Friday, March 20, 2015

The Final Weeks

Welps, we're cleared to close.


In less than two weeks, I will officially be a homeowner.


For years, my husband and I have talked about our eventual home and what it would be like. I have to say that I'm pretty emotional about it - I'm totally going to be one of those people that cries after closing (after reattaching my hand after signing so many damn papers). Also, I will totally be one of those people who takes the house keys, drive to my new house, give it a hug, and whisper "I'm so glad you're mine; we're going to get along swimmingly."

It's been a long and stressful process, of which I'll share some details on later when life is a bit calmer (because, buying a house + full time job + todder +keeping our current residence show-ready = crazytown, which is why I've been MIA lately), but we have a few people to thank for making it loads easier than the last time we went through it:

  • Our wonderful real estate agent, who has helped us through every step of the process and is, quite possibly, the most responsive person I've ever met in my life. I mean, I sent her an email the weekend before Christmas (not expecting a reply - believe me, I'm not a fan of making people work during the holidays, which is why I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving!) and she replied within an hour. She's super smart and knowledgeable, which is why we wanted her in the first place. She also was the first agent we had that didn't try to do a hard sell; in fact, she warned us against buying the first property she showed us, which won a TON of brownie points in my book as I'm not at all a fan of the hard sell. Which is probably why I hate shopping for cars.
  • Our loan officer, who was referred to us by our real estate agent. We started off with the bank we worked with last time, thinking it was just the loan officer we worked with that was the problem; nope, it was actually the entire mortgage department that sucked, which was unfortunate. The new loan officer we've been working with has been tirelessly helping us through the loan process and is so proactive, which was HUGE as the last time we went through the process the bank was not at all responsive and we had no clue what was going on until the last minute - basically things got moving only after we were forced to play bad cop because the bank wasn't communicative at all. The loan process was a lot smoother this time around, and it's huge part to our loan officer.
  • Our attorney, who was the first one to respond to our query asking for one when our offer was accepted on the house. He's been super responsive and helpful, as neither of us have ever retained an attorney before (we never had a reason to; plus, to be honest, I just don't like lawyers). I've been impressed by his experience and knowledge, and how great he's been at communicating with all parties regarding the purchase.
One key theme you'll see from these people is that they are experienced, responsive, and proactive - for first time homebuyers like ourselves, this was HUGE. Granted, we kind of went through the process previously, but part of the reason we freaked last time was because we didn't really have help. This time around, I was adamant that we have professionals on our side that could help us without us having to do all of the work (because we're busy people, ya know!). Like any home purchase, it wasn't without its hiccups, but overall this time around went a LOT smoother thanks to those three pros helping us out.

I'll try to get in a post next week, but the more likely scenario is that I'll too busy packing/toddler wrangling to get one done. Next post will likely include some variation of me hugging our new house.


Friday, February 27, 2015


Yes, that's what's been blowing through here lately. Want to know why? Here's a quick digest:
  • This winter has been crazy cold, and therefore, depressing. I mean, it's almost March, and we STILL have negative temperatures. WTH?
  • Referring to the point above, as we all have been spending way more time inside than we really should, we've been sick. For, like, a month. And no, I'm not joking. It all started at Owen's daycare, where he caught croup and developed a nasty double ear infection. Then, because he's all about sharing these days, he shared his germs with me and I got really sick (I'm STILL sick, to be perfectly honest - it's a cold that has developed into a nasty sinus infection). Somehow, the plague Gods smiled down on Brian and he has yet to get sick, but we'll see how long that lasts....
  • Work = crazytown, both because it's been busy and also because I've had to miss work due to Owen getting sick, and then me getting sick. Which is just, you know, great when you have gazillion things you need to get done!
Oh, and did I mention - we need to have the house show-ready by tomorrow. Right now, it's full of crushed up Goldfish crackers, mounds of laundry that need to be washed/put away, and used Kleenex.

I'll be back soon, I promise. Hopefully with clearer sinuses, less of a cough, and a cleaner house.

Friday, February 6, 2015

All the house is a stage

It's February. Which means next month is March. Which means the closing on our house is drawing ever closer.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! :)

In addition to packing up everything and moving and all that jazz, my landlords (aka: my parents) are working on selling the house we're currently living in. We've been keeping it neat and attractive looking, but apparently that wasn't good enough for the real estate agent who's selling the joint. 

Let me explain: yes, it's neat and stylin' for showings, but apparently there are other things we need to address that we never even thought of. Apparently nowadays, most people who are looking at houses don't want to have to do anything to it, and want it to be their dream home as soon as they walk in. So, there can't be any evidence of us in the house (like family photos, magnets on the fridge, books, etc.). 

And, since our dining room light is coming with us to the new house, we need to find something comparable to the other lights in the main living area to replace it (the rest of the lights won't fit in with the new place, so we'll just leave them).

As a reminder, it went from blaaaaaah to awesome thanks to the Crate & Barrel Outlet Store.

We need to find something to replace it that isn't blaaaaaaah. So, here are a few I'm thinking about:

IKEA 365+ BRASA Pendant Light

This is a good, large, basic lamp that can be customized for the space - this one is screaming "SPRAY PAINT ME!" I'm tempted to listen. That metal clanging sound you hear? That's me, shaking spray-paint cans with glee. Ikea 365+ BRASA Pendant Light, $39.99

IKEA Boja Pendant Light Rattan

I really like this one and originally considered it for the space before I fell in love with the one from Crate & Barrel instead. It's a little pricer than the BRASA, but still very reasonable. Ikea Boja Pendant Light Rattan, $59.99.

CB2 Liberty Pendant Light
If price were no object, I'd go for this one in a heartbeat. It's a little dark, but I think it would fit in really well with the space. Too bad I'm a little cash poor at the moment. CB2 Liberty Pendant Lamp, $229.

Pottery Barn Wine Barrel Pendant Light

Yes, this is another expensive one. However, it may be relatively easy to recreate with some wood and a lighting kit. More of an "inspiration" photo than anything. ;) Pottery Barn Wine Barrel Pendant Light, $245.

Any other ideas of relatively inexpensive pendant lights I could put in this space? Thoughts on spray painting/stenciling the BRASA?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dreaming of blank walls and bacon

Although we're not moving into our new house until April (granted everything goes smoothly from here on out - so far, so good!), I'm getting antsy to get started on decorating the new place. Dude, I haven't even moved my millions of boxes of crap into this teeny tiny house, and already I want to add to it.

Yep. I have a problem. And I'm a-okay with that!

So, when I heard from the good folks at Minted, it was perfect timing to feed my future new home decor planning addiction. For those not in the know, Minted is an online marketplace of independent artists and designers. Those of you who know me well are well aware that I'm all about supporting artists and other talented professionals directly, and this is a super awesome way to do it. Plus, this way you can get something that's one of a kind while not burning too much of a hole in your pocket (because, as we're saving up for a house, I can totally use all of the money-saving tricks I can get).

I trolled around the site, which is fairly easy to navigate, and located quite a few gems - I had a hard time narrowing it down to just these! I do wish there had been more pop culture art to choose from, though (like Star Wars, some of my favorite musicals, etc...I guess it should really be called "Nerd Art").

Note: prices on these vary based on size; from what I've seen, the prices for the art prints themselves are pretty reasonable for what you get. 

I honestly don't know why I like this one so much. I think it's the colors - they're muted, yet somewhat playful. I don't think art has to be obvious to speak to you, does it? Price varies 

It's a deer! It's geometric prints! Put them together and you have something pretty damn cool! I can totally see this in my living room. Or my bedroom, weirdly enough...

This is one of my favorites - it reminds me of Autumn, which is my all time favorite season. I feel like the geometric shapes are leaves blowing in the wind. Let's just say: this piece moves me.

Although my city dwelling days are behind me for the time being, I'm still definitely a city girl at heart. When I first saw this piece, I was immediately transported back to my days living on the north side of Chicago. Thooooose were the days....

I know what you're thinking: compared to the others, as well as knowing my personal taste in art, this one is pretty run-of-the-mill. Honestly, I don't even know why I like it so much - my brain tells me it's just another picture of fog over some mountains, but for some odd reason when I look at it, I relax and find myself staring at it in breathless wonder. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants.

Before we move into the new house and make it pretty, we're having a last hurrah at our current place to celebrate our 10 year anniversary (as in, from when we first started dating. In college. Like, I was a teenager when I started dating my husband. Freaky.). And get this - to celebrate, we're hosting a bacon-themed party. Which means that Minted's new Save the Date Collection may come in handy....

Anyone else have a bunch of blank walls they're dreaming about decorating? Any other crazy people out there like Brian and I who have been together for a decade (or longer)?!

Full Disclosure: Compensation for this post was provided by Minted. Opinions expressed in this post are my own.