wonderfully made: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bloggy friends

It will take a few days to make enough progress on the new house to share, so I want to share some of my favorite blogs with you! If you are new to blogging or reading blogs, I can't say enough that you should find a community of blogs to follow. They offer inspiration, new ideas, and fun stories. 

Like I've mentioned before, Young House Love is one of my all-time favorites. I don't remember exactly how I found their blog, but it has been a staple of mine for what I think is about two years. The first post I read was this one. They removed the 'non baby-safe' stove out of their second home. Since then, they have redone that entire kitchen, built a deck, sold the home and bought a new fixer-upper! It really doesn't feel like I've been reading their blog for over two years because I'm always excited about their content. I love that they are down to earth with their posts and explain each thing step by step. I have learned a myriad of new tips and tricks and I tend to not shy away from DIY projects after reading about their experiences. They are always positive and gung-ho and treat their readers like family! They take the time to respond to your questions and even pass on giveaways to their readers because they don't accept "freebies" for their blog. YHL does it right! Here are John, Sherry, and Clara in their blog picture:

I started reading all of these blogs at about the same time, so I've been following most of these for about two years. I like to get my girly fix from Pink Lou Lou. I stumbled across her blog and was overwhelmed with blonde, pink, and Carrie Underwood. While Miss Lou Lou isn't quite my style, I love that she embraces all things frilly, sparkly, and girly and I love reading about her! She is OBSESSED with Carrie Underwood and it's hilarious. I was reading when she started her makeup and hair business and I'm so proud of her! She single-handedly makes me want to visit Kentucky and I admire that she is so close with her sisters. She seems like so much fun, has a big heart, and I love reading her blog!

Another girly blog I follow is Love Meagan. She is a super hip, super beautiful blogger living in California. Recently she and her husband were house-hunting in areas outside of Los Angeles and so they went on little getaways to visit the areas like Palm Springs and Lake Arrowhead. I loved reading about their travels! They ended up buying a home in Lake Arrowhead and it is so beautiful! It boggles my mind that they had snow on the ground practically all winter and they were just about 2 hours from Los Angeles. California is an interesting place! Meagan blogs about fashion, DIY, art, and her battle with infertility. She is an honest, down to earth blogger and I love that about her! 

Of course, more of my favorite blogs are these three that are close to me:

My sister Angela blogs about life, happenings, and of course, my niece and nephew! Angela has a degree in English so her blogs are always easy to read and completely free of errors. :) Everyone in our family knows about her blog and is constantly checking to see pictures of the kids or a funny story! 


Andrea is Mark's sister, and she has a super cute blog! She blogs about our two nephews and new niece Griffin. There are always loads of sweet pictures on her blog!

Emily is an adventurous friend of mine that blogs about everything she finds joy in. She loves to travel and is always dreaming of her next stop. Emily also enjoys fashion and beauty so she shares her tips with her readers! She is new to blogging like me so I'm excited for us to grow our blogs together!


Go check out all of these blogs and check back here tomorrow for more house news!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We're in!

Good morning!

First things first:

We got our keys!!!! Yes, we have done a full walk-through of the house and it is officially officially ours, if it wasn't already. The sellers left some soaker hoses, pots, a composting bin, leftover paint and tiles, and curtains and curtain rods. Every little extra makes us happy! Believe it or not, we were not looking forward to spending our hard-earned money on soaker hoses!

We have a LOT of work to do, even more so than I originally thought. Of course, most of it is cosmetic like painting or moving light fixtures around, but it will take some time! I'm eager to get started on it tonight so we can move in in a couple of weeks. As we start on projects, I'll share the before and after pictures and the process with you guys. Since we JUST got the house, I don't have more to add right now but tune in the rest of this week. 

In order to not let you leave empty handed, here are some photos from my weekend in Houston.

We ate lunch at Barnaby's Cafe and I had this yummy refreshing lemonade.

We stayed at the Hotel Derek, which had a super modern, funky vibe! 

Here's the birthday girl Emily about to head to dinner!

I really liked this little nook in the lobby of the hotel.

This was the wallpaper in our bathroom. Turns out this is made by one of our former coworkers at David Sutherland Inc. Here is his website

For brunch on Sunday we went to Tiny's #5. It is a popular brunch spot in Houston, along with it's other locations. 

The decor was very European and Restoration Hardware-esque. I'm sure that's part of the reason for the crowd!

This is Sam Houston, a 'founding father' of sorts in Texas. This statue is off the highway in Huntsville. I'm sure I have a photo of me as a little tot by this statue. Not sharing, sorry!

We had a fun time in Houston and I'm glad we all had the time to get together. Emily's actual birthday is next Saturday so go over to her blog and wish her a happy one! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Kidd Kraddick

Today I want to say how saddened I am at the loss of Kidd Kraddick. For anyone not familiar, Kidd was a radio personality based in Dallas and syndicated on over 75 stations in the US for the last 12 years. He died on Saturday of a reported brain aneurysm while hosting a charity golf tournament for his 21 year running charity, Kidd's kids.

My memories of Kidd go back to my freshman year in high school. My sister (a senior) would drive us to school at 6:45am and we would laugh the whole way. It was perfect because as I'm not a morning person, I wouldn't be ready to talk that early, but my sister and I could bond over the morning show. After that, I listened every day through high school and off and on during college. Once I graduated and started working and commuting, I got back into the show. Over the last year and a half I had been listening on the way to work and then plugging my phone in when I got there and listening until the show ended at 10am. 

A new dog park opened up in town about a month ago. My friend Heather and I went last Sunday and as we sat there chatting, I did a double take as I saw Kidd walking around the park with his little dog. I tried to take a photo but ended up catching him walking behind a fence post. I was too shy to approach him, obviously. 

What I saw Kidd do that day truly changed my view of him. I was never particularly drawn to him but instead just enjoyed the whole cast of Kidd Kraddick in the morning. But on Sunday he walked around trying to pet every dog, even Motley. There was a dog that wanted to be on the other side of the fence with its owner so it was whining and barking to get out. While the rest of us ignored it, I watched Kidd approach the dog and try to console it by petting and talking to it. Although the park was staffed, I saw as he went over to the water area and dragged large water tubs around to refill them after all of the dogs had romped through them. His compassion for the dogs there made me understand his reputation for having the same kind of compassion for children. I didn't realize the effect the day and Kidd's actions had on me until I heard of his death on Saturday night. Since then I've had a cloud over me just thinking of the pain his family, friends, and loyal coworkers are feeling along with the rest of us that simply tuned in to his show Monday-Friday mornings. 

My mornings will never be the same, and I'm not sure when it won't hurt to hear a reference to "must be nice" guy, "eat some corn", "curious johnny", and "too much weight on the chip!" So while I'm not usually affected by "celebrity" news, this one hurts deep and I'll always cherish the memories of Kidd Kraddick. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

House Tour!

Happy Friday! 

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, so I'm giving myself a big pat on the back for blogging for 21 posts ALL in the month of July! I didn't know that I had it in me, but I'm so excited to continue to grow my blog!

I'm finishing out the week with a super fun post highlighting our current apartment. Right now, we technically have two homes, but this is the one we are living in now. Can I call this our vacation home? 

Here is an older picture of our front porch. We moved into this triplex at the end of last July. There are two identical apartments on the bottom and a large 2200 square foot apartment on top. The upstairs apartment is currently for lease, as is ours, if anyone is interested!

I bought a new outdoor rug about three months ago but I don't have the original photo anymore, so here is a post from Instagram expressing my excitement about a rug. I said it's the little things, right? 

(follow me on Instagram, click the link on the left!)

Our apartment is 1 bed, 1 bath with an open floor plan. It is about 950 square feet total. Here is the living room that you walk into:

The house was built in 1920 but was completely gutted in 2011. Most of the hardwoods are original!

Design note: we used to have these awesome floral curtains flanking the front door until the screws in the wall decided to give way about 3 weeks ago and we decided we didn't feel like hanging them up and instead stuffed them in a closet. So just picture something pretty there. Carry on!

We don't use the dining room as a dining room, so I wanted to divide the space somehow. I bought this Ikea bookshelf (on the ground, barely visible) for my last house and it works nicely here as an 18" tall room divider! The cats LOVE these chairs, if that's not obvious...

Instead of a dining room, we have Mark's desk. Can I say again that I am SO excited to have a closed off office space in the new house???

One of the major things that made me want this apartment is the KITCHEN! The owners did a great job remodeling with Ikea cabinets and counters but still made it look like a quality kitchen. I have loved having quartz countertops, a deep sink, a roll-out trash can, a soap dispenser, and all stainless steel appliances. I say that this is "kitchen karma" because my last kitchen was a JOKE. 

This is one of my favorite spots in the house. I'm crazy!

Here is our long hallway where we combined Mark's subway art with my piece of art from my bachelorette party. Kitty is modeling the pool, as you can see.

Our nice, full size bathroom that I will miss dearly is at the end of the hall. The owners kept the charm of the old home with the floor tile and they used subway tile in the shower area. 

There are my Kauai postcards I talked about earlier above the towel ring. We have so many fun towels in here that we got from good friends for our wedding!

Last is our bedroom. In here is the washer and dryer and a nice sized walk-in closet. Everything you see will be transferring to our new house!

And of course, I couldn't finish this post without a Motley sighting! She is modeling my favorite rug and the desk that she so lovingly put her mark on in the early days when she was less trustworthy...

Well, I hope you liked my attempt at a home tour! This is fun to see where we are starting out and track our progress to see where we end up at the new house. I've loved this apartment but I can't wait to have my own home!

Next week we start working on the new house! Have a great weekend!!! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's the little things...

Happy Thursday! First off: I've had some friends and family say that they are having trouble commenting on the blog. I know that it's not impossible because some of you have been able to comment, so the only solution I've found so far is to enable your 3rd party cookies in your internet settings. Try that, test it out, and let me know if you still can't comment! Sorry for the trouble!

Today I want to chat a little about shopping. I'm a girl, I like shopping and talking about shopping, what can I say?! I've given you our big picture ideas for the house, but I want to get into the details today and talk about accessories. I feel like accessories totally make the look whether dressing yourself or dressing up your home. Young House Love, the blog that led me to create this one, is a wealth of accessory knowledge. Sherry, the better half of the husband-wife team, is obsessed with ceramic animals. Check out some from her collection:


While I'm totally there with her on the ceramic animal obsession, I can't say that I am THAT obsessed. I love the ceramic dog and horse head. I have two ceramic elephants and two ceramic birds that say "mark" and "diana" (they were supposed to be our cake toppers but got lost in the chaos), but that about does it for my collection! Either way, ceramic animals are a fun, ever-classic way to add a personal touch to your home.

Another thing I love are throws and blankets. My parents kept their house cold in the winter and I would ALWAYS need a blanket when downstairs watching TV while living with them. I love having them draped across chairs and couches in my house or tucked away in baskets, ready to grab when it gets chilly. I think the right blanket makes a home feel cozy and warm. Here are a few I like:



Another obsession Sherry and I share is our love of pillows. OMG pillows! I think all men despise pillows, as Mark has proved by his weekly pillow complaints: "why do we have all of these?" Sherry writes about cheap ways to freshen up a space, and there's no surprise that adding pillows is number five. Here is the post. I'm obsessed! Here are some fun pillows that I would love to add to my home:

Lovely color combinations-Scales Pillow.
Firenze Velvet Tassel Pillow #anthropologie

Aside from pillows, throws, and ceramic animals, I like to decorate with candles, magazines, books, pictures, flowers(favorite!), and meaningful objects. For example, Mark and I bought some postcards in Kauai on our honeymoon and they are in hanging in our bathroom. I just love seeing them in there every morning and it's something I want to make into our own tradition. I also like bringing natural wood in when it isn't already prevalent in the architecture of the home. I think natural wood accents bring more warmth into the home. I have wood shelves, picture frames, and kitchen items that help me with that. Here are some examples of what I mean:

White, blue and natural wood accents

gorgeous swedish kitchen - lots of white with natural / wood accents

Den colors- soft blue, burnt orange, gold, and white/ natural wood accents

As I said, I feel accessories make the space. How boring would that space above be without pillows, throws, art, and objects? Snooze. I like to find knick knacks and HomeGoods and Target, but you can pick them up almost anywhere. Boutiques have unique items and there is always a treasure waiting at Goodwill or thrift stores, garage sales, and the like. Just keep your eyes open! My advice is to stay away from the trendy items but go for something that speaks to you and carries some sort of meaning, or is something that you just really love and can mix and match throughout your home for years to come. 

I hope to get some photos of our current apartment before we start packing up to show you more of my style and show you how I make a house a home. Stay tuned for that!

If you have a place that you like to find accessories, share it with me!

Update: Can I just say how honored I feel with Sherry's response and the fact that she read my post?!!??!!! eeeek!!!! (ignore my lame sounding comment on their post!)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Americanadian dream fulfilled!

We did it!!!

We are officially HOMEOWNERS!!!

Here's proof: 

The closing process was not as bad as everyone makes it out to be although we did sign our names and initial no less than 50 times! The title company walked us through everything and it was easy to understand. The whole process only took about an hour! 

Also, the title company presented us with an American flag and pole to hang outside our house after we closed. I am so excited!!!!

I celebrated our closing in true fashion:

Now what? Now we wait. We signed a "lease back" contract with the sellers which means they have the house for five more days while we pay the tax and interest on the home. It works out to about $150 total out of closing costs for those five days, which isn't bad considering we got their washer and dryer as part of the contract.

So we officially get our keys and possession of the house on Tuesday and we will be doing the happiest dance ever!  

Our plan is to get as much painting and little fixes done in August as we can before we have to move in. When we started looking for a house, we were able to tack on an extra month to our apartment lease. Before, it would have ended on July 31 and now instead we don't have to vacate until August 31. Plenty of time to paint, decorate, and get settled, I think! 

My next few posts will be more conceptual ideas and after we get the house I will take some empty house pictures and start sharing all of our projects with you! Can't wait!