Simple Pleasures

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason… painted nails just make me feel so put together.

Among other random, relatively petty, and unimportant things, one rule that I live by is this – and it is NOT negotiable:

Toes should NEVER NOT be painted.

Case in point…

**shivers.  Gah-ROSS!

Here we go… let’s try that again:

Theeeeere we go.  Much better. (sorry… can’t turn the stinking pic for some reason)

And fingernails… they can be naked.  It’s no big deal, really.  But having them painted?

It just makes me feel so… grown up, I guess?

(please disregard my messy closet in the background… *le sigh)

Let’s not get too crazy… to be clear, I am so NOT one of those people who coordinates their nail colors with their outfits or accessories or anything like that.  I just pick a color probably once a week and go to town.

I’ve been on a pretty good streak of painting, too, ever since my bloggy friend Lindsay over at Learning To Be A Wife posted about her love of painted nails and the simple joy it brings her and reminded me of me long-lost love of “grown up” nails.  So for the past… 6 weeks now, I believe, I have stuck with it.  And it really does make such a difference.

On the days where I feel pretty shambled and not even remotely put together, seeing my painted nails typing on the keyboard brings back a little of that cheeriness, and is usually just what I need to get me through the day.

So what about you guys – what little things get you guys all cheery?  Any quirky little habits that we should know about?  Come on… we’ve all got ’em.  Be honest!  🙂

~Hope

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Baby Steps

We’ve talked about adoption for years.  It’s just been “the plan” for quite a while, now.  But it’s always been an “in the not-too-distant-future” kind of plan.

Not “today” yet because:

  • we are getting ready to move to another state
  • we have a ton of debt to pay down
  • we have to save up the money for the costs involved
  • we can’t afford for me to stay home full-time
  • and whatever else comes up that week

It’s not at all like we were putting it off.  On the contrary, in fact.  We have been ready for a really long time.  Both of us.  But I think if I’m completely honest, we’ve just been waiting for everything to align perfectly before “pulling the trigger”… and I think we are really realizing that this will probably never happen.

So we had a really good talk earlier this week and…

We are ready.

And this time, I don’t mean ready to just keep being ready.  But we’re ready to start down this path.  Ready to take our Baby Steps… steps toward bringing home our little one.

We are going to take our first step off of the path we are currently on and start really putting the work in to make this happen.

Currently, we are researching domestic adoption agencies (and actively looking for recommendations, if anyone has any!) and seeking out updated information on costs, especially since we’re still new to Texas.  And we’re also hoping to start collecting information on any/all available tax breaks, grants, adoption loans, etc. and to see what we can qualify for with our combined income and whatnot.  And we are counting people at these places, too.  Which is a huge step forward for us.

It’s really exciting.  I’m not sure why, but it feels so much more… real!  Submitting requests for adoption information packets from various organizations is quite an awesome step for us.  It doesn’t just feel like yet another thing sitting in our tomorrow basket, but it feels like we’re really on our way.  We’ll actually be answering questions and filling out applications and… really, truly getting the ball rolling. Eek!

It will definitely take time – the average wait for domestic adoption within the US is around 2 years.  And for those of you unaware, this is why I tend to look at little elephants as a kind of symbol for our little one, as the gestational period for an elephant is about 21 months.

So here we are ready and oh so eager to get this show on the road.  It may not be how we always pictured things playing out, but that’s life, right?  And if we always wait for things to be perfect before we do anything worth while, then we’ll never get there.

Please pray for us.  Please check in with us (I will be MORE than thrilled to answer questions at any time, trust me).  And if nothing else, stick around to see how everything plays out.  I can’t wait to share this journey with you guys!

~Hope

Cash Monies

Fun little fact about me… I hate debt.

I know. I know.  Shocker.  But it’s true.

Although I am sure that no one really likes debt, based on the analysis of Federal Reserve statistics and other government data the average US household carries more than $7,200 in credit card debt alone.  And if you only look at those houses that are indebted, the average credit card debt among these homes totals over $15,600.  According to another source, the worst part is that these averages have stayed roughly the same for over three years, meaning people appear no closer to paying down credit card debt than they were back in 2010.

All of this information tells me that… like it or not, we’re carrying a whole heckuva lot of debt around with us.

And for me, the kicker is this:  according to a creditcards.com poll conducted in early 2013, 85 percent of respondents said they were unlikely or somewhat unlikely to talk with a stranger about credit card debt — a subject more taboo than religion, politics, salary and love life details.

Not only are we in debt, but we’re too ashamed to talk about it.  If the debt were caused by unforeseen medical bills or sudden loss of employment, would we really be quick willing to sweep it under the rug?  I can’t speak for others, but if there were some seemingly legitimate reason, I wouldn’t be so ashamed by it… so in a giant assumption, it makes me think that it’s not something of this nature that’s causing us to rack up credit card after credit card.

According to a TIME article referencing a survey released by the financial monitor Bankrate.com, 28% of Americans have more credit card debt today than they have in a savings fund. That means that if one quarter of Americans even wanted to use their savings to pay off their debts at this moment, they wouldn’t be able to.  And that’s NOT a good place to be.

Something that I found fascinating while looking up some of these statistics was also from creditcards.com and it said that those without credit card debt reported having savings nearly three times greater than average households with credit card debt.

Craziness.

So to me, this points to a pretty good reason why there is such a gap between those with credit card debt and those without – and it seems to be savings.

This may seem like a “duh” kind’ve thing, but think about it… having savings vs. having credit card debt.  Both tend to grow.  Both lead to higher numbers.  Both mean “more” and “bigger” and the only difference is that one is a growing cushion, while the other is a growing deep, black pit.

Anywho – I only brought up any of that, really, to start talking about our current situation.  As I stated at the beginning, I hate debt.  Hate debt.  And I refuse to be one of the statistics and I listed any longer than I have to.

When Studly and I first got married, we had a good bit of credit card and revolving debt.  It wasn’t crazy, but it was probably somewhere around $12,000.  The bulk of this (if not all, frankly) came from paying for our own wedding and honeymoon and also setting up our first home (though we only bought a couch, a mattress set, and a dining room table… the rest of purchased from friends we knew that were selling things).  Regardless of the reason, it was there and we were stuck with it for a while.  Due to our income levels at the time, it took us almost 2.5 years to pay it off (and that included a few situations where we had to add to it because of finances being tight some months).  We had been able to buy our first home during that time as well, but only because of the Hezekiah fund which helped us do so without a down payment (a fact that seemed perfect at the time, but we later regretted).

Needless to say, the day that we paid off our last dollar, I was beyond thrilled!  We went to dinner to celebrate and felt SO free.  I can remember back to that time… it was glorious.  I can’t truly explain to you the feeling, but it really was weightless and so freeing.

From that day forward, we swore we’d never get back into debt like that.  And we did really well!  We saved saved saved and paid for everything in cash.  Anything we put on the credit card, we did so to get the incentives and then we paid hose purchases off the same month.  It was glorious.  Fun fact:  we even paid to fully renovate our kitchen completely with cash.

It.  Was.  Amazing.

And interestingly enough, we were much more choosy with our purchases when we were using cash.  Funny how debt all starts to blur together and you are less frivolous when you are actually pulling cash out of the bank to pay for it.

Then…. this past year happened.

The home that we purchased back in 2008, we lived in until 2013.  Short version: we had some extreme neighbor issues, and decided that we wouldn’t continue to live in the situation, so we rented out our home, and found a rental not too far away.  Preparing the house for tenants after spending a good bit of savings to get into a rental hit our savings pretty hard, but knowing that we wouldn’t be miserable every. single. day. made all of that worth it.  Plus, we knew we’d be able to build our savings back up without too much trouble.  So with little to no savings remaining and now some credit card debt back on us, we set forth to pay the debt down and build the savings back up.

Unfortunately, since we knew we’d be able to do so pretty easily, we also thought that buying a couch was “necessary” because of the layout of the house we now lived in and needing seating for the second living space.  We didn’t go crazy and buy anything stupid expensive, but in retrospect, we should have waited.  This all happened at the end of 2013.

Enter 2014… we discovered that we would finally be moving to Texas and decided that since our tenant’s lease was coming up, we should try to sell the house and get just start over in our new home without any financial ties to the area.  So that meant more money just to wash our hands of the place… we had to prep it to show and sell.  Also, our “awesome” tenants took it upon themselves to do things around the house without asking and/or telling us.  And they were full on proud of themselves for it, too!  What is wrong with people?  The sucky part, we didn’t catch much of this stuff until after we’d said they’d get their full deposit back because we, ourselves, had to do the walk-through since our property management company at the time was absolutely terrible.  So we were stuck footing the bill for everything, which included painting, fixing their deck-staining job and having to suck up the now dented stainless steel refrigerator and carpeting that was “patched” with a piece of non-matching carpeting.  WHO DOES THAT?!

(sorry… movingrightalong)

Then came time for our house-hunting trip.  Due to all of our spending, we knew that we’d take a significant hit with trying to get into a rental in Texas, what with needing to pay a security deposit, application fees, and first months rent all at one time.  But fate intervened and we couldn’t find a rental anyway.  The market for rentals here is so crazy that (and I kid you now) people put in applications on houses without even seeing them first.  Good and notsogood houses, that is.  And we just could not compete with that.

So one day, after quite a rough patch of house hunting… I decided to just have some fun and worked with our realtor to set up a viewing at a house that was for sale.  We had discussed buying and both said we wanted to learn the area better first, so this was really just going to be for fun.  We went to see a house that was way bigger than we would ever need, very nice, and thanks to the Texas real estate market, still somehow within what our budget would be.

And of course… we fell in love.

Enter the cost of buying a home.  Since we weren’t planning on buying, we didn’t really have the money to do so.  But since we were struggling to find a home, period… and since we fell so in love with this house… we figured we would pull from one of our credit lines (which we normally never touched, mind you) to just make it happen.  With our pay not decreasing as we moved into a state without income taxes, we knew we’d have excess money and be able to recoup pretty quickly.  So we made it happen.

Something like 3 short weeks after we move in, Pup got injured and then came the $9000 in vet bills.

We. Were. Strapped.

Neither of us had ever been so strapped for cash.  Not even back when we were single.  And to top it all off, we had already agreed to host Study’s family for the holidays and didn’t even have enough beds for them OR enough chairs for us to even be able to eat together.  So as we slowly started to make the littlest dent in what was now around $28,000 in debt, we’d have to spend more money to uphold something we’d already agreed to (and tickets were already purchased, so there was no backing out, now).

It was really tough.  Very stressful.  And having known what it felt like to be debt free, it was all the more disheartening.  We suddenly felt the weight of it all over again after it snowballed out of control in less than a year.

We made a plan:  buckle down, cut out unnecessary spending, and only get the bare minimum to meet the needs or our impending family visit.  And we stuck to it (which pained my hostess heart, though I knew it was what would be best for us).

Well here we are.  It’s the beginning of February and we’re already had a MAJOR major win.  For those of you who get paid every two weeks, you are more than familiar with he 2 months every year that you get a 3rd paycheck.  It’s a glorious glorious time and it always seems to hit at just the right moment.  Well, for me one of those months was January.  Last month.  And holy goodness did it help.  And to top it all off, I found out that I would be getting a bonus from work as well.  SO unexpected and so so so beyond amazing.  A $1200 bonus, to be more clear.

To recap, in a single month, and the first month post-back-breaking debt culmination, on top of what I would call our “normal” monthly funds to now be put toward debt payoff, I was getting a full extra paycheck AND a $1200 bonus.  GOD IS SO GOOD!

Early in the month of January, we also learned that Studly was getting a raise starting at the beginning of February.  AND I would be getting a 1% increase beginning in February as well.

Guys – I seriously cannot express to you the level of awe we have been in.  God, in his loving and total faithfulness, has met us in this difficult situation.  He has provided for us in such unexpected ways and in a situation that we SO do not deserve.  We got ourselves into this situation with poor planning, the need to instant gratification, and without fully thinking things through from a long-term perspective.  And yet, here we are.

And today I can say with no real way to convey our true feelings about it… that we have officially paid off one entire line of credit, with a value of $5000.  EEEEEEEEEK!!  That combined with our being able to make payments pre-Christmas expenses and by minimizing costs in preparation for everyone coming, we have brought our debt down to $21,000.

There’s still a LOT to pay down, but oh my goooosh it feels so good!!  That’s one huge pile of debt and one entire bill that I can cross off the list.

Our plan going forward is to just continue using a “Debt Snowball” method to knock the rest of it out.  That means, we’ll pay minimum payments on everything except for the smallest total balance, and we’ll apply all extra finances toward that bill each month, now including the minimum payment we would put towards the bill we just paid off.  Then stand back and watch it all dwindle down.

It’ll take time and patience… along with some self-control.  But we’ll get there.

So how’re you guys doing? Any opinions on debt?  Any lucky ducks out there that are living debt free?

~Hope

Our House: Dream vs. Reality

Studly and I are big fans of Craftsman style homes.  We loove them.

I have LONG admired the clean yet comfortable lines of the exterior and how it’s pretty much a must to have a covered front porch.

It’s just gorgeous.  They so easily incorporate both rustic and clean elements which just feels like it screams “HOME!” to me.

And another bonus the fact that almost any interior style would work well with this home style… but especially things that I love love love, such as:

Five-panel doors –

Bulky, yet clean and simple moulding –

Cozy built-ins –

Barn Doors –

Coffered Ceilings –

Large, open kitchen islands –

School house and/or farmhouse lights –

And board and batten –

Basically… our dream home is a classic Craftsman style home.  Unfortunately, that is just not quite our reality.

Here’s what we actually have:

A 100% Spanish Style House.

Now don’t get me wrong, Spanish style homes can be beautiful.

And since I live in Texas, now… I am totally cool with them (am I the only one who finds it strange that someone would build a Spanish style home in the middle of Maryland?).  They at least make sense to me, here.

Fortunately, there are still a lot of ways to incorporate the features I shared above into a Spanish style home without it seeming out of place.  But some of them… not so much.

So there you have it.  Our dream vs. our Reality.  And it could definitely be worse!  One day, it’ll be perfectly “us”… and it’ll be awesome.  In the meantime, I’m daydreaming of ways to blend the two styles together to create a perfect blend of our style and our current house.  After all, we don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

What style homes do you all live in?  What are you dreaming about and what are you thrilled to have in your home?

~Hope

Parenthood – Show and Finale

I know I’m a little late, here, because most people watch shows when they actually come on instead of waiting, but what can I say?!  I’m a slacker.

When it came to the final season of Parenthood, I was a super slacker.  But frankly, it was intentional.

I love this show.

Like… I LURVE it.  For serious.  And when I watch it, one episode never seems to be enough for me.  So then I tend to “save up” and watch at least 2 at a time… especially when it got close to the finale.

This. Show.

It’s been one of the only Dramas that I have watched from start to finish and still wanted more.  And even though there have been other Dramas that I’ve enjoyed, they don’t compare.  It’s such a beautiful show.  It was always so real, instead of just the typical hollywood, in your face, constant or overly-liberal… yada yada yada.  It was just real!  It showed multiple sides to real issues.  It just met people where life actually happens, and not just where it gets people’s attention… and that alone is what then got people’s attention, I think.

Basically, if you haven’t seen the show, then you should absolutely watch it.  And start from the beginning, because there is just so much that you do NOT want to miss.

And if you do follow the show and haven’t seen the final season and/or the show finale, then DO NOT KEEP READING!

***SPOILER ALERT!!***

The ending to this show was absolutely beautiful.  It’s very rare that a show can wrap things up for its viewers, and then to do it well… that is practically unheard of.  But this show?  Oh.  My word.  It was so perfect.

I love that Sarah and Hank got married.  It was perfect.  And their wedding was SO very them and this family.

I loved and so appreciated the peaceful, yet respectable way that they showed Zeek’s passing.

I adore that they jumped forward for everyone, too, and gave us a glimpse into the future –

– Amber’s man with his own child (or their child together?) and still bringing little Zeek’s father back into the picture to show that he got his life together and spent time with little Zeek and was on good terms with Amber and her man…

– Crosby running the Luncheonette and having Amber working with him, then seeing him with his kids and a future-pregnant Jasmine in the studio together…

– The Bravermen 4 finding Adam’s perfect place as Headmaster of Chambers Academy when Julia finds her dream job with the non-profit and then Max getting his diploma…

– The Grahams… Joel and Julie not only being back together and adopting Victor’s half-sister, but then seen happily celebrating together at a future Christmas with even a 4th baby…

– Camille taking the trip and visiting the little french bed and breakfast that Zeek tried to surprise her with earlier in the season…

– And finally, the entire family playing baseball on the field where they sprinkled some of Zeek’s ashes together…

… All of this while you even listened to a much more melodic version of the Show’s own theme song playing over everything (originally Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”).

And I loved every minute of this show.

From the beginning, this show stole my heart with its realness and it’s fearlessness in the handling of very emotional and difficult topics –

– The struggle in pinpointing, diagnosing, and then learning to live with Max’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome…

– Crosby’s period of growing up, from finding out he had a son to suddenly trying to become a father and then a husband, which he wasn’t so natural with…

– Sarah’s journey in finding herself as her children grew and she learned that being a single mother wasn’t her only identity…

– How parenting styles differ from parents to their children and when parents become grandparents, they are sure that they know the best way to do everything and don’t keep that to themselves when watching how their kids fall into those new parenting roles…

– Kristina’s breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and remission and her meeting and watching others that weren’t so lucky…

– Adoption as a whole… thinking you are selected to adopt a baby and then having that plan shattered when the decision is reversed, the real difficulties of adopting an older child and not pretending it’s all easy to suddenly assume an older child as your own, especially when you have other children… and then the sudden possibility of adopting another child, because adoption isn’t something you just pick up and go with randomly like finding our your pregnant is…

– Amber going through the somewhat typical phases of not wanting to listen to a thing her mother or grandparents said, and then acting out and rebelling, and then reeling from those choices and finally discovering more of who she wants to be, and then falling into making some of the same mistakes that her mother made and almost hating herself for it before realizing she can still learn and grow…

– Joel and Julia’s marriage troubles… between whether or not to be a stay-at-home or working mother, to the stress that’s put on a marriage when both careers are going full force and entailing long hours, to moments of doubt in trusting each other and then ultimately to unfaithfulness…

– Camille and Zeek growing older and wanting different things.. Zeek wanting to just enjoy their life the way it is without the requirements of a job, and Camille’s desire to travel and see the world and downsize…

I know I’ve missed so, so many things with this list, but this show – it was just so full of REAL.  Life isn’t scripted, and although this show obviously was, they did an amazing job of catching you off guard at times and choosing to be real and genuine when you thought for sure that you’d be able to predict a typical, hollywood style situational play out.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again – if you haven’t watched this show, then you should.  Even though I’ve talked through much of it, it’s still something that you should absolutely see for yourself.  It’s on Hulu, for sure, but I’m convinced it’s probably almost everywhere.  But if you’re going to watch it, do so from the beginning, because it’s just so full of awesome.

I’ve gone on and on about this show, but it’s just really that awesome.  And for once, a show was wrapped up in such an amazing way that you couldn’t possibly be unhappy with how it finished.  That alone is a good reason to watch it, if you ask me.

Do you watch Parenthood?  Did anyone else see the finale?  What shows are y’all watching these days?  Because I am now in the market for a new one to fill the void.

~Hope

Swoon Party

You see – I am not much of a shopper.  Now, window shopping… I am the queen of window shopping.  But actually purchasing items is not something that I do very often.

Call me a cheap-o, because that is sometime the reason, but mostly… call me lazy.  Shopping can just be so much work.

I know I know… #firstworldproblems

And pointers has helped a lot, that’s for DANG sure.  But I often end up getting burned because things never fit me the way that they do on the cute Pinterest girls.  *le sigh

What’s a girl to do?  This is where window shopping comes in.  But then occasionally (read: not even remotely frequently), I actually pull the trigger.  And when I do, it tends to be for quite a bit of stuff at one time.  Thankfully, that’s allowable because I save up my spending money while I’m window shopping the rest of the year.  So when spending time does come around – I am ready!!  I also tend to use Stitch Fix (which I am so stoked to tell you about!), so that also tends to keep me happy.

I haven’t quite figured out if spending time is coming or not because I have been eyeing quite a few adorable things, lately, that I can’t seem to shake off.  Wanna see?

Of course you do!  😀

Here they are, in no particular order:

1.  THESE shoes.  Oh my WORD they are adorable.  I can already picture so many outfits to wear them with – with skinnies… with bootcuts… and ALLL the sweaters!  Is it just me?  They are so stinking adorable and I love me some TOMs.

(source)

2.  This shirt… I’m pretty sure I could live in this shirt.  It’s completely adorable.  How is it that Anthropologie seems to know exactly what I need?  Aaaaaaand then price it so I really shouldn’t buy it.  *le sigh

(source)

3.  These. Boots. I need them… or something just like them, anyway.  They are perfect and though I don’t normally purchase shoes from American Eagle, this may be worth changing that pattern.

(source)

4.  Oh my word… this top.  Again, Anthropologie… what in the WORLD?!  Have you mastered mind reading or something?  Yeah… ok… I just decided to buy this.  It’s happening.

(source)

5.  Gingham.  ANYthing gingham.  It must have gingham in my wardrobe.

(source)

6.  Almost anything from this site.  The Blue Door Boutique is filled adorable pieces that I am constantly eyeing up.  Case in point… this one.  And I know from experience that they value their customers – when I placed my first order a year or so ago, they included a pair of earring for FREE.  Just for being a new customer.  How cute and just freaking awesome is that?!

(source)

So there ya have it.  I’m currently swooning on a BUNCH of stuff.  And even though the buying doesn’t tend to happen very often, the swooning never ends.

I’d love to know wha you think about these items.  But more importantly – what are you guys eyeing up these days?

~Hope

Build Me Up, Buttercup

When we bought our home, we did so knowing that it was way more house than we would ever need.  Even once we bring home some littles, it’s still a really large house.

Based on the fact that we live in Texas, cost-of-living means that even though our house is large, we didn’t pay a crazy amount of money for it.  In fact, having moved here from Maryland, spending this amount of money on a house was completely standard (on the lower end, probably) and yielded WAY more square footage than it would have back there… and that’s putting it mildly.

But I said all of that to say this… buying a big house means that you are signing up for a LOT of work.  It takes way longer to clean (which I despise anyway), it took a lot more effort to decorate for Christmas, and when it comes to writing out a list of all of the things we’d like to do to fix the pace up… well that list is loooooooooong, people.

One thing that I’ve decided to add to the list this weekend is the Office/Craft Room.  You see – it’s currently packed with stuff.  There’s just stuff… everywhere.  The mess got much better once I actually starting hanging decor around the house since it had been the dumping grounds for all decor-related items when we were unpacking, but there’s still just a bunch of crud sitting aallll over the place.

Here’s the space we’re working with:

OfficeEntrance

It’s right off the entry and has a large, nicely shaped window to let in massive amounts of natural light.

Unfortunately, the previous owners (or the builders… sometimes we can’t figure out who did what) put these cheapy white plantation-style shutters framed around the window, so you lose the nice shape AND the broken shutters keep all of that gorgeous natural light out.  Granted, I could open the shutters, but they are all broken… so it would take manually flipping each piece of wood open by hand and then manually closing each one at night.  And I frankly don’t care enough to do that, especially since I have been avoiding that room at all costs due to its current state.

We currently have so much stuff piled into this room that the only way to deal with it was to shut the doors, keep the shutters closed, and pretend it doesn’t exist.  Obviously.

But in the real world, it needs some serious attention.  It’s even got this massive closet that is just screaming with potential:

ClosetFull

It sits in the corner opposite the window wall and is almost impossible to get a decent shot of.  But I promise I tried!  See?

ClosetInside

Between the lighting and the placement of the current furniture pieces, it’s just not happening.  But hopefully you can still tell how massive it is.  Because once all of that storage stuff is removed, there is going to be “SO much more room for activities!!”  (name that movie!)

Now… daydream with me if you will and go with me to a magical place – an imaginary perfect world.  Let’s first imagine that the walls are not yellow any longer.  This is the same color that 90% of my house is currently painted with, but that’s definitely not going to remain the case.  So that’d be the first thing to go in this room, too.

Then, imagine no more clutter.  Let’s pretend it’s even possible to do visualize that… this is my imaginary perfect world, after all.  And then… picture some built-ins on this window wall.

Shelves on both sides and a window bench below the window itself.  Something perhaps similar to this:

(source)

Can’t you just see it?  And with the curve of the window adding even more visual interest, I think it’d be just gorgeous.  And that it would perfectly bring purpose to this Office.  And brightening up that space with some real natural light – well that will do a WORLD of good in this space.

And check this one out:

(source)

Yeah.  If I wasn’t already, I’m sold on it now for sure.

With the built-ins on that wall, I’ll have to get creative with some things on the wall to its left (looking at the window) so that it doesn’t seem so empty.  But ideally the desk will be on a nice, large area rug and floating in the middle of the room.

And since it’s an office and not a bedroom, I plan to switch out the fan for a nice statement light of some kind… but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen for sure, considering the fact that not having a fan in a room is practically blasphemous in Texas.

Anywho, that’s one more thing on our large list of dreams that we call our “to do” list.  This house may be big, but we really want it to feel cozy and inviting.  And little by little, we will get it there someday.

So let’s hear it – what big house projects are you dreaming up these days?  It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s realistic or if you think you’ll ever get to it, I’d still LOVE to hear about it! 🙂

~Hope

Pushing Through

Today I’m feeling awfully bummy.

And not just because I’ve somehow cracked the code and managed to wear my pajamas all day, but also because I’m in a mood.  Back when I started telling you about our desire to grow our family, I mentioned that although most of the time I go through my days with plenty of pep in my step and without obsessing or focussing on the fact that I’m not “there” yet.  But today… a lot of things are weighing on me.

It started out as a great day, just like most.  When I got up this morning, the sun was shining awfully bright (putting a break in the string of yucky, rainy days we’ve had lately), and I had plans to finally start fiddling with my new Silhouette Craft Machine, which I can’t wait to tell you about.

But as the day went by, I just started to feel more and more weighed down.

It’s not as simple as one might think.  I don’t always know exactly what’s bothering me or what it is that’s making me feel that way, and it doesn’t always start to pile up.  But today it did.  And after spending some time reflecting and doing some evaluating, I think I’ve pinpointed several of the things that are fighting for attention.

First, and most glaringly, our lack of children.  I’m still not allowing myself to obsess over it, but it’s still there.

Then there’s the lack of friendships in our new home area.

And also the fact that we haven’t yet found a church in the area.

Also, not feeling like I have a grasp on everything that we want done in this house, or like I’ll ever realistically pull the trigger on any of the hundreds of projects I daydream about on a regular basis.

This is starting to sound like a lot of whining.  I’m sorry about that.  It wasn’t my intention.  I did, however, promise to be real here.  And that’s really all this is.  The truth is that there’s quite a lot that seems to be getting to me today, and although any of these things on their own wouldn’t be enough to shake me… having all of it seem to creep up to the foreground at once is more than enough.

So today, I am shaken.  I am sad.  I am weighed down by the things in my life that I am less than thrilled about.  And it won’t go on… I can promise you that.  I will let myself have this day and then I will pick myself up by my bootstraps, brush off the glum, and carry on.

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I will be happy.  I will be satisfied with my daily life.  I will be content in the season in which God has me, and I will be grateful for all of the blessing… the ridiculous amount of blessings in my life.  Because that’s what really matters.

(source)

I guess I just feel that sometimes you need to allow yourself to acknowledge the things that you don’t like so that you can get past them and move on.

(source)

How are you all doing, today?  And be honest.  I’m not one of those people who asks and hopes to just get a simple “fine”… I’d rather know how you’re really doing and smile and laugh with you when you’re doing well, cry with you when you’re not, and pray with you through it all.

~Hope

Color Theory, Part III

I finally did it!

I took out the camera (read: not the iPhone) and took some pics of the Master bedroom so that you can see how the color actually translated in our space.  This is the moment of truth… this is when you either decide I’m super crazy and possibly color blind, OR you join me in my sorrow and admit that it’s not just me!

Don’t know about you,butI’m really pulling for that last one.

Anywho, instead of stretching this out too much further I will jump right to the chase.  As a reminder of how far we’ve come, here’s the “before” collage again:

Yeah.  It IS just as bad as you remembered.  That part is unfortunately not only true, but forever burned into my memory.

And now for the big reveal, here’s the “after” picture (and hopefully soon just a “progress” picture in the journey to a winning, permanent color

*drumroll please*

Agh!  See how not warm and greigey it is?  Not. At. All.

Remember, THIS is what we were hoping for when we picked Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter:

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But instead, we ended up with some kind of iced blue-grey color.. which may not be bad for some spaces or tastes, but this is quite a large room, and having all of the walls this ice-grey just turns the space into a cold, wintry, uber boring space.  And that’s SO not what I was going for.

I wanted the warmth of the image above.  The crisp, neutral color that would play well with pretty much anything I put in there.  It’s lighten up the space, but keep it feeling cozy.  It it isn’t too brown or yellow… but it is JUST right.

Welp – that perfect color still eludes me.  And for now, I wake up every morning to quick albeit fleeting, a moment of panic that I’ve been thrown unwillingly into an insane asylum.  And that’s NOT a fun feeling… especially for someone like me who occasionally wonders if they aren’t too far off from being qualified for an extended stay.

So for now, this is what we are dealing with:

In the interest of full disclosure, there are very brief moments in the day, in very small corners of the room, where the sunlight hits the walls just right and we see a tinge of that warmth we were looking for when we decided to pull the trigger on this color selection:

MB-EntryCorner

And it’s JUST enough to drive me absolutely batty.  Because when I happen to be in the room during these fleeting moments of warmth, I wonder how it could possibly have translated so poorly throughout the majority of the day and on the majority of the wall space.  Because THAT is eXACTly what I wanted to walls to look like!

But noon.  That’s WAY too easy, Hope.

So when I see this warmth peek through, there’s a part of me that wonders if I should just try sticking with this color, but having it mixed at 125 or maybe 150%.  Perhaps going just a skosh darker would be just the ticket to bringing out more of that warmth we were hoping for.

But instead, we have this.

Although it is definitely temporary, we’re not sure when it’ll bump back up on the priority list enough for us to actually repaint the room (especially considering it took us about 2.5 days to do it the first time).  And frankly, when that time does finally come, I’m not sure I’ll be comfortable enough with committing to another color that may end up steering me wrong yet again.  Because doing this a THIRD time just sounds crazy!

So… that’s where we sit.  I keep from hanging any decor in our room because I just want to repaint it anyway.  Well, that and the fact that I want to find and refinish a dresser to replace the one we currently have, so it seems almost silly to put a room together with all of this still up in the air.

And don’t get me wrong – the change from the before to the after/progress pics is still a HUGE improvement.  And waking up in a stark cold room seems like more of a clean slate then dealing with the baby poo yellow ANY day of the week.  I just wish that I didn’t feel like we wasted 2.5 days of work for nothing.  :/

Now that you’ve seen it… What do you think?  Has anyone else had such bad luck with picking paint colors?  And let’s hear it – do you think I”m crazy for being so disappointed, or do you agree that it is MUCH colder than it appears in the inspiration pictures?

~Hope

Color Theory, Part II

A few months back, when we finally got around to painting our Master bedroom, I mentioned in this post that it didn’t turn out so hott.

Well, I thought I should maybe show you what I meant so that I could 1) prove it, and 2) see if it’s just me.

As per usual when referencing pictures taken prior to 2015, I have some pretty poor quality visuals for you, but its going to have to do since I can’t “tuuurrrrn back tiiiime”…which would actually be super helpful at times like there where you spend time, money, and effort on something that does NOT turn out as hoped (also, you’re welcome for the song that is now stuck in your head. Point for Me! *selfhighfive).

To start, here’s what our bedroom looked like when we moved in:

So. Much. Awesome.  Right?!

Oofta (shout out to my northern peeps!).

I had almost forgotten how bad it was.  And frankly, as per typical quick-snap iPhone photos – this doesn’t even do it justice.  Imagine the golden-yellowy color to be more of a… we… actually it was quite literally the color of newborn poo.  You know, post tarry black muck, but pre-real poos.  Yeah.  It is exactly that color.

Also, you’re welcome for the poo reference.

And the navy blue was… well… somehow, even though the baby poo yellow didn’t translate, the blue almost did.  Mostly so in the top left shot within the image.  Quick – someone tell me if these are some college team colors, somewhere.  Help me make sense of this!!

*sigh

I just don’t get it.

I do wish I could locate the pics that this house was listed with, because although it doesn’t seem all that bad in those pictures, it really proves that there wasn’t a lot of intention with regard to these paint colors, either.  It’s not as though they had some furniture pieces or bedding or curtains that they were trying to tie together.  Nothing like that.  I suppose I am just left wondering.

movingrightalong

We started painting.  And we aren’t ones to prime unless the colors are drastically different or there are multiple colors in a wall (stripes, texturing techniques, planets – yep. I said planets.  Just you wait.).

The first thing I did was set out to touch up the trim.  And quickly discovered that it was NOT white.  I’m sure this isn’t unusual for most of you, but where I moved here from, everything was stark white.  If it was white, it was WHITE.  So I didn’t think twice when I picked up the pint of high gloss white paint to touch-up the trim around the house.  Yeah… that didn’t quite work.

Oh and also, our ceiling isn’t white, either.  Oddly enough, it’s not even the same color throughout.  The previous owners were not smokers, but it has allowed in some spots and become this interesting variety of shades of white and ivory.

Trippy.

Upon discovering the fun variety of whites in the room, I had a “screw it” moment and decided to just go for it on the walls.  I could just com back and touch up the trim and paint the ceiling later – it’s not the best way to paint, but it certainly wasn’t going to ruin anything in the long run.  Why not.  Let’s just get this mess DONE already!

So I went to down.  Painted along the trim with a brush, first.  Then along the ceiling (where I’d decided that the baby poo yellow was bad enough to just paint over… even if it wasn’t a straight line… and it was the right call.  Even though there’s not a straight line, having that awful color covered made a WORLD of difference in the end result!).  Then we filled it all in, which is basically like coloring inside the lines (one successful thing you learned in kindergarten and can still apply.  Yess!).

And the more we filed it in, the more it felt like we were painting our room white.

But we kept going, because I was convinced that it was just a much lighter color than the baby poo yellow and navy blue inset wall.  And once it was all covered, we’d have a room covered in Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter (color matched with Valspar, because I’m cheap like that) and it would be glorious.

Afterall… look at all of these Pinterest examples of the absolutely perfect color choice we had made:

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Right?!  See how warm and perfectly neutral and spot-on-greige it is?  That’s exactly what I was going for!  I planned to throw in a ton of color with decor and a fun accent space, so it’d be the prefect backdrop for my vision to come to life.

Just oooonnne small problem.  It wasn’t happening.

The more we painted.  And even after coats 2 and 3… it just did NOT appear warm.

Not.

At.

All.

My test “splotches” (that’s a very technical term, for those of you unaware) just didn’t truly show the color in a space that was not already painted baby poo yellow.

This is where I had my Nancy Kerrigan moment and threw my two-second “WHYYY MEEEE?!” hissy fit.

(Sidenote:  I’m team Nancy all the way.  You got robbed, girl!  ROBBED!!)

Anywho, that’s not even remotely what we actually ended up with.  Unfortunately, I am at a loss as to where my “after” pictures decided to hide themselves.  And since I want to give the color a fair shot and really want you to see it in all of it’s very limited glory, I will wait until daylight and take them again tomorrow.  I’ll try to take them from the same angles, and with the same quick-snap iPhoto style that seems to be my thang.  Only for comparison’s sake, of course.  I promise.

So stay tuned in for Part III in the coming days.  I’m eager to hear what you all think.  But prepare yourselves… it’s cold and stark (much like Tanya Harding’s heart).

Has anyone else had some terrible paint color luck as of late?  As much as I wouldn’t wish it on you, it’d be nice to know that I’m not alone in this cold, stark, almost-white room of mine… other than Studly, of course.  Obvie.

~Hope

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