Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It Has Begun

The busy Thanksgiving week has started! Travis and Claire came into town last week and stayed for a few days which was awesome. Our schedules never seem to slow down so it's nice to have them stay with us so we can see them in between the running around we all seem to be doing when they come to visit. 

 On Saturday we have our family Christmas gift exchange with Derrick's family. Leanna and Kevin are only in town until the day after Thanksgiving and won't be back for Christmas so we celebrated Christmas before Thanksgiving. Derrick and I got matching Star Wars ornaments during the dirty Santa ornament exchange

Derrick must really be rubbing off on me. Before we got together I didn't' know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek. I'm not saying I can tell you the difference now but I do feel like there has been a lot of Star Wars in our life recently!

Alison stayed with us the past two nights and we had a great day shopping and running errands yesterday. I only have this pic of the dogs to show for it though.

Jay got in last night, Jack gets in tonight, and then people start piling in on Wednesday. It's going to be a full house! We're looking forward to it!

I should probably go buy the turkey now though......

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Greener Grass

Is anyone else out there skeptical about growing grass? I was pretty sure it was all a giant scam and that our grass was not going to grow at all. I mean, come on. We're supposed to take a patch of dirt and make it into a beautiful grassy landscape with a handful of seeds?? No way.

We started here, with a half dead tree that blocked anyone getting out of their car. Step one was to remove that tree.

That was better but really we realized that we didn't love that bed in front of the sidewalk at all. It was messy, created extra work, and really prevented us from throwing ball with Crosby in the front yard because she would get muddy and drag the mulch all over the place.

So then Derrick and I dug up the entire bed just in time for our yard to be aerated and seeded. Look how bad our grass looked!

Well now, I am happy to report our yard is looking pretty freaking fantastic!

It got out of hand for a while. We were nervous to start cutting our baby grassies and then it rained for weeks at a time over and over again so all of our grass got longer and longer. We let it get so out of hand that our mower wasn't going to handle it so we called in a professional yesterday. He was AWESOME! If you are in the triangle area and need a name, let me know! We typically do all our own mowing/edging/trimming but we ended up hiring out twice this year and it's nice to get it back to baseline every once in while. I think we'll probably do that every year, maintain our self but hire out two to three times a year to really get it good.

He spent 2.5 hours here yesterday morning. I think he cut the grass three times with three different tools, plus he raked all of our leaves and blew all of our grass up and all the debris out. It was perfect timing because the painters had really squashed our grass into the mud around the perimeter of the house. He was worth every penny and he wasn't even that expensive so I paid him a little more then he asked because he was here so long and did such a great job.

Look at our baby grasses all grown up! You can still see it's thinner in this area but especially now that the rest of the grass is mowed down to the same height it almost looks uniform! I think we'll have to re-seed again the spring to thicken it up but I am SO happy with this decision to grass this area. I'm also very protective of my baby grassies! I kept moving the painters things off of them and asking them not to step on them.  


Look! The yard guy yesterday even trimmed around this thing! I don't even know what this thing is and I've chosen to pretend it doesn't exist because I don't know what to do with it! He actually made it look OK! I'm telling you, we're definitely hiring this guy again!

I posted this picture on instagram earlier today. This is my favorite time of year at our house because this tree in the front yard goes ombre! I love it even more with our fresh new grass and new house color!

Monday, November 16, 2015

So Fresh and So Clean

I love our house.  I love it. I am so relieved! The day I knew the actual siding was getting painted I had butterflies in my stomach as soon as I entered the neighborhood because I was so nervous I would regret the color choice. We didn't even go crazy on the color! But when you're spending that much money and painting something that big that you have to live with for the next 15 years it feels like a monumental decision and I was nervous!

I won't keep you waiting!

It is the exact grey I wanted! Some greys go blue and some greys go brown. I wanted a true grey and I wanted it to be dark so our white trim popped but not so dark that our black shutters got lost in it.  I say I wanted because Derrick let me pick the color scheme. He did get called in and consulted on the specific grey we picked though. Spot on!!! Derrick and I are patting ourselves on the back and backing out of our driveway more slowly then normal so we can admire it!

And here is where we started:

 Improvement rating: 100000000000000006%.

The tan was fine. It was fiiiiiinnnnnneeeee. I never loved it but it fit well in our tan tan tan neighborhood. I am LOVING being the grey sheep of the neighborhood now though!

We ended up going with CertaPro painters. You've probably heard of them, they are a pretty big company. I was most impressed with their overall quote process and customer service and they were willing to match a lower quote I had received although their quote was still pretty competitive. They contract out painters so our project manager was Armin and he was great! Super communicative and he fixed a few spots I wanted him to re-touch without question.

We met with a color consultant provided by Certa Pro and together we picked out Pavestone Grey. It's the bottom one here. We got a few samples the next day and I immediately didn't like it on the house so it was between Acier and Dovetail which are both the original ones I had in mind.. Acier and Dovetail are on the same paint chip, one above the other. In the end Derrick and I went with our gut and chose Dovetail. You can see why it was so nerve wrecking though! We had to pick an entire house color based on these two boards and it was of course raining for a week straight so we couldn't see it in the sunlight first. This was under our covered front porch.

The painters started on Wednesday and just wrapped up last night around 6 PM. You can see in this picture without the shutters how much our original color had faded.

We had our windows taped off like this for two days so they wouldn't get paint on the glass. It was a little creepy inside not being able to see out at all. 

The two dark spots on our trim that started this whole thing were in fact wood rot. Armin dug out about four feet of rotted wood in each spot and I am very glad to have caught them early. They also found two other spots that needed to be replaced so hopefully we're good to go for a while!

I still need to order another "Hello" for our front door. They had to remove it to paint the door but I loved it so I'm bringing it back. 

This morning our yard finally got mowed too so we are looking so FRESH right now!!! Hope you love it too!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Naked House

Our house is naked! 

Step one of house painting has begun. They showed up, took all of our shutters off, and power washed the whole house. 

It revealed a little bit of a mess. 

Guess that's why we're doing this though! We've just been through over a week straight of rain so if the weather can stay sunny for us for the next week like it's forecasted we'll hopefully have a brand new house before Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chair Makeover

Check out this sweet chair I found on the side of the road!

Nikki and I were driving around on the parade of homes and I slammed on the brakes when I saw it. It had been raining for a week straight but it was sturdy and adorable. I let it dry out for a few weeks and it turns out the only reason it was sturdy was because the seat slats were so swollen with rain. Once it dried out they shrunk down and we had a problem. 

So, a little wood glue and some metal braces later and we were back in business. Dear Santa, Laurie wants a kreg jig for Christmas!

Once the chair was sturdy I sanded the whole thing down. My electric sander wasn't great in all the little grooves and I was lazy so those didn't get sanded as well but I did wipe everything down really well with a rag before priming.

I decided to do a graphic pattern on the chair and used leftover paint that we had on hand. I used the blue from the office and then a sample pot of some green I had left over.

And the finished product! I still need to put a coat of poly on it. It's a kids chair so I imagine it will not be used gently and a coat of poly will hopefully help it last. I'm not sure if Ellie can sit in it without straps yet, I guess we'll find out, but our friend's son Sam definitely can!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Monday night Derrick and I passed this in the 75% off bin at the grocery store and I have been thinking about him ever since. So, today I went and picked him up. I was shocked he was still there!

I think Butt-Kin looks pretty good next to our other three pumpkins. Especially our moldy one.

I hope they make it to Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Change is Coming

The great thing about being a realtor is I've picked up lots of house knowledge that will help Derrick and I in our own home ownership endeavors. The bad thing about being a realtor is I've picked up lots of house knowledge that will keep me in a constant state of paranoia about our own home ownership.

So it only makes sense that when I saw a small area of wood rot outside of our superbowl window I went into full preventative maintenance mode and we are now getting our ENTIRE house painted.

This is a bit more justified then it seems.  First off, I've seen how quickly wood rot can take over your house and then all of the sudden you're paying more to make the repairs then you could have just to paint and prevent the problem in the first place. I've also noticed that 5 other houses in our neighborhood have painted this summer which means we're clearly not the only ones having this problem. Our house is 9 years old and still has the original builder paint on it (which isn't always the best quality). So, we got a few quotes and painting starts on Monday!

Well actually, power washing starts on Monday and painting starts after that. Total it should be about a week long process. I'm pretty excited! I've never been crazy about our exterior paint color. It's one of several shades of tan that make up most of our cookie cutter neighborhood. After getting some recommendations and reading up on it we were going to need to do two coats of paint anyway which means we could change the color for no extra charge! And we are making a big change. Nothing crazy or super out of the box, but a big change.

Choosing an exterior paint color is intimidating! This is not a cheap project and it's not as easy as re-doing it ourselves if we turn out to not like it. If all goes well we won't have to re-paint for 10-15 years so this is a big commitment and we don't want to be the black sheep of the neighborhood. I've been using the Sherwin Williams color studio program to play around with a few colors and see what they would look like on our house. Unfortunately Derrick ruled these two out from the start. 

It's Ok...I don't think our HOA would have gone for it.

We have picked a color but I'm not revealing it until later. That way the only thing you can tell me is "I Love It!" Too many opinions can make the decision harder and I know it won't be everybody's taste but we think it's going to look pretty good. The only other person that got input, besides Derrick and I of course, is my mom because a girls gotta consult her mom on these types of things. And my mom happens to have a pretty good design eye so it was a win-win.

I'll check in next week with an update of how it's going. Hopefully the rain holds off because so far it's been a pretty wet week!

Monday, November 2, 2015


Two Fridays ago Derrick and I went to our next to last wedding of the year to celebrate our friends Bryan and Kate! So many of our frisbee friends were at this wedding so it was especially fun to go and let loose with all of them.

Bryan went to NC State and Kate went to UNC so they are officially a house divided. I loved their exit from both the church and the reception. Everybody chose their allegiance and they walked out under a balcony of pom poms!

The reception was super fun and featured a photo booth.

The reception venue was in downtown Raleigh and very cool. It was small enough to feel intimate but there was still plenty of dancing room. and you know I loved the twinkle lights!

Red. Duh.

Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Conklin!! Thanks for having us!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Happy Halloween!! Just a little late but we have so much left over candy we're still feeling the halloween vibes over here. Crosby dressed up in what we believe to be her best costume yet!

Do you know what she is? I bet Derrick's family does and my family doesn't. It's from Star Wars. She's an AT-AT or as we call her an AT-AC. All Terrain Armored Crosby. Here is her inspiration.

Spot On. She was clearly very into it.

This year I was looking forward to our trick-or-treaters because we had such a good turnout last year. But...when you get offered NC State football tickets 3 rows from the field you don't say no.  So we left a sign and two buckets of candy on the porch and headed to the game!

Kevin was offered 4 tickets so he invited his brother, Derrick, and I along. The seats were amazing and the game was pretty awesome. Even though we lost there were about 13 total touchdowns and 3 blocked kicks. It was a roller coaster of a game and I'm excited we got tickets to such a good one!

Look how close we were to the field!!!

It was homecoming so they had a few special things planned like this red white and blue fly by. It was also fun because so many people were dressed up. We saw batman, pizza, a colony of penguins, and some very scary masked bank robbers. We also sat right behind "Chuck Amato!"

Despite the loss we had a great time. I forgot how fun the games were. So much energy and so much Wolfpack pride!

When we got home we expected all the candy to be gone and possibly even our buckets but we have SO MUCH CANDY! Please, someone come over and eat it! I don't even like Laffy Taffy. Next year I'm only getting candy we like in case this happens again.