Some days you wake up and know exactly what you want to do. This morning I awoke to the sun shining in all its summer glory, and all I wanted was a frothy latte and an almond croissant covered in powdered sugar. I longed for quality time with quality people, wished that today could be a Sunday, and that perhaps my morning could include a patio and fresh air. Take me back to last summer, to a Sunday morning with my best friend and my Dad. Take me back to a morning with laughs and conversations about travel. Take me back to a morning of leisure and not fussing with my phone, not worrying about the time, and only enjoying the moment. This photo was taken at Honore Bakery in Ballard and it reminds me of how lucky I am to have such incredible people in my life. Isn’t it funny how a simple image with no people in it can evoke such emotion and hold such a memory? xo
READING…The Red Tent by Anita Diamant on loan from my most trusted book resource. I also read Molokai by Alan Brennert recently, another loaner from a friend, and my morning reading has been Better Then Before by Gretchen Rubin. These are all great reads!
LISTENING…Alabama Shakes does it again. Their new album Sound & Color has such soul!
EATING…GF & DF. I had to do some allergy testing recently and my doc wanted me to go ONE MONTH without gluten or dairy. I am just over the two week mark and here to tell you that it is not easy. Cooking at home is just fine, and most meals I have made have been delicious, but eating out is extremely difficult. I’ll post more on this topic later and share some recipes. Below is a coconut curry with carrots, black rice and baked tofu.
DRINKING…almond milk lattes. My normal coffee order is an Americano with half & half, but clearly I can’t do that. I tried almond milk in my Americano but it just wasn’t doing it for me. Enter almond milk lattes — true love.
SUCCEEDING…at working out! You guys, I’m pretty proud of myself. I have been using this app EveryMove to track my activity, and I have been getting a solid 4 days a week in for the last couple months. I’ve mostly been doing Pure Barre, at least 3 times a week, and I feel stronger than ever before. I’ve also been doing some hiking and walking to mix it up a little. I’ll share more later for those of you that don’t know about Pure Barre and EveryMove. Below is a pic from a hike to Wallace Falls.
FAILING…at blogging. For whatever reason, my life has been pulling me in many directions but not here. I’m prioritizing and doing my best, but I do miss it, so I’m going to try harder and do this in baby steps.
LOVING…our PNW weather. We have been getting so much sun already! It’s glorious and I’m enjoying every bit of it. Well, toady isn’t particularly nice, but I swear weekends have been amazing.
WAITING…for our trip to Peru! Yep, we are off to Peru in June, and I couldn’t be more excited. My planner tendencies have loved getting ready for this trip. I know, I have a lot of “I’ll share more” stuff in this post. I will though! I’ll share our itinerary, sites we are excited to see, people we are excited to see, and how I’m packing. Below is our group Pinterest board for the trip.
WEARING…kind of a capsule wardrobe. A few weeks back I removed everything from my closet that just took up space, and I was left with the best options for me and the things I actually wear. I didn’t plan it and didn’t shop for it, so it’s what I’m referring to as an accidental capsule wardrobe. If you don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is, check out this post over at un-fancy.com.
If you follow me on Instagram, you are aware that I cut about 10 inches and have a whole new look. Not only do I love my new hair –it literally takes 10 minutes to dry now– but I chopped my hair for a good cause. I have been donating my hair every 2 years for the last 10 years. This last one marked my fifth donation, and it feels just as good each time.
I have donated to a few different organizations; Locks of Love, Pantene ProV|Beautiful Lengths, and the latest, Children With Hair Loss. My hair grows very quickly and this is something that I can do without issue to give a little something to people suffering from hair loss, whether it’s caused by cancer, Alopecia, or other diseases and disorders.
When it comes time to make the cut, simply pull your hair back in a low ponytail and cut about a 1/2″-1″ above that so all of the hair stays together. Make sure you are comfortable with the length, and that the length of the ponytail meets the requirements (organizations differ, so be sure to do your research). You can braid the hair, or just secure it with another hair tie at the bottom of the ponytail. Put your hair into a plastic freezer bag, then fill out the form that can be found online and put it all in an envelope to send off. That’s it.
It takes at least six ponytails to make just one wig, so if you feel inspired by these people, please DONATE. I promise that you will not regret it. Clearly this isn’t for everyone, but if you thought about it but never took the plunge, I urge you to go for it.
READING…Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. Love her.
LISTENING…to Serial. I know I’m late to the game, but whoa. I cannot stress enough how good it is. Serial had me hooked from the very first episode and kept me totally entertained while packing.
EATING…way too much takeout. Gross, I know. My saving grace has been the occasional piece of avocado toast. I have been toasting the bread on the stove top with a little coconut oil, and then spreading mashed avocado over the top with a dash of sea salt.
DRINKING…homemade ginger tea. My aunt shared her recipe with me. I used a large pot and filled it about 3/4 of the way with water, and then I chopped 2 apples (I used organic Fuji apples), grated about 1/4 cup of fresh ginger, and then added lemon slices (1 lemon). I let that simmer on the stove for about 4 hours. When it’s done, I used a strainer to transfer it to a pitcher. I served it with a little honey, piping hot. While I was sick, this was my saving grace.
SUCCEEDING…in moving! Sorry, but this is huge. I’m going to continue to pat ourselves on the back for being in the new house. As of now, we are totally moved into our master bedroom, master bath, and kitchen. Everything else is a little bit of a mess, but we are getting there, one box at a time.
FAILING…at eating well. When you have a lot going on and little access to the kitchen, it’s really hard to eat well. I’m getting back on the cooking train though!
LOVING…the new house. It feels so cozy and I cannot get over the view when I wake up in the morning. We are so fortunate.
WAITING…to buy new furniture. We have bought a new sofa because we needed it, but other than that, we are holding off on any big purchases. For now, window shopping is where it’s at.
WEARING…leggings like they’re going out of style. I’ve been in need of stretchy pants all day, everyday with this move.
Lastly, a huge thank you to my Dad. He just left last week, and it was so great having him here. I know the dogs are totally comfortable in their new home now, thanks to him spending so much time making sure they adjusted well.
Life Update // Buying & Selling
I have been MIA since October. First and foremost, all is great with us and my absence has been due to a positive change. How some bloggers have children, a full time job, undergo what we did and still make time to write, I just have no idea. I have drafted one other post in the last couple months. ONE. However, I refuse to beat myself up over this because I write out of love and do the best I can. That’s all I can do.
Let me explain.
In October I traveled to Colorado for my Uncle Tito’s funeral. He was a kind, big hearted, faithful and inspirational man. His passing brought family together like I’ve never seen before. Celebrating him made me feel proud to be his niece, regretful for not spending more time with him, and so very devastated that we lost someone with such a bright light. He is an incredible man and is resting peacefully now.
While I was away, my husband found “the perfect house”. He claims that he could feel my eye roll all the way in Washington. Since I was in Colorado with my family, I truly didn’t have much time to really entertain the idea. I did look at the link he sent and it was pretty incredible, but my mind and my heart were with my mom and my grandma. After an exhausting few days, I flew home on Sunday morning, and by the end of the day we were at “the perfect house”, peering into windows and walking the grounds. We reached out to the realtor and scheduled an appointment to see this house on Monday.
Whoa, this is getting real.
When we arrived on Monday, we were greeted by the homeowner, a kind older man named Lyle. He was sweet, and he gave us the grand tour, including all kinds of tidbits like “this is where we opened Christmas gifts” and “I switched this breaker out in ’87”. We joke that we are this couple about 30 years ago. Char, Lyle’s wife, loves to sew and make jewelry, so she had a craft room and a jewelry making room. She also had a greenhouse! If that’s not me, I don’t know what is. Lyle had built a 1300 sq ft wood shop. This is the stuff men’s dreams are made of. I swear, when he opened the doors, angels sang and Marv’s eyes were replaced with hearts, just like the emoji. And the yard…the home is on 1.5 acres and the thought of seeing our dogs run free makes my heart so happy. The things that really make this home perfect are the compromises. Marv has always wanted land, but I’m terrified to live out in the country where it gets really quiet. I grew up with the noise of a train, I-580, and BART. Silence scares me…can we say horror movie? Anyway, this home is just off of a main road, so there is noise, thank goodness. For the other compromise, with land comes a larger house, normally. I didn’t want a 3000 sq ft home. It’s just too much house and it’s not us. This home…just under 2100 sq ft. Perfection.
I am so glad that the realtor wasn’t available, and that we got a tour from the one and only owner of the home, who loved and care for the property for 37 years. He was so attentive and forthcoming with information about the house, and we really hit it off with him and were there for just under 2 hours.
We want this house, but ours isn’t ready to list.
This was around the time I began to realize that my life would be pretty crazy for a while. By that Wednesday, we decided to go for it and list the house, buuuuut it wasn’t quite ready yet. We immediately dove into the small projects that we had been putting off for years. In addition to small projects, we had two large projects — the demo of our income property that occupied the garage and buying a new garage door. Now, we had asked multiple realtors, and for our neighborhood, a garage is far more desirable than an income property. Not to mention that the income property was not done well. Simple answer…demo and turn it into a usable garage. In addition to making it a usable garage, we figured it was high time to upgrade the garage door and get an automatic opener. So, between our two large projects, small projects, and painting the entire interior of the home –neutral, neutral, neutral– we guessed that we were looking at two weeks for completion, which really means more like 3 weeks. If you are a DIY’er, you know this to be very true. So, here we are, October 22nd, about a month away from Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. If we cannot complete everything within 3 weeks, I feared our home would be listed during the holidays and sit, and that we would not be able to get “the perfect house”.
Here goes nothing.
Every evening after work and every weekend was devoted to getting our home ready. Our friends and family were an amazing source of support during this time. Friends came over to help us paint and do projects, and my family was constantly checking in and offering encouragement. This time was hard for us. I was exhausted, and when I was at work, I was thinking about home projects. I wasn’t eating well, and I was worried, constantly worried. Have we bitten off more than we can chew? Halloween came and went, and one of my favorite holidays barely got celebrated. My dad offered to fly out from California and help us, but what if we couldn’t get it together in time, or what if we weren’t able to get the new house, and it was all for nothing? Not to mention, we were living in chaos. Furniture everywhere, paint cans everywhere, boxes full of things that needed to go to the storage unit, etc. It wasn’t pretty.
We did it!
Somehow, someway, with a ton of elbow grease and help from our friends, we pulled it off. Our home was listed on November 16th, and so began the crazy rollercoaster ride of living with two dogs in a staged home. I have no idea how people with kids, jobs, and pets do this. Here is our staged home.
Let’s get down to specifics.
We were fortunate enough to have a ton of activity on our home. Our first open house brought through 25 parties (and that’s excluding neighbors), second open house brought through 20 parties, and we had many viewings in between. In week 1, with some parties coming back for multiple visits, we thought we might actually see an offer in week 1. The market, my friends, is a tough thing to figure out. Some parties came through three times and didn’t write an offer, and worse, they didn’t have very specific feedback.
Now, this may sound crazy, but we chose to lower the list price at day 9. Unfortunately, time was not on our side. You see, in order to buy “the perfect house” we had to sell our house, so we did what’s referred to as a contingency offer. Because of this contingency, we were given two weeks to get an offer on our house before our offer on the other house expired. The pressure was on, and it was a very stressful time. So, at the advisement of our realtor, we went ahead and lowered the price. We had two offers by day 10, and one was simply stronger than the other, so we accepted and began the next step of buying and selling, namely paperwork and inspections.
Inspections are so important. They give the buyer peace of mind about what they are purchasing and open their eyes to what projects and costs could come up, and that gives them the opportunity to walk away if these unseen issues are too grave. Lucky for us, “the perfect home” was well taken care of and we felt good about the outcome of our inspection. We did a little bit of negotiating about some things that were nearing the end of their life and would need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
Now, to be the seller on the other side of this –it’s a little nerve racking. “Do we do that right?” “Could there be something that our home inspector didn’t catch back when we bought the house?” “Are these novice home buyers going to be scared off by a project or two?” “How much are we willing to pay out in credits for repairs?” Oy, to be on the seller side (and to be a total worrier about EVERYTHING).
We were very lucky on both ends, and after a little bit of negotiations the inspection process was over, more paperwork was signed and now we are waiting and…
That’s right guys, we close and move tomorrow. I can hardly believe that it’s finally here.
Sigh of relief.
This has been stressful and exhausting, but there is no feeling like it. We worked really, really hard on our first home, and it all paid off, and now we are on to the next phase of home ownership. I am so excited to get started on home projects and make it our own. Just so you all know, we are going to take our time on projects. This house is fantastic as is, so we are going to move our stuff in and see what feels right. Of course, I already have a mental plan, many, many Pins, and tons of lists already, but this is it for us, so we are going to save, do our research and make good decisions. This is a totally new floorplan for us, a different lifestyle to an extent, and it’ll be a family home.
Thanks so much for your patience and support.
**all pics were pulled from Zillow.com
Life in Photos: Long Overdue
I haven’t done a Life in Photos post for a long time. We have been so busy and it has been so hard to carve out a little time to write, but one thing I can do, is share some photos.
I have been sprucing up my home studio. We recently moved a bookshelf in there and I rearranged some books and supplies. I love the way it came out. I am thinking about adding some contact paper to the shelf backings to brighten this up.
Another common occurrence in our home is soup. I recently made creamy asparagus soup and it was delicious. You should give it a try…hop over to My San Francisco Kitchen for the recipe.
I also made this scarf! This fabric was in the clearance bin at the fabric store, and it was love at first sight. I have been wearing it constantly, just ask my husband and co-workers.
Lastly, I have been reading Grace Coddington’s memoir, and I adore her. She tells it like it is, has amazing style and is a creative genius. As a fashion lover, reading about her incredible life experiences is so inspiring. Shout out to Keely for the great recommendation! And side note, how cozy does my bedroom look here? I love you, Fall.
Home Studio Progress
My husband is the absolute best. While I was out of town this weekend, he made me this beautifully framed dry erase board. I intend to make it into a large calendar with washi tape.
Maybe something like this? // Design Sponge
We have had this dry erase board for a couple years, and it has been collecting dust in our garage. It had been acquired through my husband’s old job, and we always thought we might use it in the kitchen for reminders or the dinner menu. Now, I can see that it was meant to be framed and hung in my studio. I’m so excited about the possibilities, and I just love the way it looks. He did a great job.
Homemade-ish // Mini Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Usually I’m not one to run out and buy all things pumpkin just because it’s fall, but this weekend I bought a pumpkin spice candle and made pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Who am I?!
You guys, they were so easy and so good. I strongly urge you to give these a whirl. I found this recipe over at Two Peas and Their Pod and it is ridiculously easy. You need some good ole store bought crescent rolls, pumpkin butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. You roll the dough out, spread the pumpkin butter, sprinkle on the brown sugar and the cinnamon, slice them up into adorable mini sized cinnamon rolls and then bake them. Two Peas and Their Pod opted for a cream cheese frosting, but since these went alongside a little at home brunch, I opted for a simple vanilla glaze, using powdered sugar, water and a touch of vanilla extract.
After I made them and realized how delicious they were, my mind began going crazy with the possibilities. Apple butter for apple cinnamon rolls, cranberry apple butter for cran apple cinnamon rolls…the options are endless!
We have 1600 sq ft and 3 bedrooms in our home, but we really only use the front room, kitchen, master bedroom and the bathrooms. We have one bedroom solely dedicated to housing our guests, and over time I have learned that it also works great for closet overflow. Although I had always intended to use the guest bedroom as a sewing room, it just never really worked because the priority was always that our guests be comfortable. To be honest, most projects take place on my dining room table, and that needs to stop because it is too hard to keep our house tidy and looking nice when I have multiple projects taking place in our dining room. With that said, I have taken the plunge and started turning our third bedroom (aka extra storage space) into a home studio. *round of applause, heart eyed emoji*
Here is what I’m working with and how it looks today. The table (on loan from a friend), chair, lamp, futon and dog crate are there to stay. I still have plenty of room to work with, so I feel confident that the space will be great. Side note — don’t mind the post its on the walls. I’m very visual and was trying to figure out what would go where. It’s weird but it works for me.
I am in love with this peg board wall organization.
This giant wall calendar will be a must, and I’m a sucker for those clipboards.
I am so excited about this simple and effective photo booth.
Pretty desk accessories are going to happen, for sure…the gold, the polka dots…yes please.
I have big dreams for this space, and I cannot wait to get started. I have been pinning ideas but decided to let this space evolve slowly for a few reasons. I have never had a space devoted to my creative endeavors before, and I don’t really know what I need. And probably most importantly, I don’t want to spend too much money up front. I’m going to stick to my usual, “use what you have” and see what I can do with the existing furniture we have. This will only supply me with more content to share with you.
Again, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this and am looking forward to sharing my progress and projects. Do you have a home studio? Are there any must haves or advice you have to share?
Rise & Shine / 6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Mornings
I have written about my morning ritual before, but it changes over time, so I thought I’d share my tried and true ways to start the day right. Please keep in mind that I’m not the most graceful when it comes to waking up in the morning. My husband laughs at me often with my zombie like stumble to the turn my alarm off –that’s right, it’s not right next to my bed– and my mumbled speech. I’m not chipper in the morning either, and more often than not, I’m upset that I have to emerge from my cozy, warm cocoon. Just ask my mom! She used to have to tear the covers off me and then spray me with a water bottle. And let me say, she is the sweetest, loveliest woman, but I brought this out in her. She would first attempt a sweet, melodic “goooooood morning, it’s a beautiful day. How’s my precious angel today?” And then…well…the spray bottle. I share this because I want to stress that the struggle is real. I consider myself lucky to have a job and a place that I need to be everyday, but in the fog of a good night’s rest, it’s tough to overlook that.
FACT: Because I’m not a Disney princess when I wake, my morning ritual is my holy grail.
1. Movement // My alarm is across the room from my bed, so I actually have to get up out of bed to turn it off. This is huge. It hasn’t prevented me from crawling back into bed, but it does make a difference. The first thing I do once I’m up is grab my robe and make the bed. Making the bed gets me moving, takes away the possibility of climbing back into that heavenly cloud, and allows me to accomplish something first thing. Win, win, win. Next, I make my way to the kitchen to prepare my morning bevies. While I’m heating water for my tea and lemon water, I do some stretching. I cannot stress enough how good it feels to stretch your body first thing in the morning. If I have time, I aim for 30 minutes of yoga or some sort of workout.
2. Beverages // Some people like cereal, some like yogurt, and some like to keep it simple with coffee and toast. Not me. I like to start the day with a green smoothie, warm lemon water and tea. I mix up my green smoothie recipes all the time, but an old stand by is 1 cup coconut water, 4 frozen strawberries, 2 frozen pineapple chunks, 1/4 sliced cucumber, and a big handful of spinach. While I prep my smoothie, I have a pot of water warming on the stove for lemon water and tea. Warm lemon water has great cleansing and detoxifying benefits for your body. I started drinking warm lemon water every morning after reading about it at How You Glow. I mix up my selection all the time, so with fall here, I have been enjoying Chai tea with a splash of half and half.
3. Reading // This is probably my favorite part of the morning. I take my cup of tea back into the bedroom, prop myself up against a couple pillows, call my dogs up on the bed and read for 10-15 minutes. There is something so luxurious about sipping tea and reading on a weekday morning. I absolutely love this ritual and do everything I can to do this every morning. I choose to read books that are fairly easy to put down after a few pages and that provide some sort of inspiration. To date, my favorite has been The Happiness project by Gretchen Rubin.
4. Music // It doesn’t have to be your favorite song, you don’t need to know the words, and you don’t have to blare it. I normally grab my iPad and turn on Songza before I jump in the shower, and I’m able to listen to a good 40 minutes of music while I get ready in the morning. I listen to anything from Motown to 60s rock to 90s hip hop, and I’ve never regretted listening to music in the morning. Sometimes music influences what I choose to wear, a hairstyle or my mood. The power of music is real, give it a shot.
5. Dressing // I love clothes and getting dressed is usually fun for me. When I’m rushed, I have a tendency to recycle outfits and leave the creativity out of it. That’s the worst. Making sure you have ample time, to assemble a look that makes you feel fashionable and polished, is important. I like to lay out my clothes after my shower and give myself enough time to mull it over, try it on and make tweaks if necessary.
6. Snuggling // When I get up in the morning, my husband is on his way out, so I get a goodbye kiss and then it’s just me and the pups. My dogs are my fur babies, this is true. I always make time for them in the morning. I take them outside with me to water the plants, I snuggle them while I read, and sometimes I capture adorable moments on my phone. If you have a pet, make time for them in the morning. If your life is anything like mine, you’re away from home all day long, and they love your attention, so be sure to give them some extra love in the morning. It’ll do you just as much good as them.
Make it a great Monday!