Garage Sales, Parade of Homes, & A Block Party

This past weekend was filled to the brim and the weather was absolutely gorgeous -- low 70s with clear skies and cool breezes.

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This little cutie turned TWO over the weekend -- it seems like just yesterday that she came home from the hospital! 

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Since I had Friday off, my sister and I hit a bunch of the garage sales in our area and we came home with so great finds! 

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My favorite item of the day was a baby seat in brand-new condition, which is what I was hoping to find! We plan to keep this swing downstairs in the living room and then the baby seat will stay upstairs so we I have a place to put baby in the bathroom / bedroom while I'm getting ready. I also love that it's neutral colored because I'm not a huge fan of brightly-colored baby items; I prefer that they blend in with the home rather than take the center stage in a room.

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After our garage sale adventures, we ate lunch together and then they went home for naps and I headed out to the post office to mail a freelance project to a client and then hit the grocery store. 

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Is it just me or is seeing what people buy for groceries super fascinating? I feel like it helps me get new ideas whenever I'm in a food rut, which is usually quite often since I tend to eat the same foods over and over again.

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After I put away all the groceries, I headed outside to read for a bit before Andy got home from work. I just started this book and it has me hooked! 

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Once Andy arrived home from work, I made up some sub sandwiches and we ate dinner outside on our front porch together before heading out for a walk through the neighborhood. 

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The next morning, I was up bright and early to meet my small group girls for our first meeting of this next year of study! It was so good to see everyone and catch up since I hadn't seen most of them in so long (we take a break from meeting over the summer). 

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Afterwards, I swung by the library to drop off a book and pick up this one and then headed home to eat lunch before heading out for a day date with Andy.

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We were both so excited because it was the first weekend of the fall session of Parade of Homes!

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We were especially looking forward to this round of POH so that we could get ideas for light fixtures, rugs, dining room tables, and paint colors. 

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We also talked about doing some funky wallpaper in our powder bathroom on the main level -- how cool is this back-lit mirror, too?!

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Later that evening, we headed to our neighborhood block party! It was so fun to get to know our neighbors a little better as we ate and hung out on our street. Once it got dark, they set up a bonfire and we all made s'mores, which was actually my first one of the summer! We had such a great time and are really looking forward to doing life alongside these families that live around us! 

Be sure to check back tomorrow because I'll be sharing the gender of our baby on the blog! :)

Best part of your weekend?
What are your thoughts on wallpaper coming back in style?

Niece Night & Labor Day Weekend

This 3-day weekend has been so nice! I left work by early afternoon on Friday so that I could kick off the holiday weekend a little early. On my drive home, I stopped and grabbed a PSL (since my other one was a fail) and headed home with one intention: to sit outside and read. 

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You guys, it was glorious. Perfectly sunny day, PSL in hand, a new magazine, and finishing up the last few pages of my book. A bunch of kids in our neighborhood were outside playing in the front yards and my heart was just so happy. It feels so good to have our own home with a front porch where we can sit outside and relax. 

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Once Andy got home, he mowed our lawn and I headed out for a run followed by a walk through the neighborhoods. Later that evening, we watched an old movie that he found on Amazon Prime and it was really good! There's just something about movie nights together on Fridays that I just love.

The next morning, I headed out for a long walk through the neighborhoods while listening to a podcast. Upon arriving home, I made some breakfast while Andy and I chatted about what we wanted to do that day / throughout the weekend. We toyed with the idea of going furniture shopping but felt like we couldn't find anything we liked online, so we nixed that idea and decided to have a relaxing day instead.

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I cleaned a little, did some baby registry research, then read for a bit. While getting ready, I decided to deep clean my beauty drawer -- I washed the storage containers, wiped down all of my cosmetic containers, and tossed old items that I no longer use. It's crazy how dirty makeup items get after awhile -- transluscent powder and eyeshadow gets everywhere.

Later that afternoon,  our nieces came over while my sister and brother-in-law went to the State Fair. We decided to skip the State Fair this year since I wasn't sure if I could last a full day of walking around in the heat. However, we are planning to go next year since we'll have a little eight month old with us! :)

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While the girls were here, we baked a Funfetti cake, made dinner, played upstairs in the playroom in our loft, and watched one of my favorite childhood movies. 

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It was a blast from the past as we played with all of my old Polly Pockets and my old Gameboy Color! 

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On Sunday, I ran to the library to drop off a few books and pick up this new one, which I'm really excited about! Today is going to be a cloudy / stormy day and I'm really looking forward to doing some reading and watching tv! We also split up the grocery shopping -- I hit Target and Andy swung by Costco for our weekly essentials. I picked up a new laundry basket while I was there and it was so handy for transporting the groceries to the conveyor belt and then into my vehicle and finally into the house. I'm thinking I need to keep some sort of basket in the trunk of my car for this very reason.

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Upon arriving home, I got to work roasting some veggies for the week -- roasted onion, tomatoes, and garlic for homemade tomato soup and then roasted acorn and spaghetti squash to eat throughout the week. 

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My sister came over later that afternoon to help me set up our baby registries and talk about baby shower details -- it felt SO good to make some progress in both of these areas. I started out on Babylist, but after asking around and doing a little more research, I decided to do registries at actual stores instead.

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After Andrea headed out, I whipped up some homemade tomato soup and it turned out so well! I love making up recipes as I go -- I put the roasted tomatoes / onions / garlic into the food processor with a huge handful of fresh basil and whipped them up with some organic veggie broth. Then I transferred everything into a stock pot, added S&P, olive oil, and a few shakes of dried oregano. I let it simmer for awhile and then served it up! Will definitely be making this again but next time I think I'll double / triple the recipe because it only made about 4 cups of soup.

Once the kitchen was all cleaned up, I cozied up on the couch with a slice of Funfetti cake and got to work adding items to our registries. I ended the evening with a hot bath and went to bed way too late -- especially since I was up bright and early at my usual 6am this morning. 

Today will be a low-key day for us -- probably do some laundry, work on the registries, and just relax! I'm hoping the rain holds off for a little bit so I can get outside for a run later! 

What's been the best part of your weekend?
What are your Labor Day plans?

Celebrating Andy's Birthday

I haven't been blogging much because we've been having some issues with our Thunderbolt display for our Mac. I'm currently blogging from my old laptop at our kitchen island and Andy ordered a new display which should be here tomorrow, which means I'll be back in business very soon!

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This past weekend we headed out to celebrate Andy's birthday! It's crazy to think how much has changed since his last birthday! 

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We started out on Saturday with a long walk through our new neighborhood -- we ended up walking over five miles and it was fun to explore around the area! As we arrived home, a few of our neighbors were out -- including a few that we hadn't met yet, so we introduced ourselves and chatted for a bit. It just makes my heart so happy to be living in this neighborhood full of people around our age and in a similar stage of life. We're having a neighborhood block party in a couple weeks and I'm seriously so excited for it! 

After showers and getting ready, we headed out to do some shopping before grabbing dinner. Our first stop was IKEA and we both agreed that we're kind of over that store after browsing around and realizing that we're past the stage where items from there work for our lifestyle. 

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So naturally, we headed to Crate & Barrel afterwards, which is definitely more up our alley.

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We browsed around for a bit and came across this gorgeous couch, but didn't end up purchasing anything.

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We also walked through Restoration Hardware, which is a store that we both love! Now that we have a house of our own, I really want to step up my interior design game and bring my design background into it.

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Afterwards, we went out for dinner in The Galleria -- I said "this is so good" around six times while eating this vegetarian kung pao stir fry. It seriously hit the spot! I want to find a good kung pao sauce recipe so I can recreate this spicy dish at home.

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Afterwards, we drove around to a few Caribou Coffee shops so that we could see my additions to their fall collection on the shelves and purchase a few to take home with us.

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I headed out for a run on Sunday morning and it felt so good to breeze through the neighborhoods and local trails while listening to my workout playlist.

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Once I got home, I immediately went to work making a pumpkin soup -- I saw a photo of it online, and decided to take a stab at creating my own version of it. It was a mix of pumpkin, carrots, onion, apples, spices, vegetable broth, and coconut milk all simmered together and then blended up to create a rich and velvety soup. It turned out so well and I'm looking forward to enjoying it throughout the week! 

I spent the rest of the day doing some meal prep, laundry, and reading a library book -- it was the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

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Andy brought home a few paint samples and paint color books while he was out during the afternoon and these made me so excited! Our walls are gray, but we'd like to switch them to a different shade of gray (#designerproblems) -- hopefully within the next month or so! Our neighbors that we met on Saturday invited us inside their house to see their recent remodel and it had us both itching to make some changes to our home so that it feels a little more like "ours."

Later that evening, I made homemade enchiladas for dinner and then gave myself a manicure while watching TV before taking a hot bath and calling it a night. I love our low-key Sundays -- they're the perfect way to recharge before starting a new work week.

I need your advice -- what's a great neutral gray paint color (no warm or cool undertones)?
Favorite kind of soup?
Black bean or tomato are my favorites! 

Life Lately Vol. 3

Whew! I still feel like we haven't slowed down for awhile because not only did we move, but I also started a new job three days after we got keys to our new house! I definitely miss my friends at my old job (our creative team was seriously the best!), but am so excited for this new opportunity! More to come!

Speaking of my old job, the fall collection for Caribou Coffee (one of my main clients) recently launched -- I plan to purchase these so I can get better photos than what is on the website, but I designed / illustrated this mug, this tumbler, and these mugs! 

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I can't remember if I already mentioned this already or not, but I purchased shoes similar to these slip-ons a few weeks ago and literally wear them every other day -- they're my favorite color and I love the style! They're super comfy, too! I linked to a similar style because mine are actually the kids version of them since I'm forever on team little foot. They come in a variety of colors and are currently on sale so check them out! Also, if you haven't tried AG Jeans yet, you are missing out -- I scooped up a new pair (similar) for fall and this brand is always a favorite! 

It tends to be a pattern for me with having a move coexisting with another major life event. In the past, I've moved the same weekend that I've ran a half marathon, moved right before getting married, and a few years ago, I moved the day before starting a new job. Luckily, this time around I was able to push my start date out a few days so I could unpack, get groceries, etc. before starting a new routine!

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I swear, once August hits (okay, let's be honest -- it's more like after the 4th of July), I am SO ready for all things fall. I have friends that want summer forever, but I'm all about those crisp mornings, vibrant-colored trees, delicious soups, and pumpkin spice everything right about now. I did make some pumpkin bread a few weeks ago, but other than that, I'm trying to make myself hold off on most of the fall festivities until the temps cool down. 

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I've been on a cooking kick ever since we moved in and it makes me feel so good to be back in the kitchen! The kitchen in our last place was really lacking -- the appliances didn't work well and there was zero counter space. This new environment has been so inspiring for me to get back into whipping together new things, which is something I am so passionate about! 

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We hosted our first "dinner" in our new house last weekend when my bestie came over for a girls' night! Dinner is in quotes because we still need to find a dining room table, so things were pretty casual, but that's usually how we roll anyway! I put together a little spread of snacks and threw together a Thai chopped salad to enjoy while we caught up on life. Nights like these are always my favorite! 

What's your go-to menu when you host guests? I love putting together appetizer spreads! 
Ever moved alongside another big life event?

Homeowners

Yesterday morning we closed on our first home!

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We are so excited to make this house a home filled with lots of memories! We first met our realtors back in November to talk about the home-buying process and fill them in on what we were looking for. We talked about areas we wanted to live in (near my sister, close to work, etc.), types of houses we liked and didn't like, our budget, and how long we planned to live in our first home. We also talked about building vs buying existing since we both prefer new construction.

They set us up with a custom home search to get us started -- we started receiving emails whenever a new home popped up in our budget, preferred location, style of home, etc. 

After the holidays, we met with a loan officer to talk about the financial part of purchasing a home. We filled out some paperwork and within a day or so, he sent over our approval letter. With this approval, we were able to officially start our house-hunting process! 

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We looked at a few homes on a freezing cold Saturday morning in January. One of them was a vacant home that had recently been built in a new development -- it had a great layout, but the construction didn't look like the best quality.

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Afterwards, we looked at another home just a few minutes away in an existing neighborhood. This particular home had been sold, but there were two lots available just a couple doors down so we decided to check it out to see if we wanted to build a similar style of home down the street.

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We LOVED this house -- it was seriously perfect! We talked about going the building route and met with the builder, toured another home by the same builder, and started planning things out. It was all fun and games until you realize that if you want to build your perfect home, the price goes up really fast. We talked it over again and again, and ultimately we decided that now is not the time to build. 

Back to the drawing board! A couple weeks later we found another house that we really liked, put an offer in and it was accepted that evening! However, after the inspection came back with a few worrisome items, we decided to decline. I was feeling a bit discouraged by this point -- we were so ready to get this show on the road!

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We looked and looked, but inventory was super low and prices were really high due to the current market. We met with our realtors in April because I was feeling like we weren't going to find anything after months of fruitless searching. They encouraged us by saying that the right house would pop up at the right time.

It was funny, because just a few weeks later, our house popped up! I immediately texted Andy to tell him to keep an eye on the house that they just posted -- it sounded like a great one but there weren't any photos up yet. He texted me back awhile later to let me know that the photos were up -- I was so excited once I flipped through the album online; this seemed like the house for us! 

We made an appointment to see the house that evening, submitted an offer, and our offer was accepted the following evening! I'll be sure to share more once we move in -- it just feels so good to have a home to call our own! 

Have you purchased a home before?
Favorite thing about where you live?