Thursday, November 20, 2014

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE

Sean's face says it all. On Monday, we became homeowners. We are now completely responsible for a 1981 ranch that certainly shows its age and while we're certainly thrilled, we're also realistic about the many, many, MANY projects on the horizon.

Like raking the yard! I haven't had a chance to take pictures of some rooms yet, but here's a first peek at what we're working with:

 The front door opens onto a little foyer with linoleum floor that will hopefully soon be red oak hardwood.

 Take a left and you'll venture into the living/dining room. The previous owners did everything they could to make it feel like two distinct spaces, but I say don't bother in a room of this size. So with that in mind, we plan on knocking out the railing, removing the wallpaper (although possibly keeping the chair rail) and making it feel more like a dining room with an area for after-dinner drinks, rather than a dining room shoehorned into a living room. I also can't wait to get a sexier hanging lamp!

 From the living room, you proceed straight into the 1981 kitchen, complete with floral wallpaper.

I'm not the biggest fan of the kitchen, but we're going to live with it for at least six months before we decide what we want to do in terms of upgrading it. I expect a lot of pennies will be pinched.

 The kitchen overlooks a cavernous wood-paneled den that is seriously dark even during daylight. We're planning on putting down wood floors in that room, painting the paneling a crisp white and making that our main hangout spot. I'm excited to have a working fireplace this winter!

 The hall bathroom is in decent shape, but I'm not the biggest fan of the brown-on-brown tile. But needless to say, I have bigger projects to tackle first.

And wrapping up today's tour is a shot of the guest room, currently stuck in a lighthouse theme, but soon to feature my silhouette collection. 

Our next tour will feature my future studio/office, the master bed and bath, and my favorite: the FROG (finished room over the garage for all those who don't speak realtor yet).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thirty



Yesterday I passed into my third decade of living. I'm officially out of twenties, and to really drive it home, I'm closing on a house tomorrow! It's certainly surreal, but as I reflected yesterday I felt truly grateful.

When I was a kid, I envisioned certain things for myself: a beautiful house with the perfect yard for backyard movies or a glamorous job or lots of European travel. I wanted to have reasons to dress up, be able to pull off high heels and lipstick, and finally figure out how to do my hair. I wanted to be able to see shows, go to museums, eat at sidewalk cafes, go to outdoor movies or dancing events. All kinds of things that, frankly, I couldn't do in my tiny hometown. 

Sometimes you might feel a little sorry for yourself when you experience a setback, but on my 30th birthday, I was feeling the opposite. I've been so extraordinarily blessed, and it was surreal to look back and think about all the opportunities I've had. I realized that if 15-year-old me saw 30-year-old me's life, she would be envious. 

For my birthday, I drove to Richmond in the first car I bought with money I saved and met my dad for a swanky lunch at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I had kimchi tater tots and crispy pork buns — foods I would've probably been too afraid to try 10 years ago. Dad and I looked at contemporary art, getting as close as we could and then walking across the room to have different vantage points, talking about the big ideas each artist was exploring. As I was leaving the museum, I sat down for a second and really took in my surroundings and thought: I've achieved almost everything I had hoped and I'm only 30. I feel so lucky.

Thank you so much for reading this blog of mine and I can't wait to show you my new adventures in domestication: home decoration and renovation!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Let There Be LIGHT

 It's finally come...my 30th birthday week! And of course, it's probably one of the busiest and most stressful weeks I've had in my life. In addition to a major fundraiser at work and a few nighttime events this week, I'm spending every spare moment packing and preparing to close on our house. I'm almost too busy to even acknowledge my birthday this year, but I decided to plan an outing after all and was so delighted that so many friends could join in.

My friends and I ventured to the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk to view its installation, LIGHT by Bruce Munro. The installation is only on view until January, so be sure to carve out some time to tromp through the gardens! Here are a few of the incredible installations we enjoyed:

 Each globe is made of glass!



 This "shower" was made of fiberoptic cable that blinked a message in Morse code...so cool!

 A gorgeous installation inside the museum reminded me of the main hall in Harry Potter!

 Sean and I in the field of light.

Thank you to the whole gang for celebrating my birthday early! I feel super blessed...and almost ready to hit the big 3-0.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hallowino 2014


Last week, Wine Club gathered for its sixth (SIXTH!!!) Hallowino, our favorite holiday! Lauren pulled out all the stops to create a perfect Halloween spread, and we busted out our costumes on a weeknight. Ashleigh and I went as Basic Bitches (complete with Starbucks cups), Jen had a perfect Flo the Progressive lady costume, Lauren was a sexy cat and Erica was Wonder Woman.

We munched on a delicious salad of spinach, walnuts, goat cheese and raspberries...

Admired Lauren's rebranded bottle display...

Marveled over her amazing cheese ball "pumpkin"...seriously, girl's got skills...

And I nearly had a sugar attack from pouncing on these delicious chocolate-covered Nilla wafers layered with jam. OMG they were like mini wedding cakes and I had way too many.

For our main course, we had "Witches' Brew," a chicken soup topped with bacon, green onions and sour cream. Delicious!


As per tradition, we each brought a "spooky" wine to sample...all reds, of course.

  • Harvester Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles: A fruity and smooth cab with notes of black cherry. I'm not sure if it was the label or what, but I was definitely getting a floral vibe, too.
  • Vino de los Muertos Rojo Dulce: This is a SWEET red wine, best for sipping after the meal. We were all a little surprised how sweet it was, especially for a wine with a skull on the label. 
  • Girl and the Dragon Malbec: I joked that my wine (purchased at Target, btw) is clearly "Game of Thrones" themed. I loved malbecs, so I was all about this red with strong notes of berries.
  • 6th Sense Syrah: This Michael David Winery syrah had notes of plum and blackberry. Extremely drinkable! 
  • Handsome Devil Malbec: Another Argentinian Malbec from Target! This Malbec had a touch of spice, along with notes of toasty vanilla.
And just for fun, here is another picture from a Halloween party where Ashleigh and I got our full Basic Bitch on! We wore Uggs, fake eyelashes, arm parties, Charming Charlie's necklaces and carried our Starbucks "Pumpkin Spice Latte" cups everywhere. 





Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Best v.224



I have a weakness for pictures of celebrity Halloween costumes. Two all-time favorites: Heidi Klum as the Hindu god Kali and Nicole Richie and a friend as "Twins." So good. I'll be sharing my Halloween updates tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

House-Hunting Update: We Found It!!



WE FOUND IT!!

I've been holding out on you guys. For the past few weeks, we've been embroiled in the particulars of actually buying a house...I wanted to update so bad, but I also wanted to wait until it seemed really real.

Here's what happened:


On our way to an event one night, we decided to stop into an open house. The house itself didn't seem that exciting from the MLS pictures, but we thought it was worth a shot. We walked through the house, which is in one of my favorite neighborhoods we visited, and because it was an open house, we were both super quiet.

I was thinking the space seemed nice, the layout was good, and the yard...


The yard is FANTASTIC. For the first time since we started looking, I felt like we'd found a house that checked more boxes on our wish list than any other. We got in the car, and I turned to Sean and said, "Soooooooo???"

And he said, "Meh. The rooms were kinda small." Ppppphhhhhhewwwwwwwwwwww (the sound of my balloon deflating). Back to the drawing board.

We went back out a couple weeks later and looked at several more houses...old houses, flipped houses, newer houses, split levels, Dutch colonials and so on. And much to my shock and amazement, Sean said, "You know what? I think that open house we saw was the best we've seen. I think I'd like to see it again." We went back and lo and behold, Sean declared it "the one." This man will be the death of me.

That put the wheels in motion and for our fourth wedding anniversary, we scrapped plans to attend an art opening and spent the evening filling out our official offer. If all goes according to plan, we'll be closing the weekend of my 30th birthday. 

So, as you can imagine, the blog will be heading straight into the next frontier of my domestication process: home improvement! Don't worry; many follies are sure to follow.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Home-a-Rama 2014!

 Wine Club ventured out to North Suffolk yesterday for one of our favorite activities of the year: picking apart gorgeous show homes to make ourselves feel better about never being able to afford them! This year's Home-a-Rama included seven homes. Overall, the lots felt a little too small and almost all of the houses had the same coastal/neutral color palette, but we still found plenty of inspiration. Here's some of our favorite little details we spotted:

This super on-trend dining room had oyster shell pendant lamps, driftwood mirrors and great textiles. The house was themed around coastal life in Suffolk, so it was pitch-perfect.

 I think our favorite thing was actually this Lego-themed kids room. In general, I think themed kids' rooms are a huge mistake since kids' change their tastes on a whim, but this was seriously cute. They even created a little Lego switchplate!

 Everything was awesome! (hahahaha...hopefully you've seen the Lego Movie.)

We were dying over this seriously spacious master bath that was big enough for a dinner party. The nickel-plated hardware looked great with the distressed wood cabinets and marble counters. It had 14 too many oyster shell accessories, however.

I'm a sucker for a subway tile backsplash, but once you throw marble and a herringbone pattern into the mix, I'm dying.

We also loved how the doors were framed out...an elegant detail that gives it that extra something special. Also, note the great wet bar flowing between the kitchen and dining room!

 The railings also had a lovely design...a little Craftsman touch that would work in any home.

I loved this creative headboard idea...old oars, tennis rackets and fishing rods make awesome decor pieces, especially to add a masculine touch.

 These glittery stones in the fire pit pulled us right in...that might actually be a bad thing if you find them truly hypnotic!

 In a military-themed house, these model planes dangling from the ceiling added a nice touch of whimsy and fun.

 This little sliver of a window in the shower was a nice way to bring in natural light without worrying about exposure to your neighbors who are seriously right there when you look next door.

 I loved the two different fabrics on this armchair (although I don't know if I'd actually go for a fish-themed fabric...)

 A little window on the second floor of one home had us totally perplexed, until we looked through it and saw it overlooked this gorgeous set of curved beams over the living room. I'm not one for HUGE ceilings, but this was very elegant.

 A couple houses had barn doors — very trendy! — but this one made the best use of them. This set was made from a black walnut tree felled on the property and divided the master bath from the master bedroom. Lovely!

I also loved the mix of colors and textures in this master, especially the gorgeous framed photographs and the inspiring use of pendant lights. I don't know exactly how convenient that would be if you, like me, read much longer at night than your spouse but who cares about that? These are totally dream world houses!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Best v. 223

Me and friends at an art opening this past weekend...another busy one! 

If you haven't noticed, life has been busy 'round here. We opened a new exhibition at work, I've either attended or worked several festivals and I feel like the blog posts are piling up but not actually getting written! We have some big stuff going on that I can't WAIT to share, but I'm going to wait a little longer until it's all set in stone. But for your clicking distraction, here are some of the best links I've seen over the past week and a half:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall Fun: Wine Fest & Howl-o-Scream

 We just had the perfect fall weekend in Hampton Roads! The weather was gorgeous — a little hot on Saturday, but brisk on Sunday — and on top of all that, Holly came to visit! We spent Saturday reveling at the fall Wine Fest, sharing bottles with our pals and also with strangers we just met. That's how you roll at Wine Fest. Holly brought a pumpkin bundt cake that was so popular with the group beside us, they literally chanted her name.


It was just about as picturesque as could be (this is outside Nauticus, a naval history museum that owns a WWII battleship).

 On Sunday, we trekked out to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for Howl-o-Scream, BG's amazing Halloween transformation from family-friendly park to a celebration of all things spooky. I love that BG goes all out for its seasonal attractions, and the decorations are half the fun.

 At night, these pumpkins are lit to become creepy jack o'lanterns dangling in the sky. So good! They also pump fog through the entire park and have costumed actors wander around jumping out at people. They have several haunted houses throughout the park and the set design is truly incredible. Us jittery girls are hoarse from screaming!

Posing with my new main man, Frankenstein. All in all, it was the perfect fall weekend, but it just got me more psyched for Christmas Town!