~53~ New Look

In case you haven't noticed, I've updated my look.  Due to the snow, we got out of school a couple of hours early yesterday and I decided to spend my extra time making some changes to my blog.  I've been wanting to do it for a while now, and just haven't had the time to really sit down and figure out how I wanted it to look when I was done.  My main reason for doing so was to give it a cleaner, crisper look.  I felt that it was too "messy" looking, for a lack of a better word.  Mostly, I wanted to redo my banner, giving it some lines and framing.  Using my amateur design skills, what you see now, is what I came up with.  While I know it's not the most glamorous, or pristine looking banner, it is a huge improvement (IMO) from what it was previously.  

With the update to my banner, I knew that I also needed to change the background of my blog body.  I wanted a cute background, and to get rid of the peach color.  I changed my template in blogger, and found the cute cupcake design online.  I am still in search of the perfect background pattern, but for now-that will do. I also added on the "you might also like" posts at the bottom to help readers better navigate my blog and find posts of similar topics.  The final touch, was updating my signature at the bottom of each post.  I was never able to perfectly match the  colors and it stood out-which I hated, but was honestly too lazy at the time to do anything about it.  I knew that for my skills, the only solution was to change the background color of my posts to white. 

So there you have it, a new and improved blog design.  I'm sure that in the coming months or years (if I'm still blogging for that long), there will be more change to come.  Eventually, once I get a better vision for a final design look, I'll probably hire my friend, fellow blogger, and an extremely talented designer, Joy, to help me achieve a more polished, professional look. 

In the mean time, are there any things that you'd like to see on my blog? Any changes you think I should make?
If you're a blogger yourself, in what ways have you updated your blog?

Until next time, 


~52~New house = New Furniture

After buying the house and getting all of our ducks in a row, the first thing Jake and I started talking about was furniture.  While we have a lot of stuff (as evident by our never ending packing), we lack some nice, "grown up" pieces.  We have a good bed, an ok couch (which will be going to Jake's brother when we move), a recliner, and a love seat futon, but not enough to fill 4 bedrooms and 2 living rooms.  We started our shopping by browsing store deals and looking online.  Our first stop was a local store called Homemakers. They are definitely the largest and most popular in our area and notorious for having good deals. We found a lot that we liked, making a mental note-but didn't purchase anything on our first visit.  On a second trip, we went to American Furniture, but weren't impressed with their products or their much higher prices.  So, yesterday, we went back to Homemakers and took advantage of their 5% off everything sale paired with cheaper delivery and 10 months no interest financing.  After spending a good chunk of money, we feel so ready and excited to move in and set up our first home.  

Here's a break down of what we're doing in each room: 
*Front Living Room*
This will be used as a sitting room, but won't be our main living room.  We plan to put our newer tv stand in the same place as the red arm chair.  We liked their layout of the sofa and love seat and wanted to do the same thing.  We picked out a beautiful and very comfy cream colored couch on our first visit, but were dismayed to find out that someone bought it and they didn't have any left when we returned.  Luckily, they had the exact same sofa and love seat in a gray color.  I wasn't as thrilled with it at first, but I think it will be a good fit.  The walls will be painted a light sea blue/green, which I think will really accent/compliment the grey well.

We also got a beautiful coffee table and matching end table to tie everything together.

*Lower Living Room*

This will be our main living room, or den.  We plan to put a 55" tv over the fireplace and run the cords through the wall to the garage side and install a shelf to house our cable box and PS3.  There are some major changes I want to make to the look of the room.  First, we are painting the walls a beige color and staining the ledge under the window and on the fireplace a dark brown color.  The window trim and baseboards will be painted white.  We got a new 2 piece sectional along with a super comfortable leather chair, and a 2x2 storage ottoman.
There's really not a lot that we need to do with the kitchen.  There's no pantry, so I plan to buy a simple armoire and turn it into this inspiration pantry to put along the wall opposite the bar/long counter.

We also do not currently have a dining room table that we like or chairs to go with it, so we bought this table and 6 of the chairs:

The table is 5" at its smallest, and has 2 drop in leaves to make it a nice long table when we need it.  This is probably one of my favorite purchases that we made. Behind the table, we would like to take out the iron railing and replace it with a bookshelf or a wooden railing.
The final touch that we want to add is adding stones along the front of the bar using a product I found online called AirStone. 

*Master Bedroom*
We currently have only one bed.  When we move, this bed will go into the guest bedroom downstairs. Therefore, we needed a new bed for our room!  Jake and I tossed around the idea of upgrading to a king bed (from a queen), but decided that we really didn't need one.  We've done just fine on the queen one for the past 5 years, with a dog-I might add-so we feel ok staying with what we have.  Plus, we didn't want to take up more room in an already smallish master with a giant bed.  We found a great storage bed in black that was at a steal of a price (holy cow, bed frames are expensive!) and added on a really nice euro-pillow top mattress.  Unfortunately the frame won't be in until after we move, so we'll have to sleep either on the old bed, or on the box spring/mattress on the floor until we get it in. 
In terms of decorating, we are painting the walls a light grey color over their cream and lime green accent wall opposite where the bed is now. When we move in, the bed will go on the opposite wall of where they have it now, which is just way too anti-feng shui for my taste.  For our bed, I am in love with this duvet cover: 

*Main Bathroom*
I have SO many ideas for this bathroom.  First is to paint and get rid of the terrible mustard color.  Since there's blue tile around the shower, we need to keep it in a blue theme.  I love this color for the walls.
The vanity will be repainted black. As will the little wooden piece separating the toilet and vanity.  The most exciting project for this room is framing the mirror.  Currently, it's a standard glass mirror fixed to the wall.  I had never thought much of it until I saw them on Pinterest and knew that I wanted to do that to ours.  What a difference the look makes!

*Guest Bedroom 1*
This room used to house two little boys, hence the bunk beds and beautiful scenery on the walls.  This will be repainted eventually and turned into my craft room. (YAY!)  I plan to do 3 of the walls a really light yellow color and the 4th, a grey accent wall with pink stenciling.  I'm still not 100% set on the colors.  I'm not sure that I like how they all mesh together.  However, I WILL be using Valspar's paint crystals to add some glitter to the accent wall stencil!

There will plenty of posts to come as I put together my craft room-that will ONLY be my craft room! No more guest room/office/craft room combo.  I have yet to settle on any one idea because there are so many different options. 

*Guest Bedroom 2*
For the time being, this room will be an underused office.  We don't really have need for an office, but we also don't have need for an extra bedroom (sans bed), or a nursery (yet…)

*Guest Bedroom 3*
This room is in the basement and will be the official "Guest bedroom" because it is right next the 3/4 bath.  As you can see, it is painted grey.  We are going to keep it that color for now and paint just one of the walls purple.  Viking's purple to be exact.  The bed will go on the accent wall, and the room will serve as a Jake's Viking's shrine.

So there you have it, a pre-move in tour of our house.  I'm so anxious and excited to see how everything comes together.  I'm hoping that it comes out as good as, if not better than, what I'm envisioning in my head.

What updates did you do in your first home?
Until next time, 

~51~A New Level of Crafting

I'm baaack!! Did you miss me?

I know it's been a little over a month since my last post about Advocare, but I've had some big things going on in the past month, and I didn't want to blog about it until I had more confidence that everything was going to work out the way I wanted it to. 
Get ready, I'm about to enter a whole new phase of crafting because….

We bought a house!!!!!!!!

Jake and I had been casually looking for the past year, but haven't found anything that we loved.  While we have been tired of apartment living for the past 2 years, we didn't want to feel like we were settling when it comes to such a huge investment.  At the end of January, Jake was perusing Realtor.com and a cute home with some good specs caught his eye.  I had seen the listing before and bookmarked it, but never thought to go look at it for whatever reason.  Thank goodness Jake pulled it up when he did!  We contacted our wonderful realtor, and set up a time to go view it.  We quickly fell in love. It had everything that we were looking for at a great price and in a great neighborhood.  We had set a goal of finding a house by the end of spring 2013, since our apartment lease is up July 31.  Even though we found our house earlier than anticipated, it really could not had been better timing. I'm so excited to have all summer to work on the house!

Some of the "must have" qualities that were on our list as we looked at homes were: 
*3+ bedrooms and more than 1 bathroom*
Our house is a 4bed, 1.75 bath
*2 car garage*  
Check! And it's attached.  In our area, 2 car garages are hard to come by, especially ones that are attached.  Many have either a 1 car or a 3 car, but not 2.  For anyone who has had to spend numerous mornings scraping snow and ice off your car in the morning, you'll understand why this was a must have for me. 
*Fenced in yard*
Ours is a nice sized backyard with a chain link fence surrounding it.  We eventually will turn it into a wooden privacy fence, but for now it's just want we need.  We can't wait to have a yard for Buckles to roam!
*Finished basement*
We were willing to buy a house without a finished basement, as long as it allowed for the opportunity to finish it in the future.  Our house is a 4 level split.  3 of the bedrooms and main bath on the top floor, the kitchen and a living room on the main-2nd floor, another living room or den on the 3rd floor, and the final bedroom, 1.75 bath, and laundry room on the bottom floor.  Each level is at most 5 or 6 steps from the next level.  
*Newer big ticket items*
Our house has a brand new roof, furnace, painted siding, and appliances.  The last thing we wanted was to drop a bunch of money on a new house and have to put in a lot more on costly repairs.  While we know that anything can happen at any time, this minimizes those chances. 

Following the initial house tour, we arranged for Jake's parents to come look at it with us a second time the next week, to make sure we weren't overlooking anything because we had stars in our eyes.  It met their approval and we put in an offer the next day.  After a little back and forth negotiations, we landed on a final purchase agreement and suddenly, we were one giant step closer to being homeowners.  

We quickly moved forward with getting things set up with our mortgage lender, scheduling our inspection appointment, and setting up our homeowners insurance.   With all of those things ready to go, we are now eagerly awaiting move in day.  We close on March 19th, and get possession of the house on March 21st.  The countdown is now to 25 days.  Aside from waiting for our wedding day, this has felt like the longest wait ever.  

Pinterst as become an instant obsession and I already have so many ideas swirling in my head for what I want to do to make the it feel like OUR home.  If only I had an endless bank account!  Keep on the look out for house updates, as there are certain to be many of them.  Once we get moved in and settled, I will be sure to come back and post some before and after pictures.  

Until then,

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