July 31, 2013

What’s up Wednesday


Here’s what is going on with me this week



Happy Hump Day friends! Half way there!

I wanted to do a little filling in of my recent life here, since the last couple posts were of past events, The Pink Palace and Birthday Flood.

So here’s what’s new with me!

First off, one of my rose bushes is STILL blooming. This bad boy starting blossoming in early May and it is still going! I was so excited when I found out I have roses in the back yard. They were of course PINK. However they have been beautiful this summer as well as a good lesson in gardening. I have had to prune, fertilize, dead head etc. All new concepts to me. And on at least one bush it seems to have paid off because I still have these amazing blooms!



Wednesday’s for us the past few weeks have meant puppy school. After several weeks of deliberating, seeking recommendations, and dragging our feet, I finally called and set up classes with Companions Dog Resort. A friend of mine who also has a Golden Retriever took her dog there for puppy class and did some board and train nights with them. She had nothing but good things to say and noted that it was all positive reinforcement, which I had wanted. I also had another outstanding recommendation for their doggie camp and boarding services. So I felt pretty good going there.

Wednesday nights I load up Gunner and take him down to see all his friends; London (Great Dane), Beckly (Labradoodle), Radar (the cutest stinking German Shepherd ever! And Gunners GF ;) ), and Djioji (Pomeranian).

So far I have really liked classes. The trainers really know their stuff. Gunner isn’t very well behaved at class because he would rather play with all his friends. At home however we have made a lot of progress. I hope to continue with Companions until we have a perfectly trained dog… someday.


Pre-puppy school "sit" practice

In other news, one of my closest friends Annie hit the road for Texas today. I am so inspired by her and her boyfriend’s gutsiness to just go for it! I agree there is no better time to go explore than when we are young and not tied down. I think they are going to have so much fun in Frisco! I just can’t believe I will be losing this amazing lady and sister!

Kappa Love

Some costume action from back in the day
The Ladies at NYE
Good luck Annie and JD!!!
I also, FINALLY, got my butt out of bed and worked out before work yesterday. I have been meaning to do this ever since James started working days, because I wake up for is 5 am alarm anyway. Seemed stupid not to make the most of it. But for several weeks I didn’t. I rolled over, cuddled up with Gunner and slept another hour and a half. I know one day isn’t a lot of progress, but it’s a start. Fingers crossed to get up to doing it 3-4 times a week!

TTFN Friends!

July 29, 2013

The Birthday Flood




I wanted to share my first little home disaster experience with you—it just so happened to be on my 25th birthday.



The story begins when James moved in at the end of March. I was so excited to be living together because we were on opposite schedules (he was working nights at the time). Having him there meant seeing him more than just his days off, and while I was a little sad to give up my “me days” I was so ready to take this next step in our relationship.

For those of you that don’t know James, he is a tech guy. He works in IT. He has THREE computer screens. Basically if it has to do with computers, he’s your man. This is one of the things I love about him.

 So, as part of his desire to make my house feel like home to him and is tech savvy ways, he wanted to wire the whole house for Ethernet, and while he was at it, the cable as well. I helped pitch in for supplies and was excited to have all the dirty work done for free. So he went ahead cutting holes in my walls (EEEEK) and having me hand wires up and down through the crawl space.  Once he got started I realized he was right that it was ridiculous to hire someone for $300+ just to run wire through the place.

This work continued on my birthday which landed on a Saturday this year. I had enjoyed an amazing brunch with my friend Hillary who was in town and we ate at one of my faves -  Big City Coffee (yum!).  Since I had celebrated a little the night before, I laid down for a little recovery nap that afternoon before my birthday party that night.

That is when I heard it... Profanities came through the walls and it sounded like someone had turned every faucet and shower in the place on high. It took me a second to process, then I hopped out of bed to see what was going on. By then James had reached the water supply turn off (Thank God.)

The damage however, had been done.

He explained to me that he must have drilled through a pipe. There was a small hole in the center of my living room wall, which is the separating wall between the living space and the master bath. 

Somehow I was able to keep my wits about me. First thing I did was call the plumber. Next I called Dad, the answerer of all questions. He told me to go ahead and call the claims line for my home insurance. I would have never guessed I would need to use my insurance only a month after moving in!

With the plumber on the way and a call made to my insurance agent, who said cleanup crew would be there within a couple hours, I was finally able to relax. I remember a moment sitting on the couch with James. He was upset. It was plain to see. That’s when I laughed, and told him shit stuff happens. He apologized again and again, but really what was done was done.

The plumber showed up within 20 minutes. I called Anderson Plumbing who I highly recommend. They had installed my new kitchen sink and disposal and I had their magnet on my fridge (so handy for emergencies like this!). He sawed a hole in the wall to inspect the damage.

James had hit a 3/8” supply line. We’re talking a TINY pipe. Out of the whole 15’ length of the wall, he had managed to hit just the right spot. The plumber and I found this amusing, James did not. The guy had it patched up in no time, and handed me the small portion of piping he removed, with the drill hole dead center.

The best part of the whole thing was the plumber handing me the invoice to sign for—a whopping $70. I was expecting $200+ for emergency quickness, etc. I must have said something to the effect of “that’s it?” to which he responded, “I feel bad for the guy.”

After all was said and done, I still had a really good birthday. We had friends come over to have a few beers, and then I headed to the RAM to meet everyone else. James waited behind to meet the cleanup crew so that I was able to get to my birthday party on time. I was overjoyed by the turn out and felt so loved. We proceeded to have a great night out on the town, including James who was not far behind 
me arriving to the party.
Me and the girls out for my birthday!
James even gave me a real smile for a birthday picture!



I got to come home to what the cleanup crew had done. The toilet in my master bath was gone and the vinyl around it was torn up. They had removed most of the baseboards in the living room, and set up fans throughout the house.

The hole where my toilet had been, and a couple fans...
For the next few days, we were in hell. During the days it would get to 95 degrees and higher in the house from the fans. They had to run 24/7 to make sure everything got completely dry. Fuses were blowing left and right. It was worth it though and we were lucky. No serious damage was done to my hardwood floors or the crawl space.

Looking back, it was probably a good thing this happened when it did. We hadn’t gotten fully moved in yet, so there wasn’t much in place to damage. I now also know how to file a claim for my home owners insurance!

And, I owe James an apology for showing everyone the pipe and telling the story, when really he was just trying to help. Sorry! I love you!

Now we can look back at it and laugh. As well as enjoy the new floor in the bathroom that came out of the deal (Yay! No more carpet!), and cable and internet in every room!

TTFN Friends!
Laura

July 25, 2013

The Pink Palace Part 2 (Before and After)




Turning the “Pink Palace” into my not so pink home


Hi friends! So you all must be wondering why I keep calling my house the “Pink Palace.” Well it’s PINK. Literally. In fact I still haven’t gotten around to painting the outside, which is still pink:

Luckily just the stucco trim is pink :)

However, it was much, MUCH more pink on the inside which you will see in the before photos. Some of the gems you will not see photographed are the PINK toilet and sinks that were in the master bath. (Still up for grabs if you want them!)

First thing we did was tear down all the awful pink window coverings. Yes PINK BLINDS on almost every window!  (See in some before pictures)

Next was painting. I wanted to get as much painting done prior to move in as possible. How in the world did the owners before me land on these colors!? (Sorry my photos aren't the best)


 The most expensive part of the home make-over was my granite counter-tops. Since (believe it or not) every counter top in the house was PINK, an upgrade was a must. I had planned on getting a nice laminate per my limited budget. However, James wouldn’t have it. He agreed to pay the cost of materials for granite if I paid for installation – very generous, but was also my “birthday present.” He did give me another present which you will hear about in a later post – Birthday Flood.

We did a full day of shopping for granite, and then I sent out several requests for estimates. I was bummed I couldn’t get them installed prior to me moving in (took a couple weeks to set up install). However, it was sooooooooo worth it. They are gorgeous. We were lucky enough to have Rock Bottom Granite sell us a slab and a half so we could do the bathrooms too!
My bar top in the kitchen - Santa Cecilia Granite
The dark round flecks are Garnets!
 The biggest transformation is the kitchen. I fell in love with the kitchen the moment I entered the home—just not the color. It is spacious, has tons of counter space AND it has custom cabinets with slide out shelves (yes be jealous). However they were this not so pretty pinky-tan color.
Here's a glimpse at the original cabinets and pink counters
So, with the recommendation of my friend Jena, who re-did all of the cabinets at her new house, I went down to Home Depot (I think they know me by name these days) and bought two Transformations kits for the cabinets in Espresso.

I could have never imagined how tedious and time consuming this project would be. With 80+ cabinet and drawer faces, scrubbing down every one, and four coats PER SIDE (that’s 9 steps total!) it felt like I would never finish. And that doesn’t even include the base of the cabinets in the kitchen and both bathrooms!

However, this project has made, in my opinion, the biggest impact.


There is still A LOT more to do at the Pink Palace. Exterior paint, back-splash in the kitchen and bathrooms, updated light fixtures, yard work….

But I now have enough done that I love my home. I am also very proud of the work I have done and am so grateful for the help I had. Thank you so much to all the friends and family who helped and supported me through this first major transformation of my home!

My dad was right – it does feel good to get your hands dirty and have something to show for it!

Here's one little gem that was original to the house I haven't changed yet--it's just too funny!
TTFN Friends!
Laura

July 23, 2013

The Pink Palace Part 1 (Finding and Buying)



Preface of the Before and After home renovations!

 

The quick summary of my home purchase:


With a little nudging from my parents, and a sick feeling in my gut with throwing rent down the drain every month, I decided I needed to build equity and buy.

I started the process in February of 2012. I got my pre-approval and started skimming the surface of listings. Around March I gave in to seeing listings in person, and would go see several properties at a time every couple weeks.

It took a long time, but finally I fell in love with a short sale in East Boise. After getting the signed contract, now was waiting time… And boy how we waited. And waited. And waited.  Finally I got news – and not news I wanted. The owner had caught up on payments and was no longer selling. HEART BROKEN.

I took a break from looking and then began the search once again (late summer). Again I saw dozens of properties – felt like hundreds. And, being stupid I once again put in an offer on a short sale, this time in NW Boise. I didn’t let myself get as attached to this home, but it was hard not to be excited. We waited and I tried not to get my hopes up. This short sale also led to disappointment. After three more months of waiting, the bank dismissed the agreed upon amount between me and the seller. They raised the price the week of Christmas (Merry Christmas to me). I was done with this property…

So dragging my feet, and completely discouraged, we continued to look. I had to branch out of my “dream” locations to find more in my budget. Finally we found a home I saw potential in – despite the pink. Best part of all, it was a traditional sale and not a short sale!

Even though I had to go a little out of my ideal areas, the Pink Palace had EVERYTHING on my wish list; 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a big private backyard, a large kitchen, walk in closet, double vanities in the master bath, and as bonuses hard wood floors and a fireplace!

A little back and forth and I had myself a house! It took a WHOLE YEAR, but finally I signed for my home on Fat Tuesday (2/13/13), and got my keys on Valentine’s Day. We spent our very romantic Valentine ’s Day starting to rip the pink out of the Pink Palace with a take-and-bake pizza cooked in my very own oven :-)

Next is the BEFORE and AFTER! Here's a little teaser pic:

Our Valentine's Day picnic dinner at the new house!



TTFN Friends!

 
 

July 22, 2013

Super Summer Weekend Re-Cap



Happy Monday Friends!


I had an amazing weekend and I hope you did too! While I didn’t get everything done that needed to get done (typical), I did have a full, summer fun filled weekend.

Friday night, as part of my Mom’s birthday present, the whole fam went to Sweeny Todd at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. It was AWESOME. I love musicals, and dark twisted humor—so Sweeny is one of my favorites! I don’t think my Mom knew quite what she was in for however, as she made a disgruntled sound during every bloody murder scene… All I could think about was how sweet it was and wondered how they did it!

Our view for Sweeny Todd

Sister Selfie at Shakespeare Festival
Saturday I drug myself to Willow Lane for my softball team, Booze on First’s end of season tournament. It started off rocky – getting beat bad by the first team we played. This was annoying because they were the second seeded team after us, and if we are both high seeds we shouldn’t have to play each other right off the bat! What also was a bummer is that I had a really good game personally (batted 1000 and had 3 catches in centerfield) and yet we still lost. 

Games 2 and 3 went better though, and we run rulled both teams (beat them by 12+). Sadly come game 4 the heat (and maybe the beer) got to us and we ended up losing. We took 3rd overall. Not to shabby if you ask me!

Booze on First with our 3rd place trophy

 Since I played in the sun all day Saturday, that meant Sunday was get shit stuff done day. However friend time took precedent—first I helped my friend Alex move stuff up her stairs to her new apartment. (Very Friends episode style “pivot!”). Then I had a wonderful, cheesecake filled lunch with Miss Annie, for our last little one on one before her and JD head off to Texas. I admire her so much for taking this chance and I am so excited for her!

Eventually (and maybe after a couple of my DVR’d shows…) I got to work. Gunner and I got to cleaning up the house.

Gunner on the vent as I clean the bathroom

He discovered his new favorite summer sleeping spot – on the AC vent. I got a few rooms cleaned up, and took some pictures for my upcoming BEFORE and AFTER of the house post (stay tuned!).

Then it was off to my Mom’s birthday dinner at PF Changs. Couldn’t have been a more perfect end to the weekend!

It really was one wonderful weekend. About the only thing I would have changed would have been to have a little more time with my man…

TTFN
Laura

July 19, 2013

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Growing up – sort of



One of my favorite summertime activities is to have a couple cold beers with friends and enjoy the warm summer night. This I hope will never change.

Last night I was excited to do just that—Parilla dollar taco and two dollar Tecate night seemed just the place!  I was thrilled to be getting out of the house, see friends, eat tacos and have a beer. The night did not disappoint.

What was different about this night was how it differed from what it most likely would have been a year or two ago. Thursday nights in the summer not too long ago may have lead to dollar beer night at Suds, which would go from “just a few beers” to well.... more than that.

Instead, last night, we finished our beers and tacos, chatted for a little while, and headed home—very grown up of us.

I probably wouldn’t have made note of this other than what happened to some other friends last night who decided to take the other route (Suds after Parilla). Our roommate may or may not have been naked on the couch this morning…

And so I reflect and am glad, that I am now grown up enough to enjoy myself but not go overboard. Though it is still known to happen now and again…

(PS - have made a mental note to take pics while we are out next time so you don't have just text)

Happy Friday friends!
Laura

Here goes nothing!


Hello everyone, welcome to my blog and my very first blog post!


I have had an itch to start a blog ever since I got obsessed with a few of my friends’ blogs. Some of my favorites are http://thecrazylifeofcassie.wordpress.com/ and http://everydaywithsandj.blogspot.com.  The blog that truly inspired me however is “The Start of the Shaws” by Karissa Shaw (one of my sisters from KKG). You can check it out here: http://kandkshaw.blogspot.com/.

Everything about Karissa’s blog, from her language to her cute stories and fashion updates, and of course her dog photos—is perfect to me. I connect to it, it pertains to me and my life, and mostly it inspires me. I want to do that with my blog. Or at the very least, have an avenue to express myself, and find my voice.

So here goes nothing! I apologize if I am slow, boring, confusing or lame at first. I promise to start making blog magic someday. Hopefully the blog will motivate me to do more in my life – outings, DIY, fashion, etc. so that I can share!

TTFN friends!

Laura