix up the house and move. I just want this process to be OVER so I can start focusing on the move!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Off to NYC!

I'm heading to NYC for a couple of days to attend a work event. Excited! I've never been there. Wish I had more time to do fun stuff...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fridges and furniture...

Went refrigerator shopping today. We want a nice one, but are trying to keep it around $800. We went to the Sears scratch & dent outlet and a huge local appliance warehouse. I tend to not like the side-by-sides as much as the ones with the freezer drawers on the bottom, mostly because I feel like the side-by-sides are too narrow on either side. But I am pretty much open to either type.

It seems like our price range dictates that we either get ice/water on the door and get a side-by-side, or we get the freezer drawer type with no ice/water on the door. Decisions, decisions! We found a really great Kenmore side-by-side at the Sears Outlet for about $650 (original price was $1100)! It had the slightest ding on the front, but you really had to know it was there to see it. That was probably the best bargain we found. I would post pics, but fridges kind of look the same. At least, I started to feel that way after all the shopping we did today...

On the way home, we checked another thrift store. OMG! Junk! And everything was filthy. It made Goodwill and Salvation Army look like high-end palaces! It was not a total loss though...the thrift store was next to a used furniture store, so we decided to check it out. It was like a cross between an antique store and the furniture section at Salvation Army. I LOVED IT!!! I'm so glad we found this place. They even had a section in the back where everything was 50% off. We found some Ethan Allan armchairs for $60! And some other random cool stuff. We didn't actually buy anything, just browsed around, but we will DEFINITELY be back.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thrift store finds...

Laptop is still broken, so I am posting when I can. Hopefully I can post some pics of the loot I got this weekend while thrifting & bargain hunting. We spent about $50 on:
  • a wooden lamp base (we plan on painting)
  • some decorative wooden yard stakes with Halloween decorations on the top (one is a pumpkin, the other is a ghost)
  • two ADORABLE(!!!!) vases...they are teal with white graphic flowers on them (0.99 each!)
  • a pair of tall iron candle holders w/ fleur de lis at the top
  • a really pretty yellow ceramic flower pot/vase
  • a decorative cement ball thing with a fleur de lis (I really like those, if you couldn't tell)
  • a Halloween plate with a black cat on it
  • a black wrought iron scrolly table-top plate/frame holder to hold the Halloween plate
  • two pieces of metal wall art...they are reddish/brownish squares with a gold scroll pattern on them
  • and a book for Tadd (not really for the house, but we did buy it at the Salvation Army while we were buying some of the other stuff)
We also saw a bunch of other stuff that I really liked or could use. We plan on getting a used washer & dryer for now, and we saw a matching pair that was like new for $200 at Salvation Army. Also saw some great side tables, a beautiful baker's rack, a nice buffet for the dining room, etc. I'm excited! I could see us buying a lot of stuff from thrift stores and jazzing them up. This will be a nice way to buy stuff, make it our own, and not break the bank.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Stupid laptop!

Laptop is broken. Meant to post more, but this has caused problems for me and my plans.

Quick update: Got the inspection report back and no major problems! Just a few things here and there that need fixing. Luckily I married a handy man.

Drove by the house today with my brother and Tadd's best friend Rick. We got to walk around the property and peek in the windows! I was dying to get inside.

Also, bought a TON of stuff over the weekend for the house. Hopefully husband can fix the laptop soon so I can get back to sharing!

Friday, September 4, 2009


I have been extremely stressed about all the things we have to do over the next few months. Our home inspection is this weekend, which is something I'm somewhat afraid of, because we are buying a foreclosure and will not have recourse to go back and ask the sellers to fix anything. We are buying as-is. On the positive side, the house was built in 2005, so the chances of there being major problems is pretty low, but you just never know.

To get my mind off of the stress, I am spending time thinking about what I want to DO with this house. We are moving from a 1000 sqft 2/2 apartment to a 2800 sqft 4/2.5 house, so there will be quite a bit more space for us to decorate.

Lately there are two rooms I have been really thinking about...The kitchen & the guestroom. Although I love the kitchen layout (two pantries and a prep sink in the island!), I'm not too fond of the finishes (honey oak cabinets w/ no hardware, beige laminate counters, vinyl floors...yuck), so to start, we would really like to paint the cabinets a creamy white, and paint the walls a sunny yellow. I really want to go with a French Bistro type look, using this Vera Bradley fabric as inspiration for the color palette:

I don't necessarily want busy floral patterns everywhere, but I tend to like graphic floral prints and I love the swirly vines in this print. I was thinking a black & white tie-up curtain on the window over the sink (maybe some kind of stripe?), lots of black & white French accessories above the cabinets...maybe some fleur de lis, some black wroght iron scrolly wall art. Lots of black and white decor against the yellow walls.

For the guest room, I really wanted to do something different from my regular style. I decided I want to do a blue & white motif that suggests "seaside" without being overly "beachy". I saw this beautiful, very simple framed photo of sand dollars, which is what inspired me:

Maybe some bedding like this:

My parents are giving us my younger sister's bedroom set (which actually used to be mine...I picked it out when I was 9 years old!) and we plan on painting the tall dresser, short dresser, mirror, and nightstand white. There is also a desk with hutch, which we plan on painting an antique black and using in the loft (which we currently plan to turn into an office).

On our way...

My husband Tadd and I are in the process of buying this:

We are going to be homeowner newbies. Closing is October 15th. We have a lot to do. Should be interesting...