Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Home Decor Blog Love

Since deciding to purchase a home I have noticed a major shift in my blog attentions. I was going through a 5 month long health & fitness blog kick, and although I still love and read those, my love is waning in favor of another genre of blog.
Home Decor Blogs.

Oh my goodness. There are SO many amazing home blogs out there, but the ones I love the most are just normal couples like you and me who are making over their own homes one room at a time. And many of them do it on crazy low budgets as well! Talk about inspiration.

Since I know we'll have a lot of home improvement projects on our hands when (if) we close on this house, I figured I should start getting inspiration and ideas. And boy have I ever!

Here are some of my favorite, recently discovered home decor blogs for your reading pleasure.

-Nesting Place: This one actually isn't recently discovered. I've been reading her blog for a while now because she is a RENTER who still manages to make her (rented) home look beautiful and custom. That's quite a feat!

-A Soft Place to Land: Beautiful room re-dos and lots of great small ideas too (like hanging a hydrangea basket on your front door!) that make you say "Why didn't I think of that?!"

-Young House Love: This one I seriously fell in love with at first sight. They're an adorable couple, both of whom contribute to the blog, who are renovating their home. They show great step-by-step tutorials and lots of photos. This post on painting kitchen cabinets has me thinking that maybe we should paint ours. They also just seem like the type of people we would be friends with.

-The Inspired Room: Melissa is a design consultant who truly does inspire with her room makeovers. I love her style and her "keepin' it real" attitude.

-Better After: I love a good before and after photo for inspiration, so this blog is right up my alley. It's dedicated solely to showing great before and after transformations. Sweeeet!

-Thrifty Decor Chick: This girl seriously knows how to spy a junky looking piece at a thrift store and see it for what it could be. She transforms them into beautiful, magazine-style pieces in little to no time. And can I tell you how much I loved this post on being a "piler"? Because that's totally me. Note to self: Must work on that nasty little habit!

Hopefully with inspiration from these ladies (and one guy) I'll be a home decor professional in no time and have our house looking immaculate! (Yeah right.)

Do you have any favorite home decor blogs? What are they? I am always looking to add to my Google Reader!

Monday, June 27, 2011

This Week in Fitness

Hi Friends!

I didn't get around to posting last week's This Week in Fitness since I was in Tennessee house hunting and subsequently putting in an offer, so this week's post has two weeks worth of workouts. I wish I could say that means it's going to be twice as motivating and impressive for you, but I definitely slacked off a bit amidst all the travel/house hunting/etc.

You'll notice a surprising number of "rest days" but I should probably just call them "Didn't feel like working out days" or "Life got in the way days" or "I'm trying to find a house and put in an offer in a limited time span so do you really think I have time to workout?! days". :)

Monday 6/13: Jackie's Power Circuit Training DVD

Tuesday 6/14: Harley Pasternak's Time Saving Workout + 10 minute power walk at 7.0 incline on treadmill

Wednesday 6/15: 2 mile jog (19:10)

Thursday 6/16: 10 lb Slimdown Total Body + 10 lb Slimdown Yoga

Friday 6/17: Rest

Saturday 6/18: Rest

Sunday 6/19: Rest

Monday 6/20: 1 mile jog + 1 mile walk

Tuesday 6/21: Rest (house hunting and putting in an offer!)

Wednesday 6/22: Rest

Thursday 6/23: Rest

Friday 6/24: 3 mile jog

Saturday 6/25: Jackie Warner's Xtreme Timesaver Training

Sunday 6/26: Walked on the treadmill (Have you ever heard it called the "dreadmill"? Ha! I love that.) for 45 minutes alternating between a 4.0-6.0 incline.

Did you notice that little 1 mile jog and 1 mile walk on Monday 6/20? Yeah...that was the only exercise I did the whole time I was in Tennessee (Saturday thru Wednesday).

It sucked. I attempted to go out for a run in my soon-to-be new stomping grounds thinking "Oh, this will be CAKE! I'm used to running at a 4,500 foot altitude so this is easy gonna be easy peasy!" Right?

Wrong. It was awful. I forgot how THICK the air feels in a humid climate, not to mention I started sweating profusely about 3 seconds in. Sweat often evaporates so quickly in Arizona that you hardly feel like you're sweating at all (even though you are). Not the case in good 'ole Tennessee.

I forced myself to stick with it until I hit the 1 mile mark and then I threw in the towel and walked the rest. I guess I'll have some adjusting to the climate to do when we move! Yikes.

P.S. Did you notice my new "About Me" page yet?! I'm embarrassed to say that I've been a blogger for well over 4 years now and I always wondered how people got those cool little separate pages at the top of their blog. I randomly discovered the "Edit Pages" option as I was blogging yesterday and felt like an IDIOT for not figuring that out sooner. I plan on creating several pages but I just started with "About Me" since that's the easiest one. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Did We Just Buy a House?

I know I've been kind of MIA lately, but I have a good reason....

We are in the process of buying a house!!

It's actually kind of a crazy story as to how it all came about so I figured I would share it here.

A few months ago, we found out we were being sent to Fort Campbell as our next duty station. We were thrilled with this because we've heard lots of great things about Fort Campbell and the surrounding area.

So as the move approached (we're moving at the end of July), we started discussing whether to rent or buy a home. In the past, we've always just rented because we really didn't even think of buying as an option for us. In my mind, buying a house was something we would do when we got out of the Army.

But as we started looking into options in the Clarksville area (the town outside of Fort Campbell), our views on buying started to change. The idea of purchasing a home still scared the bejeezus out of us, but there were too many advantages to it for us to not at least consider the idea.

I decided to book a trip to fly out to Tennessee with my mom and attempt to find a home (my husband couldn't get away from work). My mind was still pretty much set on finding a rental, but we went ahead and got pre-approved for a loan just in case we decided to buy.

The trip to Tennessee was this past Monday and Tuesday and we looked at a whole bunch of rental homes on the first day. About half of the rentals were immediately ruled out when we toured them because they were just disgusting/dirty/unlivable. We did find two rentals that would have worked for us, but one of them was already rented out (to someone else) by that evening and the other was located really, really far from Post.

At this point, I started to revisit the idea of buying. We were down to only one viable rental option and it was located super far away from where we wanted to be. It was also really expensive. Rental homes in Clarksville are in high demand so they charge a hefty premium for them. I just couldn't stomach the thought of how much money we'd be putting into a house that wasn't even ours.

On the second day, I asked our realtor to show us some houses in a price range that we were comfortable with just to see what we could get. That was the beginning of the end. :)

We looked at a couple of houses for sale on the second day, but still nothing was really jumping out at me. I was determined that if I was going to purchase a home it had to really WOW me. I wasn't going to settle just because I was desperate.

That is, until I found the house.

The moment I saw this house, even just from the outside, I felt like it was home.
It felt warm and comforting inside and it had a lot of the features that were important to us.

Possibly my favorite part of the house is the ginormous backyard with a lovely deck and tons of trees. I could see us throwing a party out here and having a blast with our friends.

The master bedroom could use a paint job and it's smaller than we're used to, but I know we'll make it work.

Now here's a shocker...the kitchen isn't perfect, but somehow I still love it.

The cabinets are a lighter stain than I like. It's not an open floor plan. There aren't a ton of cabinets or counterspace. The pantry is smaller than I'd prefer. The appliances are old and need to be replaced. The backsplash is boring white. Etc, etc, etc.
I thought the kitchen would be the thing I would be the most picky about, since I do spend so much time in it. But, surprisingly, those things didn't deter me. Instead of looking at those things as a negative, I saw them as potential. We can improve those things ourselves and potentially increase our resale value.

(Sidenote: I think my expectations for kitchens were also too high. I was sorely disappointed with almost every kitchen I saw, so this one seemed like a huge step up! I don't know why, but it seems like people don't put the same importance on kitchens in this area as they do in other parts of the country. Most of them were TINY and I simply can't work in a tiny kitchen. )

After we finished touring the house, I knew I wanted to put an offer in right away. Coming from the Queen of Indecisiveness, this was huge.

I still had to convince my husband, who was back in Arizona and still thinking that we were going to rent. Luckily, once I talked to him over the phone and told him to look at photos online, he (somewhat reluctantly) agreed that we should put in an offer. Poor guy was probably blindsided by the whole ordeal!

So we did. That same day we put in a offer. Talk about a whirlwind!!

We received a counteroffer by that same night from the seller, slept on it, put in our own final counteroffer, and then waited and prayed that things would work out.

As I was about to step on the plane to head home I got a call from our realtor letting me know that they accepted our counteroffer (!!!!).

So that's pretty much where things stand as of now. We're awaiting our inspection next week to see how that goes, but we're hopeful that it will come back without any major issues.

I have lots to say on the subject of buying a home, but this post is long enough already so I'll leave it like it is for now.

I never expected this to happen in such a whirlwind so it's been a bit of an emotional journey thus far, but I'm confident that things will work out the way they're supposed to.

If it's meant to be, it will be!

Friday, June 24, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #46

Check out Wife of a Sailor's blog for more information.

1. Are you a different person than you were five years ago?
I don't think I'm a different person at the core (i.e. values, beliefs, personality), but I've definitely done a LOT of growing up in the past five years. Five years ago I was still in college, dating my (future) husband and my biggest concern was how I scored on my Finance test. In the time since then I graduated college, found my first post-college job, got married (almost four years ago...crazy!!), Alex commissioned into the Army, we moved FOUR times (into our first apartment in Houston, then to Fort Huachuca for a short stint, then to Fort Hood for 3 years, then to Fort Huachuca again for 8 months, and we're gearing up to move again next month!), Alex deployed for a year (probably the time that I grew up and changed the most), and my dad was diagnosed with cancer last September. That's A LOT of things that have happened in five years so how could you not change/develop when all that's going on in your life?
Spring Break '07 in Destin...definitely done some growing up since this trip!! :)

2. If you could go on "Amazing Race" who would you take with you and why? We were just discussing this last night because we were watching ABC's new knock-off version of the Amazing Race called Expedition Impossible. I told Alex that I think if we were to go on a show like that it would probably be the end of our marriage. I know that sounds bad but I just know how I work and I can be a VERY difficult person to live with when I'm under major stress/exhaustion/fear/etc. I am afraid I would reach my breaking point, quit the show, and possibly let Alex down. Alex's response was "Don't worry...I wouldn't pick you as my partner on a show like that anyway." LOL....at least we're on the same page!

3. Does Facebook or Twitter actually bring more stress or good into your life? I'm a big lover of Facebook and Twitter. I like being "in the know" and social networking allows you to do that. I'm also a TERRIBLE phone person...talking on the phone just never has been one of my favorite things and therefore social networking is a great alternative way to keep in touch with those you love. The only major downside for me is that Facebook/Twitter does sometimes bring on jealousy/envy for me personally. For example, when Alex was deployed many people on Facebook would post complaints about how their husband/significant other was leaving for a week long business trip or something of the sorts. Those kind of comments really stung and made me angry because I wanted to scream "DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW GOOD YOU HAVE IT?!?" Obviously I had to realize that they weren't writing those things to purposely make me jealous, but it was still pretty hard.

4. June is National Soul Food Month. What is your soul food? Hmm...I love food so I'd say ALL food is my soul food. I really love chicken fried steak with lots of gravy and mashed potatoes but I rarely order it (for obvious reasons) so maybe that would be my #1 soul food.

5. If you could live in any other era other than the current, which would it be and why? The 1940's and 50's!! I've always loved the fashion of that era. It was so glamorous!

Friday, June 17, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-in #45

1. Underwear Parties: How old is too old? I didn't even know what an "underwear party" was but I just Googled it and it said it's "a party where everybody strips down to there underwear. the party goes on as a usual party ,but can turn into a sex party if the people are willing." Umm....I'm gonna say anyone with any self-respect is DEFINITELY too old for this type of party. I wouldn't have even been comfortable with this kind of party when I was in college, but maybe that makes me a prude....?

2. What was your favorite class in high school? Spanish! I LOVED Spanish class and I was actually good at it so that made me love it even more. :) (Plus, my mom is a high school Spanish teacher so maybe I had a leg up?)

3. Have you ever convinced packers/movers to pack something they aren't supposed to for a PCS? I've never "convinced" them persay, but we always try to kill our packers/movers with kindness in the hopes that they'll go easy on us. It worked the last time because they packed a few things they weren't technically supposed to (i.e. candles) AND nothing that they packed broke in transit! Woohoo!

4. Blogging plays a growing roll in the media. If you were asked to embed as a blogger with a deployed military unit, would you go? What do you think your blog would be like? No, I probably wouldn't go. I leave the dangerous work to my husband. :)

5. Do you think kids should attend year-round school?
I've only ever been in schools with summer breaks, so I'm gonna go with no. I think kids (and teachers!) really look forward to their summers as a nice, long break so I would hate to see that go.

Monday, June 13, 2011

This Week in Fitness

Monday 6/6: Rest Day

Tuesday 6/7: 3 hour hike in the Sedona Red Rocks (AMAZING!! See photos below)

Wednesday 6/8: Rest/Travel Day (end of vacation...sad face)

Thursday 6/9: Jackie's X-Treme Timesaver Training + 5-4-3-2-1 Treadmill Workout (5 minute warmup walk--5 min jog/run--2 min walk--4 min jog/run--2 min walk--3 min jog/run--2 min walk--2 min jog/run--2 min walk--1 min jog/run--3 min cooldown walk)

Friday 6/10: 1 mile jog + 4 mile walk

Saturday 6/11: 20 Minute Sweat + Jackie's 1-on-1 Core (both from Exercise OnDemand)

Sunday 6/12: Treadmill Workout that went like this: 5 minute warm-up walk, 8 minute jog, 4 minute walk, 6 minute jog, 3 minute walk, 4 minute jog, 2 minute walk, 2 minute jog, 5 minute cool-down walk

I'm feeling a bit down about my fitness this week because it appears as though my running endurance has suffered a LOT from my 2 week hiatus. Between the sickness and the vacation, I just kind of let things slide for a while and it is totally coming back to bite me.

On Friday, as you can see, I attempted a jog but was seriously suffering after 1 mile. ONE MILE! Are you kidding me?! So I stopped and walked it out the rest of the way, getting angrier with every step.

Needless to say, 10K training has been put on the back burner until I can get my endurance up to 5K standards again. I'm hoping it'll come back quickly, because I feel like I worked way too hard to get to this point for it to all disappear after only 2 weeks.

On a totally different note, my favorite part of this week was definitely the amazing hike we took in Sedona, AZ. Sedona is known for having beautiful red rock formations and mild weather. It is seriously God's Country and there are breathtaking views everywhere you look. We had the BEST time and would definitely recommend Sedona as a vacation spot to anyone. It will be well worth it!

Here are some photos of our hike for your viewing pleasure!

Friday, June 10, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #44

1. When you vacation, what type of vacation do you like to take (beach, historic, adventurous, food oriented, etc.)? I like to seriously relax when I'm on vacation, so for that reason I love beach vacations. I don't really enjoy sightseeing or museums all that much, unfortunately. The funny thing is that although I love beaches, I shy away from the sun a lot due to my extremely fair skin that burns easily. So usually you can find me under an umbrella, slathered up with SPF 85, and reading a book or napping. And ALL of our vacations revolve around food. I'm a total foodie (obviously you know that if you read this blog) so I live for eating and drinking on vacation.

2. What is your best memory associate with a song? I associate a lot of songs with a lot of great memories. Obviously the most prominent one is the song that Alex and I danced to at our wedding: "Feels Like Home" by Chantal Kreviazuk. I love the words in that song and I'm surprised more people don't know it. Beyonce's "Single Ladies" always will bring back memories of deployment since it came out around that time and my girlfriends and I would always dance and sing along to it (even though we were only geographically single at the time).

3. If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with your time? I would probably go live somewhere tropical where they also speak Spanish like Costa Rica or Dominican Republic. I would live in some amazing vacation rental for 6 months, explore, eat and most important of all, practice my Spanish.

4. What is one thing that people do NOT typically notice about you that you wish they would? Uhhh this is a weird question. I have no idea what people normally notice about me, aside from my staggering beauty of course. ;-)

5. It's a summer of sequels, and if you had to live in one of each of the following worlds (3 total) which would it be and why?
- X-Men: Be a mutant, what would your power be? Invisibility.
- Harry Potter: Be a witch or a muggle? Witch, I guess. I don't really get into HP so I don't even really know what a muggle is exactly.
- Twilight: Be a vampire or a werewolf? Werewolf, because they are still alive and warm instead of dead and cold. Also because they don't have to kill people to survive.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Week in Fitness

Sorry this is so late this week! We spent the past week in Tucson and Sedona vacationing with family and friends. It was so so so much fun, but I definitely didn't keep up with working out and eating right as much as I normally do. I was really ready to get back home so I could finally get back on my healthy eating and working out routine!

Monday 5/30: Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

Tuesday 5/31: Walked 2.4 miles (attempted to run but was still too sick/congested, so I just walked)

Wednesday 6/1: Rest Day

Thursday 6/2: Rest Day (beginning of vacation)

Friday 6/3: Interval Treadmill Workout in the hotel gym that went like this: 5 minute warm-up walk--jog 10 minutes--walk 5 minutes--jog 8 minutes--walk 4 minutes--jog 6 minutes--walk 3 minutes--jog 4 minutes--walk 2 minutes--jog 2 minutes--walk 5 minutes (cool down)

Saturday 6/4: Bootcamp Class at the hotel -- I loved that our hotel offered this class! It was an outdoor class that involved lots of pushups, lunges, squats, and jogging from place to place. It was a great change of pace from my normal routine and the next day my arms were SO SORE.

Sunday 6/5: Rest Day (unless you consider laying by the pool to be a workout)