So I started this blog and then what happened? Life got in the way. My mom was here to visit and brought with her the germs of my two very adorable twin nephews that knocked me on my behind for two weeks. Then we had to start prepping for Roy’s birthday party, only to find out my sister, nephews, and friend were all coming to visit while my parents were here, which lead to more prepping, never mind the mountain of school work that was piling on top of me. I am back though! Since I last updated I’ve tried more Pinterest recipes, almost completely renovated our kitchen, finished our bedroom renovation, and took part in plenty of decor/craft projects- all of which I documented even though I wasn’t technically blogging at the time. Now that the family visits are over (until November) and projects have seemed to have slowed down for a bit, I plan on uploading everything and getting back into writing. I’m even thinking of starting a business. I’ve done plenty of little crafty things here and there and sold them, but I’m talking full fledged this time. I’m working on a business plan today, making calls about what licenses I need, and weighing the pros and cons. I decided to get a second degree in business management to help me land my dream job somewhere in the court system on the administration side but maybe I was meant to use it to create something for myself instead. Fingers crossed and let’s find out!
Tacos are a staple in our house. Tacos, rice and some sort of veggie is the go to I have no clue what we’re going to have for dinner, but let’s make it something quick and easy. I found something that looked good on Pinterest, but never pinned it and forgot all about it. That is until I went to BJs and bought an astronomical amount of ground beef and started searching for new recipes to use it in on Pinterest. Enter the taco braid:
Roy calls it a Mexican pizza pocket. It is easy to get burnt out on something when you eat it so often. This was a nice change up to typical tacos, while still being quick, easy, and affordable. I used Pillsbury pizza dough which was on sale at Publix 3/$6. I was able to get biscuits and 2 cans of pizza dough (in case I screwed up the first one, which I didn’t!) and save a little bit of money. My husband is into plain jane meals so I didn’t/couldn’t get too crazy with it. Ground beef with taco seasoning, refried beans, Mexican four cheese. It was still plenty flavorful. Next time I’m going to have some taco sauce to dip it in though. Was even great reheated and perfectly paired with my rice and beans (except I had no beans on hand for this go around). Here’s a look at it on my plate: (I took these pictures before planning to blog about it. In the future I’ll make sure my pictures are better 😉 )
I’ve found many “misses” on Pinterest, so this was a nice surprise to have it work out as planned. Here’s the link to the step by step instructions. They add salsa to theirs. I’m sure it makes it even better, but this was a quick what do we have on hand type of deal with me only running out for the pizza dough. Enjoy 😉
We should have headed Harry S. Truman’s famous words. For first time home owners, there is no task that scares us (though they should). We start daunting projects that make our friends who have been in their houses for years think we have literally lost our minds. A common remark we hear when we say we want to do this or that in the house is “oh, y’all are going to do it yourselves? Ambitious.” In today’s world DIY has never been easier. With apps like Pinterest, you can search any project and find ways to do it damn near every time. We spend a lot of time at Home Depot and those guys and girls cannot be more helpful. Another one of our many frequented weekend joints is Floor and Decor. I’m in heaven when I walk in that place. So what would be a first time home owners very first project? The kitchen. Well that’s kind of a lie. I did get to paint an accent wall in our bedroom. That was a project in and of itself because I did it alone and I am 5′ and at the time we didn’t own a ladder. Hello step stool and textbooks. But after I didn’t fall and break my neck painting my wall that I have wanted to paint for years, we moved on to the kitchen. Our house was built in 1985, and our cabinets reflect that. We’re all about the let’s get this done ASAP when a project strikes our fancy, and with money being tight buying new cabinets was completely out of the question. Enter Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations. Now no one reads this blog, but just in case, this is my own personal opinion. No one has asked me to review any product, paid me to try any product, yadda yadda yadda. Instead of spending about $2,000 on cabinets from Ikea (don’t knock Ikea, I love that place too), we were able to spend just about $75 to do all of our kitchen cabinets. This product is a game changer and a life saver. Here’s what we were dealing with: (and technically we’re still dealing with since we’re in progress)
Originally I wanted white cabinets. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and different renovations blogs deciding what I liked and it was white. Hands down. Classy. Rustic. Perfect. Well then I had my doubts about Rustoleum’s greatness. Roy and my mother convinced me to go dark. They’re lucky I love how it’s turned out. The product itself is easy to work with. You clean to make sure there’s no excess grime and grease, you deglaze to remove shine/protective coat, you paint, paint again, apply top coat, replace hardware, and magic!! All new cabinets! It is a bit time consuming with drying time, but if you have the space you can really get this done in a weekend. When we started our cabinets we really didn’t have a spot to lay out all of our doors and drawers. Our garage was still packed full of our random crap we didn’t know what to do with so we utilized our dining table and my sewing table. Here’s our assembly line: (I posted this to facebook with the caption “I’m already over this project” but we hadn’t even started yet)
The end result could not make me happier. It’s hard to get a good picture with our horrible lighting (that will of course be changed out!), but here is the finished product and what I plan on accompanying my new cabinets with (courtesy of Pinterest and Home Depot.com):
Not bad for our first ever home improvement project! I’m still figuring out what I want to do with our window trim. I love that our house has all of the original wood trim unpainted, but it looks a little funky with the dark cabinets now. Maybe the back-splash will tie it all in together. We won’t know until we try! The next step is to remove the tile on the wall, repair drywall when we’re done, paint/add back-splash where it belongs (read: not floor to ceiling!!!). If you’re thinking about using Rustoleum’s kit, I cannot recommend it enough. Cost wise you cannot beat it. Even if we replace cabinets down the road, this was a great way to refinish them and hold on to them while we save up money for new ones. They’ve been painted since September and have so far held up beautifully. I was concerned with them getting dirty and not being able to clean them without destroying the paint, but I have (knock on wood) not had any problems out of them. My kitchen officially makes me less miserable than it did. Thanks Rustoleum!
We knew we both had wings, but could we clip them to put down roots was another question. Once our lease was a couple of months from expiring we began our search. The search for our very own first home together and to be completely honest, the first house I would ever live in. I grew up on the 16th floor of an apartment building. When we started our search nothing mattered to me except the kitchen was big enough for all of my cooking and baking and that we had a patch of grass. My husband who grew up on 10 acres of land however had a whole other idea in mind. We knew our budget before we even did our loan qualifying. We knew we could qualify for more and of course a mortgage broker would try to talk us into more, but we knew where we were comfortable. Just because you can technically afford something, doesn’t mean that’s what you should spend. I reached to friends in the area looking for a realtor and within minutes I had the phone numbers to about 5 different realtors, but only 1 was recommended by 3 different people, Amanda. After looking her up online and some quick cyber stalking 😉 , I decided to call her and feel her out. I loved her energy right off the bat. But there was one catch that could make or break her becoming our realtor, had she worked with veterans before and understand the extra steps needed to take in a home search when utilizing the VA loan. She had and did. From there the ball was rolling, and quickly might I add. She had us set up to look at houses that weekend. When I tell you this woman is a saint, I really mean it. My husband sometimes doesn’t see past paint colors and carpeting, I who knew nothing about houses, was extremely picky and slow to pull the trigger. On our first weekend out we found two houses I could picture us living in and enjoying. Do you want to put an offer in? Welllllllll maybe we can go see them again to be sure? I wanted no emotion involved, this had to be a well calculated process. Armed with measuring tape and a notebook we went back and decided screw it. Let’s put an offer in. Needless to say we didn’t get that house. Amanda told us there was another offer out there, but never made us rush. Never pushed us into it. I can’t thank her enough for that, because if she had pushed us we wouldn’t be living in our perfect house now. Disappointed and discouraged, the search continued. But now I knew, bring the measuring tape and notebook now, take lots of pictures, walk every square inch of that house twice if I had to. Roy learned not to focus on things that could be changed, which became a little drastic because in some houses he started talking about tearing down walls. We found another house. Put in an offer while sitting on the front porch. We went in lower than what they were asking, but in our eyes the house had been sitting and there was a lot of information the owners couldn’t provide because they had inherited the house. To me, we were taking some big risks. They rejected the offer and we didn’t counter. I wouldn’t budge with so many unknowns like little things that could end up costing us a fortune such as when the last time the septic tank was even serviced. After our offer was put in they let us know that the previous owner had committed suicide in the house. What else wasn’t on the disclosure? I couldn’t shake the bad energy and they wouldn’t budge on price. Then Amanda did push us to go look at a house I didn’t like from the listing on the website. We walked in and even though I said this couldn’t involve emotions, I felt at ease. Every room was better than the next. I was excited. There were at least 5 other families waiting outside to come look at the house. My house. I wasn’t losing this one. It was perfect. Only needed our touches put on it, but no actual work to be done. Hell we could have moved our stuff in right then and there. We walked out of the front door to eager faces watching us to see our reaction. I looked at Amanda in front of everyone and said it’s nice, but out dated. I’m just not crazy about it. She just nodded and we walked to our cars. She said okay so what do y’all want to do? Roy said what should we go in at. It was 10k under budget. We went in 7k over asking. Stupid? Impulsive? Crazy? Bad business? Absolutely. But we got the house. We went in with our best and final which is what we learned from our experience with the other two houses. Pull the damn trigger!!! March 17th is when our offer was officially accepted. I was sick with anxiety. I knew we wouldn’t find another house that I loved as much as this one. When I saw Amanda’s name on my caller ID I about threw up. She didn’t beat around the bush. You got it. That’s all it took for me to start crying. They didn’t even entertain any other offers. The previous owner liked that Roy was a vet and we found out later they both worked at the same company. That’s how we got our roots.
A little about myself is where I guess I should start! I am a 28 year old professional student (graduated high school, went to college, graduated, took time off, back to school for another degree). Originally from Woodside, New York. Home of…well the 7 train. When I grew up in Woodside it was a predominately Irish neighborhood that some how had a small town feel trapped in the big city. Everyone knew you and your family and you were most likely somehow related. Engaged at 20 to a United States Marine from the sticks of Missouri I knew for only 6 months (crazy I know). Married at 22 to that same Marine and here we are almost 6 years later! Quit my job, left my family behind all to move to sunny San Diego (home is where the Marine Corps sends you). A year later he was done with his enlistment. Brief stints in my husband’s home town (Bakersfield, MO), Woodside, and Mount Arlington, NJ trying to make it back as a civilian family led us down to Kennesaw, GA where Roy (my husband) was offered a job. We had a small group of former Marines we knew and Roy worked with along with an older cousin of mine and her kids and grand kids. It looked like life had finally settled down and we were no longer gypsies as my mother so affectionately referred to us as. During a visit with my parents we learned that there were going to be layoffs at Roy’s job, and lots of them. So many of our Marine friends had already been laid off and went back into the military at this point. After a year here it looked like we were being relocated (once the union decided to end their strike). Off we were to Fort Worth, Texas. A state I always wanted to live in. I should mention I never belonged in NYC. I loved country music, cowboy boots, pick up trucks, and riding horses- things typical city girls aren’t about. So here we were in what was supposed to be my home all along, and I hated it. People weren’t friendly. They called us rednecks when they saw our Georgia plates and Yankees when they found out where we were really from. Then a blessing in disguise happened. Roy got laid off (gotta love the defense industry right!?) and they wanted him to go back to the Georgia plant. 7 months after our arrival in hell, and Roy was on his way back HOME. 2 months after that he returned to Texas to collect me, our two dogs and all of our belongings and we were back in our old apartment which miraculously was available, a whole lot more expensive, but available nonetheless. From 2010-2014 we had no roots. Just going where the money was and where the whirlwind dropped our asses. April 25 we closed on our first home (more about this later) and we had roots. Real roots. That’s where this blog comes in. It started as a joke when my mother made a comment about how I kept taking pictures and noting steps I would have done differently on some of our projects- “what are you writing a blog?!” I thought hell why not! Maybe someone will read it and learn from mistakes we’ve made in putting down floors or all of my failed pinterest projects. All I know is I have an exorbitant amount of time on my hands while I work on my degree and job search so why not fill it this way. In high school like every other person my age I had a xanga page and a livejournal and I really enjoyed having a place to share triumphs, failures, and just my random thoughts. Maybe this will pick up and people will read it, or maybe I’ll just be talking to myself, nothing new there 😉 So that brings us to the end. I’ve never used wordpress before so excuse the lack of customization while I figure it all out. I’ll hopefully have some of that done today. Hope you’ll come along for the ride!