Monday, June 29, 2015

A Day Late and...

Oops a day late and a dollar short on this weekend post, but so much has been happening! It is exciting and exhausting, but mostly just a reason to celebrate. This weekend, Andrew and I had one of most fun couple of days since we moved here. There was relaxing, DIYing, house shopping, concert-going, and CAL HAD HIS FIRST PUPPY CLASS.


Puppy class for me was the closest I've ever gotten to motherhood. By that I mean I was psychotic. Half the time I was all like like my puppy knows nothing, he will fail at life, he will live in my basement till he is 30, and I will be doing his laundry till I go to a nursing home. And then the other half I was like my puppy is the smartest dog in the whole world, I think he is doing trigonometry in the class downtime, and he should probably run for president. And then he poops in the house and I question my ability to know when avocados are ripe- let alone care for a being. In related news, anyone need a babysitter? I kid, I joke. Cal would get jealous and lick your child's face off.


In other news, Monday Runday has come and gone, but I can't just ignore it like that. No joke, I didn't want to hit up the gym for a lunchtime workout last week and I guilted myself into doing so because I wanted to share a photo of how gorgeous the view was.



We also joined the running club that I've been stalking from the deep, dark corners of the internet. It meets at a pub near my work and Andrew swung down, picked me up from work, and then we headed over. It was legit one million degrees (thermometers obviously are not my thing) and we took the 3 mile loop super slow, but it felt surprisingly great!

So here is what it looked like:
Monday- Last kickball game of the season
Tuesday- 3m run w/ run club
Wednesday- Put together our lamp for the new house... I thought it would take hours and it took about 20 minutes.
Thursday- Couple quick miles in which I TRIED to get Cal to run instead of walk... so I guess it was a couple slow miles where I looked like an idiot
Friday- Lunch time elliptical and weights at the work gym
Saturday- Long walks with Cal, coffee, and Andrew
Sunday- A marathon of netflix and napping

With the house stuff and Cal stuff and getting used to a new job stuff I'm anxious to get a bit more settled and back into a workout plan that is energizing. I know when I carve some time out of my day to get some of that extra energy out that I'm more enjoyable, less stressed, and I also sleep like a baby/ If nothing, however, I've learned through the tumultuous last two months to just focus on today. Training season will come (in mere weeks) so until then being a slug on the couch is fun too.

Hows your week going? Sending good vibes!
-S

Friday, June 26, 2015

5 for Friday 6.25.15

Can you believe it is almost July? Like days away from July. Don't believe me... check a calendar. I was shocked too! That means we have been back in Texas for basically 2 months. Actually...2 months ago to the day WAS our going away party! Then we spent way too much time/ trauma packing our pod and driving ourselves across country. Then once we got here we were on a home owners quest and I found a job. Then we looked at another one million houses, I started the job, and we bought a puppy. Then we continued looking at houses and started to think about indefinitely living at our parents' homes. 

And now we are here! We are (hopefully) days away from closing on our house, with our new jobs, puppies, and whatever furniture survived the move.

So, I don't know exactly what I have 5 of any of the same thing to share. Lucky for you... I have 5 completely random things for you today! Without further ado, here are 5 random things that I like at the moment.

1) To eat

       This summer ale beer bread has hints of lemon and pepper. No kneading required, ready in under an hour! Get this easy-to-follow recipe from SavorySimple.net
Doesn't this summer ale look delicious? When (hopefully) we have a kitchen of our own, I'm whipping up this guy!

2) To Do

  VITTSJO IKEA Hack
This weekend is full of DIY activities and this ottoman is definitely on the list. I have a love/hate/despise relationship with crafting- meaning I love to do it, hate the way it looks, and then everyone else despises the mess that I make. Send good vibes and a cleaning crew my way... please. 

3) To think

    *for more INSPIRING WORDS, visit www.bellamumma.com
Getting into the groove of all these changes makes me anxious to start off on the right foot. Whether that be at work, home, with relationships- now is a great time to be intentional about daily choices.

4) To Run

                                    
Well, I'm running it. Trying to log some miles in the heat now to make the real training a bit easier. Andrew and I ran with a running club for the first time this week which was a great way to motivate!

5) To Laugh

  Embedded image permalink
You've heard me go on and one about how I want to hit up the Houston Zoo, well maybe I want to go to some international zoos now...

Got anything exciting happening this weekend? Make it a great one!
-S

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Purchasing Things Sight Unseen


Want to hear a funny story? Well, check out another blog. Today on THIS blog, we are sharing a scary story. A story to scare all other stories away. A story that will make OCD men, women, and children cry. A story about (hopefully) purchasing a house unseen.


Because that is what we (hopefully) did. We are within the week mark of ending escrow and this past weekend were able to go into the house that we purchased to see it for the 2nd time ever. When was the first time? After we put in an offer, waited patiently scared like children, and it was accepted. So this weekend the opportunity arose for us to see the house for the second time ever, and we jumped at it.

And went in terrified.

Last time we saw it, we loved it! Thought that we were so lucky to have FINALLY found a house of our own. What if we hated it? What if we saw all the flaws that we didn't see before in our delirious state? What if we actually bought a meth lab, or a drug den, or what if the house was infested with who knows what! Maybe we shouldn't have tried to get in a second time after all.

And now we are on the other side of the second visitation.

All and all, we still loved it. It is a home of our own, it has walls, it has floors, it has running water, and I didn't see any evidence of nefarious activity. BUT we also saw some stuff that we totally didn't see before. Completely odd pipe making the washer jut out further than the dryer? Spotted. Seriously sketchy cable wiring? Spotted. Some messed up windows that I can't even begin to guess about? Spotted. And all the other things like a loft without flooring, sweet medieval light fixtures, clam shell bathroom counters, and boxed lights galore. At one point in the hour long visit, we were planning on knocking out 2 walls, raising the ceiling, installing new stairs, and a complete kitchen remodel. Ya know, like in a week when we move in.

And I realized that the excitement was getting to everyone. Our lovely parents, our patient realtor, and mostly our irrational selves were all taking the situation to another level. An expensive level. A level that I can't even speak the language on.

Good intentions and a couple of good glasses of wine brought everything back into perspective. Of course (we knew before) that things are not going to be 100% what we would have planned for ourselves if money was no object, time paid no matter, and unicorns grew on trees. But all those things DO matter. It also matters that we love our new place, we love the new area, we love the independence, yet stability that owning a home creates, and we love that we are doing it together. Yes on so many levels it is an experience of blind trust. We don't know what will happen today, tomorrow, closing day, or anytime after that. Sometimes blind trust in YOURSELF and your decisions is the hardest because we know how fallible we are. I know that maybe I can't be trusted with picking out too many paint colors and making our home look like a drunk carousel. I know that all the well intentioned DIY activities could look like a Pinterest fail. And I know that the thought of painting cabinets and installing new countertops will make me feel like I'm living in squalor. BUT blind trust is blind for a reason. A good attitude, a good pinot grigio, and the best PIC will get us through this.



Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Runday 6.22.15 Plus All The Random Things


Does this pretty much sum up how you feel at the end of this weekend? I would say most definitely for me. Cali boy, the house, and Fathers Day kept us up and moving all weekend! But it was a great one! 

A lot of new stuff happened with the house, but I have a post scheduled later this week about more on that. In the meantime, I'm stockpiling homegoods, DIY supplies, and furniture like a magpie. We got the light that I was oohing and aawing over last week...

               

And went ahead and bought this chair! So we will have light and one place to sit! Sounds amazing, right? Now if we can get the other 99% of home stuff sorted, we may be able to have light, one seat, and who knows what else more. Keep your expectations low, my friends. 

World Market Pacific Blue Elliott Wingback Chair.  Also comes in Nutmeg (burnt orange).  Pacific Blue chair is more green/dusty blue/charcoal in person.
Via
 

Way more important than the chair we bought (strongly influenced by the wine tasting in World Market, I would postulate) was Fathers Day! It was so nice to be able to spend the day with both my father and Andrews. The lessons I learned from this man right there are endless, hilarious, and at times unbelievable. I'm so grateful for a father so present who handled more than his fair share of teenage angst (he had 3 daughters). In that vein, I couldn't be more thankful that Andrew's father has taught him to be the person he is today (just not in the mornings). We had a great time bringing the two clans together for brunch, too much food, and a lot of laughter. Done being mushy, I promise! 



Yet again there isn't much excitement in the Monday Runday this week. The weather gods cancelled another week of kickball and a pesty storm named Bill made short workouts, indoor workouts, and humid workouts the thing recently. This week (fingers crossed) I'm trying out a running club. PLEASE DO NOT RAIN. PLEASE DO NOT BE ONE MILLION DEGREES OUT. PLEASE LET ME HAVE SOMETHING MORE INTERESTING TO SHARE ABOUT THIS NEXT WEEK. I need some training motivation and momentum before I get started in a couple weeks. 

S- Treadmill miles while addicted to Undisclosed. IT IS SO GOOD!
M- 2 miles for speed + weights
T- Intervals on treadmill and stairmaster + weights
W- Fell asleep at 7pm... like a boss
Th- Lunch time workout at the fancy schmancy office... Elliptical + abs
F- Nada
S- 3.5 sweaty miles in the park with my momma. 

         

How did your weekend go? Have any fast, cheap, and easy design tips for me?
-S


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Bucket List

I really intended on waiting till the first day of summer, June 21st, for this post, but alas patience is not my strong suit. That has been one odd thing about transitioning back into the working world, finding a (finger-crossed) home, and desperately trying to potty train a puppy, before I was pretty organized about what I would post. Now, I just word vomit all over the place. You're welcome. Or i'm sorry. Or both.



Anyways all the things that are filling up my time (read above) need to move over for some summertime activities. Here is some of my bucket list for the summer:


  • Get Cal potty trained
  • Go camping
  • Check out a performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre
  • See the Hasburg Splendor Exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Visit the Menil Collection
  • Find a new neighborhood bar near our house
  • Eat at the Original Ninfas
  • Check out another local brewery
  • Visit the nearby farmer's markets
  • See the new gorilla exhibit at the Houston Zoo
  • Run 2 more 5Ks
  • Join a running club
  • Hit the beach
  • Get three big-ish projects done around the house 
  • Style and enlarge the gallery wall for our new house
So that list looks a little more exhaustive than I originally thought... We shall see what the summer has in store!

What is on your summer bucket list?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Our Chilean Adventure Part 5


In case you are new here (welcome), Andrew and I just came back from a phenomenal trek in Torres del Paine, a national park in Southern Chile. We spent 10 days in the beautiful country with 5 days backpacking across the park. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. You can read about it here, here, here, and here.

But onwards and upwards! Day 3 of the trek was a fun one. Finally I had gotten used to the literal pain of carrying a pack and was able to spend less time struggling (and more time enjoying). The trek is called the W circuit because you hike in the shape of the letter. Our first night was spent on the far left side at Glacier Grey and the second night we were at Campamento Italiano (in the middle of the W).
Via
Campamento Italiano was a free campsite, which was great, but also challenging. There is a limited amount of space to camp in here and if you arrive and the area is all spoken for all you can do is trek another 2+ hours to the next place. That being said, it is gorgeous! The river that runs through it is as cold as ice (makes sense since it is Glacier water) and is stunning to look at. 




We knew the trek for this day would be challenging, but had it in our minds to wake up early and do a morning hike (without packs- thank goodness) to the French Valley, hike down after lunch, and then get a move on to make it a few more hours away to Refugio Los Cuernos. There was ample motivation for this... because we splurged and booked dinner at the refugio that evening. The thought of a meal cooked for us, wine, and someone else doing the dishes was too much to handle. Today was going to be a good day. And it was.





The weather gods looked down on us kindly  and the views at the French Valley where incredible! The incline, strange other trekkers, and 4 day old PB sandwiches couldn't put a damper on the AM hike. It was extraordinary. Instead of learning lessons like 'don't check your watch- you will be disappointed with how far you've gone' or 'put on your darn shoes- ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS COLD- to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night,' today I really saw the beauty OF the challenge. The trek by no means is crowded, but you do happen upon other people. 99% of the people we encountered were having the times of their lives. They were chatty, helpful, and enthused for the experience. At the top of the French Valley lookout was when we met the other 1%. No need to go into his grievances and challenges of the trail, but it made me look at myself and say 'grab onto this and embrace it'. There is such a slim chance that I will ever get the opportunity to do this again and it is incredible. I was thankful for this man and kept him in mind before opening my mouth later in the trip (well... most of the time). 





After the jaw dropping views, we headed down to camp. We needed to pack up ASAP and get back on the trail before our bodies cooled down. Temperature regulation was a challenge during the trek because it is chilly (60s would be warm), your body is pumping lots of blood, and you're going through a lot of calories. With the constant breeze, starting to sweat would really chill your body. Anytime we would take a break I had to try to keep moving as much as possible to avoid getting too cold. I swear my teeth chattered at least 5x a day. After packing up our tent, we were off for a beautiful trail along the lake's edge.



We were in such a good mood that day and the afternoon trek was quite pleasant with good views, good snacks, and great company. We made it to the refugio and were flabbergasted. It was the nicest oasis in the middle of a park... ever. They had warm showers (not that I took one), cold beers (definitely took 2), and even platforms for our tent. All this plus the fact that we had a warm dinner waiting for us... BEST DAY EVER. Andrew and I passed the time till dinner with beers on a patio and chatting with other trekkers. It was easily my favorite day of our time so far.

After being fed too well to recount, we took our full bellies and empty beer bottles to bed. A great day,

-S

Monday, June 15, 2015

The First Purchase...

So mum has been the word over here on the house-front and for good reason! We are 16 days away from (hopefully) owning our new forever home. However, until that ink has dried, I won't believe that the place is ours. Both out of superstition and unadulterated fear, I will keep the big details quiet until after everything is finalized. 

I must say that it has been a wonderful treat to not spend 3 or 4 nights each week looking at every house in our price point across the Houston metropolis, but that doesn't mean I haven't been doing a NEW kind of search. INTERIOR DECORATING! Thankfully it isn't as expensive as buying a home, even though Andrew might argue otherwise. But Sunday night I clicked the purchase button on our first new object for our first home.

And of course I want to share it. 
This Axis collection 4-light pendant features a painted russet finish that will compliment many transitional urban and contemporary decors. The very popular globe design adds interest to any setting.
Via

Underwhelmed? Well at least hide it, I have been oohing and aaahing over this (oversized metal orb chandelier) baby since I spotted this gorgeous photo on Pinterest. While our living room will have some more masculine colors in it, I fell in love with how light and airy this space was. The orb pendant just completes the room for me.

Love the structure of this. High ceiling with beams. Would like to see how this traditional look would mesh with some industrial pieces.
Via

Our (fingers crossed) new house has a great living room that opens up to the stairway, big front windows, and the kitchen and dining rooms to the back. It feels like it will be the heart of the house and I can't wait for all the family and friends that will make the space home. While I love the grand two story room, I think having a statement light fixture will center the space. My goal is that the light fixture will also bring the attention lower and make the area seem cozy and bright- instead of daunting and dark.

So as my fingers marched over to Overstock armed with a coupon and free shipping, I knew that the stars were aligned to making this piece ours. My superstitious nature is not easily thwarted, so I will throw some salt over my shoulder and carry garlic to ensure that the housing gods are on our side. I've been going a little crazy over the past couple days at home stores, paint counters, and (probably my favorite) countertop aisles. I can't wait to share more details when things are more solidified, but had to give you a sneak peek of this light!

Back to Monday Runday next week!
-S

Friday, June 12, 2015

Happy Birthday APK!


It is so close to being the weekend folks, but that is not all we have to celebrate around here. Someone very special has a birthday today! I'm personally not one to care much for my own birthday. I find it oddly stressful, but one of the many things that I love about Andrew is how excited he gets about birthdays. You can always count on him to find any birthday exciting; the man needs no excuse to celebrate.



Andrew and I have known each other for 13+ years now, so there have been some pretty awesome birthdays. One of not too far enough away memory was his 9th grade paintballing birthday party where my oh-so-early-2000s-sheek bangs were the victim of a bright yellow paintball. I walked around looking like an electrified duck for the rest of the day. Don't worry there are no photos (that I'm willing to share) and we won't be going paintballing this year.

What has been of note this year? Well it seems like most everything! This time last year, all that was going on was a whole heck load of studying for the bar. In between now and then we have had 365 days filled with

laughter,
adventuring,
celebrating our first year of marriage,

holidays,

regular days,

moving,

packing,

house hunting,

Puppy obtaining,

and love.

Andrew thanks for believing that birthdays are important. Thank you for your excitement about life. Thank you for your jokes (80% of the time). Thank you for your kind spirit. Thank you being so much fun. And thank you for being you.

I'm more lucky than I realized 13 years ago!
-S


Thursday, June 11, 2015

An Open Letter to Baby E

Dear Niece-



Well this weekend was the first time I laid eyes on you and MAN do you have it all. On your side, there was some serious skepticism at first, but we quickly worked that out with cooing, cuddling, and eternal bouncing about. Kelsey (your other less cool aunt) and I walked into your very-non-permanent-Tennessee home and there you were sitting up on your mom’s lap waiting for us- you were perfection. You were so small. Your arms so flail-y. And (I’ll break this to you softly) you have straight up the most adorable judge-y face of any baby on the planet. It was love at first sight.

Your tiny toe nails and your deep blue eyes are perfect. Your noises (loud and soft) are perfect. And the way that you go from sleeping to screaming in 2 seconds flat makes me know that we definitely share the same genes. Be careful with this tempestuous nature- it can work in your favor or very much against later in life.

It was hard to not look at that cute little button nose and baby cheeks and not see all that you have to come. Learning to speak (and say ‘Shay is my favorite aunt’), wearing the most precious first day of kindergarten outfit (hopefully dressed like a sailor to emulate your mom’s), and coming on your first ever Susecation camping trip all seem like they are both a second and a million years away. We are lucky to have you as part of our club; participation is mandatory.



What may have even been more special than the diaper blow outs or 4am feedings was the opportunity to watch your parents and the way they love and care for you. MAN do you have it all. You see for newborn parents they have a list of pro tips that can’t be beat, and they intend to use all those tricks on you. Before you try to sneak out the window above the garage or feel like getting escorted home by the police, think twice.

Your dad, well, he is great. This guy knows what he is doing. He has been a very special guy to the whole family for a long time now, but watching him boogie to Tupac with you (weird that this puts you to sleep- get headphones before heading off to college) brings the whole situation to a new level. You can feel his eyes from across the room follow and smile at you. It is like he knows exactly what will make you happy and is the first to jump up and make it happen. Use this to your advantage, Baby Girl. You’re one lucky lady.



And your mom, well, she brought me to tears multiple times throughout the weekend. She is the epitome of selfless love for you. She is the leader of our gang, and Kels and I kinda count on her to clear the way of things yet to come. When she went to college, we visited and toilet papered the dorm room then in 3 and 6 years we followed her to the same dream school. When she brought a very special guy home (don’t worry, it was dad), we ducktaped all the belongings in his room to the closest surface… the joke might not have played well. When she graduated, she followed her heart to find a job of personal worth and taught us all about meaningful service. When she got married, we were shocked that married people were cool and not all our parents’ age. And now she gave us you to learn from. She is such a beautiful role model for you to follow and for that I am grateful for all the women (most especially your Grandma) that taught her this way. I promise that I will take you clothes shopping in middle school (don’t trust your mom with this), but other than that you’ve hit the jackpot.

MAN we are so lucky for you to be part out our family. Who knew so much love could come in such a small package. Thanks for sparking yet another lightning bolt of awe for your family and for giving us all 4 hours of continuous sleep.


S

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Runday 6.7.15

Greetings from the weekend! How was yours? Mine was full of diapers, crying, and meeting the cutest baby ever. Also, news alert- babies are a lot of work. I feel like I need to redact all my moaning about how puppies are a lot of work because babies grow up to be human beings. You mess a baby up and the world has to deal with it. You mess up a dog and you have pee on your floor. Deep thoughts- that is what you come here for, right? Anyways, there will be a lot more on baby-mania later, but now I have a sweet running tool for you.



I'm a big fan of the half marathon distance and have done almost a dozen over the past few years, but my times are stagnant (at best). My PR was actually my FIRST half marathon and I am itching to take a stab at beating that during my upcoming October half. I was chatting with Jill about our running goals (loosely used word) and she shared this INCREDIBLE running tool with me from Runners World. 

Instead of the more traditional programs I have followed where you slowly add more and more distance, this plan mixes up the lengths of your long run and sets time goals for you for each run. These times aren't ALL to run at your target pace, but mix it up. Previously I would scoff at my 'easy run' days or complain that my speed word runs weren't helping. This new plan will, hopefully, have me focus more on the actual run and the mini-goal for that workout. Instead of getting in my head about why my pace is stagnant, I think switching it up will be a great new tactic for livening up a familiar distance.

Want to try it? Click here to create your Smart Plan from Runner's World. To get started click create an account in the right hand corner. There are lots of upgrades that you can choose, but Im sticking with the free plan for now. The system will ask you about your current mileage and paces and then will generate a plan specifically for you! If you miss a workout or feel like you need to switch up the plan, you can easily adjust it.

What do you use to track your fitness goals?

Hope you had a great weekend,
S

Friday, June 5, 2015

Our Chilean Adventure Part 4


Where did we leave off? Oh, I just skirted over a mental breakdown about how in the world I was going to survive our 5 day backpacking-sleep in the cold-hike out or die in-adventure in Torres de Paine national park. Good thing I skirted over that... Because on the breakdown front, day 2 was no piece of cake. 

It started by waking up to South American quartet screaming/singing/fighting at a time far too early to call morning. I stretched out my legs because I had fallen asleep in child's pose the night before literally as Andrew was setting up the tent. After these AM calisthenics, we hurried to get breakfast ready and set out.

Word to the wise, don't hurry. Someone may have ( just possibly) started the day by making oatmeal and pouring BOILING water on his lap, jumping up, yelping, and then looking at me with big, round, and fearful eyes. I just knew that he had given himself a 3rd degree burn and would need to be air evacuated- oh wait, they don't do that- out of the park. So after a few calming breath exercises, a very nasty rash, and stunned glances from other trekkers, we were off.






Day 2 had beautiful and painful ups and downs. It took us along the glacier, by lakes, fording streams, through meadows, above the tree line, abruptly down ravines, and eventually to one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. It was also the day where things were really hard. I was overwhelmed by the distance to go and heights to climb. My head was full of doubts and got worse by the minute. And my stomach was already sick of the stale PB and nutella sandwiches.



What got me through it? 

3 things. 
1) dragging my hiking pokes and saying "I just want to be there" 
2) clif bars 
3) the incredible perseverance, patience, and passion of my husband. 

He said the right things at the right times. He said nothing when nothing needed to be said. And he did a great job at hiding the moments he was laughing at me- not with me.


And he did a great job hiding faces like this. We had a DELIGHTFUL dinner of dehydrated food and again... I slept like a rock.

What is up next... an INCREDIBLE view!

Happy Weekend,
S

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Exhaustion

Yeah, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'm exhausted. Like picking up my fork to eat makes me tired-exhausted. Like my eyes are struggling to stay open at 7pm- exhausted. Like I can't even think of another example to use- exhausted.

I want to be like this... sleeping upside during the day on a bed 5x the size of my body

I guess that is the way the cookie crumbles. 2 days into work, 5 days into possibly good news on the house front, and  12 days into puppy ownership- and I am so tired. I could barely watch Real Housewives without snoozing and I even let Andrew steal the remote and only yelled at him in my mind. Obviously my month of funemployment stripped me off my ability to be a real adult human being.

I'll be back with more than 5 sentences of content soon, but until then please send suggestions on which K-Cups pack the most caffeine.

-S