Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Young House Love LOVE

Last night was a dream night! If you've been reading this blog for any length of time now you've probably heard me refer to Young House Love as inspirations for a lot of our house projects and even as an inspiration for this blog. They are a DIY couple who started a blog about 8 years ago to document their kitchen renovation. They ended up getting so much support and such a following they were able to quit their jobs and blog full time. They stopped blogging about a year ago to achieve a better work/life balance but still have a huge fan base.

They just released their second book and are currently on a nationwide book tour and yesterday they were in RALEIGH!!! I was so excited when I saw the announcement that they were coming to Raleigh and I immediately put it on my calendar. 

Now prepare yourself for a half dozen paparazzi creeper pics. 

I went with Madi and Lily who were awesome to go with because they were both just as giddy excited as I was. After we had our books signed we just stood in the corner watching the and gushing about them for the next 20 minutes. Seriously guys.....we were fan girling pretty hard. 

When we got up to meet them they were as nice as we expected them to be. We talked about cupcakes then I told Sherry that I was going to touch her. True story. Awkward hand on the shoulder. Worth it. 

Signing the guest book for them.

Then came the thrill of the night. I instagrammed our group shot and Young House Love hearted it and commented on it! I screamed, Derrick came running because he thought something was wrong, then he jumped up and down with me.

Best night ever! You should order their book. I'm trying to be disciplined and get some work done today so I'm rewarding myself with book breaks. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Grass Babies

We're working on our yard again. This year I'm trying not to miss that teeny tiny window that you get in the spring and fall to seed the lawn and transplant bushes. We decided to pay to have our lawn aerated and seeded this year. I tried in the spring and the aerator is too big to fit in our car and the cost of seed really adds up so when our lawn people called and said they'd aerate, seed, and fertilize the entire lawn for $150 Derrick and I decided that was a pretty darn good deal.

We're also entering the busiest 6 weeks of our year so far with 6 weddings, 2 of which are a flight away, work is picking up for me, and we have a lot of visitors in and out of the house for the next 6 weeks. Both guest rooms plus the air mattress have been and will continue to work overtime. This schedule meant Derrick and I were working in the yard Sunday at 6:30 PM in the rain in order to get the lawn prepped to be aerated on Monday morning.

This is what the front of our house looked like when we moved in. It was fine. But then all those bushes grew!

Here is another shot. See that tree on the right corner? Anyone that parked in our driveway would run into that tree when they got out of the car. This does show how pretty and green our grass can be. Sigh.

Fast forward to yesterday. We removed that tree in the spring and it looked a lot better and was no longer a hazard when getting out of the car. I also trimmed up all the bushes but what I've learned is the yard is pretty high maintenance and I just don't have time to work on it as much as I'd like. I do want it to look good though. So I decided that the entire row of plants in front of the sidewalk needed to go and turn into grass. I looked at a lot of houses in our neighborhood and a lot of them are like that. It looks nice and clean and then you can really focus on just making those back beds look good.  Also, look how bad the grass looks.

You're going down!

Derrick worked on getting the old tree root out while I pulled all the bushes up. Then we worked together on the rose bushes. The entire top layer of dirt came up here...the root systems of those roses and that tree were crazy!

I think it already looks better!

Last night Derrick and I got some straw to put over the seed. I'm not sure why but I've seen it done before and we're willing to try anything to get our grass growing.

Oooooo. Ahhhhhhh. Better right? Just nod and agree all you skeptics!

I did notice some poop in our yard...either deer or I put out a patrol to scare those critters away from our fresh seed! Crosby refused to be a team player and sit out there all day so I had to go with the next best thing.

I've read online that seed takes about 3 weeks to germinate. We're in the middle of a crazy rainy right now so the soil is nice and damp. We'll keep you posted on how it grows.

Monday, September 28, 2015


We did a lot of weekending this past weekend. Family, friends, weddings, and yard work.

Jay and Jack both came up to visit and Derrick and I celebrated with two sets of friends getting married. Yep, two! Our friend Evan married his love Kim and CK and Irene got married on the same day. As excited as we were for them it was really tough to have to choose between weddings. We ended up going to Evan and Kim's ceremony and then attending CK and Irene's full wedding and reception which started an hour later just 5 minutes away.

Here is proof that we made it to Evan and Kim's wedding! Well that Alison and I made it :)

CK and Irene's wedding was gorgeous and so perfectly them! It felt like they just picked everything they loved instead of going by tradition and it was amazing! For instance, his tuxedo was maroon! Her dress was blush! And the bridesmaids dressed were gold sparkle. They also walked down the aisle to the electric guitar playing Phil Collins "In The Air Tonight."

CK and Irene chose this super cool new venue in downtown Raleigh. I believe they were the first wedding here and there is a restaurant downstairs owned by the same company that is known for its food. Needless to say, the food at the wedding was incredible! It was southern comfort food: chicken, short ribs, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. It was soooo good. They had to roll us back downstairs so we could dance it off.

The DJ was awesome (a friend of CK and Irene's) and the dance floor was rocking all night. Their dog Lily was even being passed around.

On Sunday I showed some houses while the boys talked fantasy football and then we headed into Durham to do another escape room!

And guess who also joined us!?! The newlyweds!! The Kellys!!! We did a 90's themed escape room and escaped with 9 minutes to spare. It was a really fun one. We got to throw back to the Spice Girls, pogs, and the Oregon trail.

A few other pics from the weekend.

Birthday presents for Jack!

We ordered a custom picture of Crosby for the collage wall and it finally came in!

Friday, September 25, 2015


So, Jack turned 21 on Wednesday. 

Just kidding.  That's not what this post is about.

I finally converted our kitchen trash cans to roll outs! Our kitchen doesn't have a great spot for a trash can to sit out. The only spot that really makes sense is next to the refrigerator but that's where Crosby's spot is. 

So we've always kept our trash cans in this lower cabinet next to the sink.

 No one ever knew where they were and trash would always end up in recycling so I ordered these adorable trash and recycling cut outs for the doors.

We had our eye on this system from Lowe's. We had waited to pull the trigger because we'd need two of them and then also two mounting kits which were $20 each so it wasn't necessarily a cheap project. I received the nicest thank you gift from some clients/friends that included a very generous Lowe's gift card so it was the perfect reason to go for it. 

They came like this. Fully assembled in the box, trash can included. And then a separate door mounting kit. 

Basically you just screw the sliders into the bottom of your cabinet. You're supposed to install the mounting brackets after you screw it into the cabinet but ours was a pretty tight fit so I wanted to make sure the brackets were positioned so they wouldn't peak out when the doors were closed.

I took the cabinet door down, removed the hinge hardware, and then used these stickies (included in the kit) to temporarily position the door and hold the door in place while I screwed the brackets into place. Our kitchen doors have hidden hinges which was perfect because I didn't have holes to fill so consider that if you're thinking about doing this project. I think I still would have done it, it just would have added a few more steps.

Keeping it real. Project time looks like this.....always. Please tell my why I chose to do the entire project without closing the dishwasher door.

Done with the first one! This is the time of the project where I high-fived Crosby and then realized I had to do it all over again. It's like the second curtain, or the last cushion in a set. The first one is challenging and fun to figure out. The second one is a pain and you're over it.

The second one proved to be more difficult, of course. The sliders didn't line up perfectly straight, and door stickies weren't sticking, and I may have scratched the door a little bit. After a bit of trouble shooting it all turned out OK. And now we can do this!

I LOVE this! I can just slide things off the counter into the trashcan! And these cans are 7 ounces bigger then the other ones we had in there which, as it turns out, is a hugely noticeable difference. We've gotten used to emptying the trash regularly and the small cans never bothered us but this is a huge luxury to have these giant trash cans!

Now I just need to darken my trash and recycle signs and we're officially done being trashy over here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

One Year Later

It's been one year since Derrick and I took on the biggest debt of our lives.

Actually it was a year ago on Friday but I was out of town. I thought I'd recap some of what I've learned and how we're feeling a year later.

Here is our house on the day of our inspection. This view is pretty much exactly the same except for browner grass and more weeds.

I used to always start getting the itch for a change of scenery after about a year of living in one place. I guess it's because college makes you feel so nomadic and I moved every year for most of my college years. It wasn't long after moving into our apartment that I was on the MLS every night looking at houses and imagining buying one one day.

I have to say, a year later I don't have the itch to move at all. I still love our house and I love making it ours. I think it helps that I can change the house and do whatever I want to to it so I always have a giant list of projects that I want to do. Every project kind of feels like an exciting new fresh start so instead of wanting to move to get a change of scenery I'm getting a change of scenery every time I paint a room or get a new piece of furniture.

Here's are a few thoughts on being a home owner to our particular little house.

1. Our location is AWESOME. We love it here. Now when I look at houses that are more then half a mile to a grocery store I can't help thinking how inconvenient that would be. First world problems? I think so. We can walk to a grocery store, Wednesday night trivia, to fill up our roo cups, and to grab dinner at several dog friendly restaurants. We've also been known to jog for bagels on the weekends. Those days I feel particularly hip.

2. Yard work is hard! We have .27 acres and I already see the value of those zero lot line houses or townhouses. That being said, I wouldn't change it yet. I think we'll love having  a yard with kids....especially with woods in the back that they can explore and collect snake and spider bite immunities. But for now, keeping up with the weeds and trying to keep our grass green is proving more difficult then I originally thought. It doesn't help that summer is when it all goes crazy and our schedules go crazy at the same time.

Here you'll find our rarely seen and highly coveted weed garden. If you're looking to weedscape contact me for more details and to find out if weedscaping is right for you!

3. Neighbors. I wish we knew our neighbors better and I'm making an effort to make more conversation. Our neighbor directly to our right is great and we chat regularly but we don't really know anyone else besides getting/giving a friendly wave. A house on our cul-de-sac just closed yesterday and I've already got cookie mix ready for when I see the moving truck in an effort to make a good impression and meet some more people.

4. House Maintenance: We've been very lucky that we haven't had any major issues. We've had to call our home warranty to repair our heat once and replace two sets of toilet guts but other then that we've been pretty good. There is one spot of rotted wood I want to get addressed before it spreads but we've been lucky. That being said, our house turns 9 next year so we're approaching some system failures I'm sure.

5. Paint colors: I'm still on the fence about the paint colors in our house. We've painted our master bedroom, office, laundry room, and super bowl room stripe. The green in the living room is growing on me.

I'm still not sold on the green in the guest room even though everybody tells me they like it.

Other then that we're slowly weeding the brown out of our lives. The office is brown no more, I have plans for the dining room, and the foyer/superbowl room will just have to stay for now because it's two stories tall.

6. Speaking of downstairs guest room. LOVE it! We use it so much. We must have someone staying in our guest room at least 3-5 times a month and it's so nice that they have their own space and bathroom.

Ok, now I feel like I'm just rambling. Long story short we LOVE our house and are never ever moving! Everybody says we will and that we'll want to upgrade or downsize or whatever but right now I am happy to be blissfully naive of any future desires to move.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Gen Blue Recap

Chicago was an awesome experience! Much more then I expected. I was so nervous going into it because I just wasn't sure what to expect but I ended up meeting some awesome people and coming home feeling refreshed and ready to get back to business! 

Coldwell Banker was very good to the 30 under 30 recipients. The opening session was at the Chicago Theater and each of the 30's and a guest had reserved seating right down at the front. That in itself felt like the royal treatment because the theater was packed! The best part? Free popcorn for the show!

The theater was booming with a DJ and some great speakers that came to get us ready for the week. They had the 30's stand to be recognized which was pretty cool. After a second I realized they were projecting a live video of us up on the big screen so I tried really hard to act normal and not stare at myself on the big screen. You know you do that when you facetime! After the session our CEO Eb Moore treated all the HPW agents to dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant. We ate well while we were in Chicago!

Mom was an excellent travel partner and found us an awesome room right on the lake at the W Chicago. 

The next morning was the 30 under 30 awards breakfast where we were greeted by CEO of Coldwell Banker Budge Husky, Chief Operating Officer Mike Fischer, and Chief Marketing Officer Sean Blankenship. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast, got to meet all the other 30's and received our awards. I think I started a pointing at yourself trend :) 

I managed to stay on my feet the whole way up to accept my award! 

Coldwell Banker had reserved the entire AMC theater for our break out sessions so we had comfortable and tiered seats for our full day of learning. It was pretty perfect and Mom even grabbed a photo of the 30's being flashed on the screen before the session started. Definitely not too proud over here.... :)

After the sessions we had reservations with some others from my office at Gibsons. Wow! I don't typically frequent restaurants that bring raw cuts of meat to show and tell before ordering. That's the mark of fancy place. It was delicious! 

I ordered the small prime rib. The SMALL! This steak was 2 inches thick and as big around as my head! I felt really bad not eating it all but I had no chance. It was amazing!

And for dessert he carved a gigantic mountain of ice cream for us. Commence the food coma.

On Friday the 30's were invited to an Elite session with the other top producers in Coldwell Banker. It featured speakers brought in just for us including a gentleman from google and the incredible keynote speaker Gayle Lemmon. Tesla was also there representing. I don't have much care for cars one way or another but even I know this is a pretty car.

We also had a very cool chocolate and whiskey tasting. This was my first shot of whiskey ever. I'm more of a thin mint martini girl as you can see in the photos above. It buuuuuurrrrrrrnnnnnnnneeeed!

Friday night was the closing part at none other then Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears! Here I am teaching Weston ( a fellow 30 under 30) that every sports venue should be graced with a Wolfpack sign.

Mitch is a fellow 30 under 30 from Seattle and came sporting his Seahawks gear as well.

One of the coolest things they had was 360 camera. This thing was amazing and so fun! I think I went in three times but this one is definitely my favorite.

The best part of the week was getting to know the other 30 under 30 winners. Seriously, these are some awesome people and they are all so deserving of this award! Everybody was so down to earth and so fun to be around. I feel very honored to be included in this group and hope to stay in touch with them in the future!