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Curb Appeal

So today I checked out HGTV.com, to see if they needed anyone for Curb Appeal: The Block. I love this show because not only do you get your house done, some of your neighbors do too! I find out they were only looking for people in the San Fran area. No fair! I guess I will keep checking back.

The reason I want to be on it so bad is because I have literally no idea what to do outside. The previous homeowners were obvious gardners. Me on the other hand, will scream if I see a bug and have no interest in tending to plants. I have even killed one of those supposed “no matter how much you don’t take care of it, it will still live” bamboo plants that were all the rage a few years ago. And I even took care of it! I followed the directions! And it still kicked the bucket. I do not have a green thumb whatsoever. I apparently have a plant murdering thumb.

We have beautiful rose bushes, and they are too pretty to cut down. They have even supplied some free bouquets in my kitchen this summer. So that’s awesome. But they have  now taken over our walkway. Boo. The previous homeowners were also what I would consider hoarders of outside decorations and potted plants. They even had some fake plants in pots. I AM NOT KIDDING. Dirt and all. Like. “here you go fake plant, absorb all the nutrients of the soil! Grow! Prosper!” A neighbor told us that the lady who lived here would go to the flea market every Tuesday and come home with some other outside decoration thing each week. Plus we have the bottom of a birdbath or something that the man who lived here told us at closing he would be back to get it once the snow melted. Dude, the snow melted four months ago. In another month, it’s going to the trash. It’s freaking concrete and heavy, so I am not looking forward to moving it. Crossing my fingers he remembers and comes and gets it someday before I throw it out.

Over the course of a few weeks, we are trying to clear everything out. We can put up to 8 trash cans out at a time and so far we’ve been doing 4 at a time. There are still some pots that we need to remove, but we are getting there. We also hired a guy back in April to remove some overgrown and old bushes. I literally said every morning as I walked into it because it was freaking humongous “I HATE THIS BUSH!!” And that could be taken so many ways ha. He’s also supposed to contact us about a fence, but he went on vacation like a month ago and haven’t gotten back to me. Dude might have dropped the ball and missed out on our business after that…

But just looking at the landscaping, I have no clue how to even start. Like what bushes to remove and what to plant that- here’s the key- I can’t kill! We don’t have shutters, should we? There are also chairs literally chained to a tree out there, and a huge lilac bush in the backyard that I am pretty sure is on the neighbors property but they have passed it off on us! Plus probably a years worth of overgrowth that leads to the alley behind the house. Oh, where to start.

Seriously, Curb Appeal, if you ever feel like coming to PA, my house is probably the red headed stepchild of the block. Sorry neighbors. Hopefully one day we will get to work on it. :)

Painting.

Painting is not as fun as I thought it would be, like I thought here. Why does HGTV make it seem all easy and crap?

Our house had previous homeowners who had the opposite color choices we would have picked. They always say when looking at houses that paint is the easiest thing to change in a house. And yeah it is, if you hire people to paint for you. I am not kidding, we have to paint every single room in this house. The entire upstairs had a different color room. Plus a million holes in the walls where there were a ton of nicknacks and pictures tacked to the wall. So we began the task of patching. Dusty. And priming over dark paint colors. Annoying.

We started with the master bedroom, thinking it was the largest room, so let’s get it over with. My father in law actually did that room one week while we were at work, which was awesome. It went from an old antique-looking french country blue to Behr’s Silver Screen, a nice soft gray.

Then we moved onto the office, the smallest room. It was, not kidding, vampire blood red. I like Twilight and all, but the smallest room felt like a coffin. Now it’s a beachy blue, Behr’s Delicate Mist.

Eventually, we started the guest room. Previously, it was a light green room. It was the only one room which color I couldn’t stand. However, you could literally see where paintings must have been hung for years! So it had to go. It’s now it’s a creamy Behr’s Cozy Cottage. We are going to use that color in the hallway too. Also Bindi now thinks that room is especially hers.

We still have one room to do. It’s NEON YELLOW. You do not need a light in the room because it is so bright! It’s going to turn a light green, Behr’s Mountain Haze. We think it will be a nice neutral color for a future kiddo. That room will probably be empty til the kiddo arrives too, since we have no furniture to put in it!

We painted all of the trim bright white. The previous owners also liked to have cream trim, making the place seem really aged. Plus they painted the office closet door that same color, so when the weather is cooler I get to try my hand and removing paint from a door!

Eventually the whole place will be painted. We are actually thinking of hiring painters for the dowstairs, so we will see how that goes. Also I want to know if the Behr paint with the primer in it actually work? Also I am thinking of painting the wall going up the stairs an accent wall, but have no idea what color. Any suggestions?

So have you ever noticed that when you move into a house, you decide that all of the things you have now are not good enough?

Take my couch. First off, it smells like dog pee, because all of a sudden one day Bindi decided she would fancy a couch pee. It’s a sectional, so right now our living room contains the chaise and the one part that has an arm. The middle is downstairs in the dungeon (I mean basement). So of course I want a new couch. If we did get a new couch, I would put the entire thing downstairs in the basement, so it wouldn’t go to waste.

Which then makes me wonder, if I did get a new couch, would it go with the IKEA furniture that worked in the apartment? I truly only like the bookshelf that we have turned on it’s side that is our mail catcher, etc. Everything else honestly could go (tv stand & coffee table). But even then, the darn thing is in blonde wood, and I feel like that finish just screams first apartment. That’s one of the major problems with IKEA, their “wood” finishes. Even if you get darker wood, down the line you may not find any matching furniture because they change what their “brown” is. So we went with the blonde wood, and now this house just doesn’t seem like a blonde wood house. Our house has medium pine floors and beautiful dark cherry wooden doors. So the lighter wood kind of sticks out.

Also I would love to find an area rug that isn’t a hand-me-down from my mom’s house. It’s pretty and all but I would like something more modern.

Don’t even get me started on the bedroom. We have some more IKEA dressers in a reddish light brown which we bought from a friend when she moved to Germany. One of them got a large chip on it during the move.  So now there is MDF filling showing on one side. But I do like them. I actually like my metal bed and my white night stands (kind of like those but with a drawer at the top). I just feel like it’s time for dressers that are of better quality and could go with the room better.

I love my new desk for my office. That room also holds another IKEA dresser and a bookshelf. But again the wood finishes don’t match my new, darker desk. I would also love a new computer to put on my new desk :). And new flat screen TV’s to make everything sleeker.

So…in total I need like $20k. Any offers? We did get a powerball ticket today. Here’s hoping we win.

Whip It

Be Your Own Hero

I have been wanting to see Whip It since it was in the theaters. I have a wee obsession with wanting to a roller derby girl. I actually went to see the championships at the Philly convention center and was just in awe. I was never a good skater, and I am too afraid of hurting myself to do it.

So anyway, this movie was aight, the story of an alternative girl stuck in a small town who has a mom who forces her into beauty pageants and she secretly takes up roller derby and is really good at it. She falls in love with roller derby and also a boy (Landon Pigg who I have seen in concert before, he was a little awkward). Eventually parents find out, she gets in a fight with her friend, boy doesn’t call, the big championship game falls on the same night as the pageant…kind of a predictable storyline. This movie was nothing too amazing to write home about with the exception of the actual roller derby scenes. Loved those. Ellen Page thankfully didn’t play Juno again, and I was happy she can actually act. The other roller derby girls were a little over the top, but I enjoyed Kristen Wig and Drew Barrymore.

So maybe one day, I will be my own hero and put on a pair of skates and get up enough courage to do it. Until then, going to roller derby matches may just have to do. :)

We bought a house!

So after the honeymoon, life went on. Blah blah blah. Our doggie got cuter (is that possible?), my job got better (promotion!), and we decided to look at houses. We stopped the search 3 times in order to save up some funds. On one of our trips, I fell in love with an almost Victorian built in 1912, and also used to house a dentist’s office. It was such a great house, except for the fact that it was “as is” and we couldn’t get financing with any outstanding repairs. Plus the house was in a bad neighborhood, so unfortunately we had to say goodbye to that house.

After that we saw so many houses…almost all of them horrible in our price range. We really didn’t want a townhome, or to move far away from our work (especially mine since my commute is a bitch). Then one day we went to see 2 houses. The first house we couldn’t even see inside, because the owner didn’t leave the door open and apparently didn’t want to sell the home because it was a foreclosure. The neighbor had a sweet pitbull though. I wanted to adopt him. That was the only thing we saw of the house, the neighbor’s pitbull.

Then we went onto the next. From the outside, we loved it. It’s a brick colonial in a good neighborhood with people who take care of their houses and don’t have mattresses on the laws (not kidding, we saw some with that). We fell in love with it! It’s got 4 bedrooms, a gas fireplace, a den in the basement, a door to the kitchen that swings!, and a nice backyard for the Bindo.

We decided to put in an offer, and the first one was a FAIL. Rejected. Then we decided to offer more, and it was accepted! We went through the inspection and found no major flaws, and after the U&O certification, the owner’s got all of those repairs taken care of. We also just got the appraisal and we close on Feb. 19th.

Now comes the fun part. Packing. We started with the computer room, aka the junk room. The husband dontated clothes this weekend and freed up 1/2 of a double closet. I packed some boxes, and at the rate we are going we are looking good to not feel rushed and to have everything neat and organized for the move.

We are hiring movers. Frankly I am too weak to move a sectional couch, a king size bed, mattresses, a huge TV, etc. I am thinking it will be the best $ spent in this whole process!

The countdown is on. I cannot wait to move. Here’s why:

1. Won’t have to hear Bindi snoring every night

2. Won’t have to smell pot from the neighbors next door

3. Won’t have to listen to the teenagers outside practicing their curse words every other second

4. Won’t have a major traffic road outside our door with all of that noise

5. I can finally paint!

The house needs some updates. The kitchen and bathroom mostly. I have been watching too much HGTV and looking at too many design blogs. This blog will probably have more blog posts on this stuff when we buy the house and get started on changing things.

Yay!

Married & Honeymoon

So it goes without saying that I haven’t blogged in forever.

 Anyway, we got hitched. Tied the knot. Hurricane Bill attended, taking away our outdoor wedding. My dog got an ear infection the day before and had so many medications I was worried all through the honeymoon. 

Even with the outdoor ceremony not happening, it was fine inside (and air conditioned bc it was hot as hell). The DJ was late, and made us wish we didn’t have checks written out for tips beforehand. I am pretty sure my ipod would have done a better job than him. The officiant was awesome. As was my photographer. All in all, a great day and I am happy to be a Mrs!

Went on an awesome honeymoon to Belize where I enjoyed spa treatments, blue water, and experiences that I never would have thought of experiencing.

 I’ve also never had a trip where I thought I would die so many times! The first day we arrived we met our guide from the hotel and he proceeded to drive us to the hotel 2 hours away. Belize drivers are crazy. They go about 90 mph between speed bumps and also take driveways up steep hills at the same speed! Almost death #1. He took us to the Belize Zoo, where he put his hands through the electric fence like he knew the big cats. Pretty sure he wasn’t supposed to do that.

Another excursion took usjungle horseback riding, while the hubby was recovering from either a stomach bug or being hungover. I am leaning towards the latter since he drank so many free mixed drinks the night before. True love is trying not to puke and rubbing your husband’s back as he heaves into the toilet.

The jungle horses seemingly took us down a mountain (it’s slippery mud and the horses feet were slipping, thank goodness they have 4 legs). And my horse did not listen to me. Almost death #2.  The view was incredible at our first stop, and we saw a coatimundi near the river. On the way back I got a much better horse who I really liked. Much easier to get away from eating the leaves.

Another trip we took was to the Mayan ruins. Here I am thinking take a few photos, walk around the bottom, climb up a few stairs and take a picture to prove you are there, done. Nope. Our guide starts the day with digging tarantuas out of their holes, and then scaling the ruins. And I am afraid of heights, but figured, once in a lifetime. So I follow. And we get to the top. And this is Belize people. Not some American tourist trap with lovely railing and glass walls to keep you from falling to your death. To top it off, a thunderstorm rolls in. We began our descent, and the rain starts falling. Making the giant stairs slippery. Almost death #3. We finally make it down with only one person slipping and thankfully not taking us down with him and take refuge in a picnic area with armed military with machine guns and howler monkeys growling overheard. Military guards do not like their pictures taken FYI. And howler monkeys sound like jaguars and get pissy when it rains.

The next day decidedly a spa day to rest our muscles. I have never had any spa treatments done and I am ashamed to say this, but if I could have them every day I would. Hot stone massage yes please.  I literally spent 4 hours in the spa, then swam in the infinity pool looking into the ocean.

We decided to go snorkeling, which was fun. We did see a giant sea ray, which screamed Steve Irwin to me, so death experience #4. And at one point our guide says he can’t leave the boat because the tide is getting stronger and you know, it might float away. And to  just yell if we want him to come get us. One of the other couple on the boat was extremely sea sick, and I’ve been there before. So I asked Joel if he was done and we went back and thankfully saved her from spilling her guts. And after all the swimming, my back decides to practically light on fire with sunburn. On the plus side I did get to see a seahorse, and honestly they are freaky little animals.

Now with a  ridiculously red back, the next day we go on the Sittee River tour, where we saw crocodiles, some really mean looking cows, turtles, lots of iguanas, and birds. We went into a lagoon, where the guide takes down the canopy of the boat to allow for ample picture taking.  However he doesn’t put it back up. My back again decides to burst into flames through a t-shirt. He tries to take us out into the open sea to drop us off at the resort, however the waves are so choppy he decides to spare our lives. Almost death #5.

The last day at the resort, we decide to save time and take the 15 min flight to the major airport on one of those tiny little hopper planes. You know it’s not going to be a fun time when another couple on the same flight as ours decides to drive the 2 hours because they don’t want a repeat of that flight that they took in. Needless to say, I squeezed Joel’s hand so hard during the flight, it was red. We also sat literally right behind the pilod. I shouldn’t see him texting on his phone, turning dials, and pushing pedals. But at least I would have known if we were going down. So that was almost death #6, but I must say he landed that plane better than any other plane I’ve ever been on.

Don’t get me wrong, this was one of the most amazing trips of my life. I loved every minute of it, even with thinking I was totally gonna die. It made getting through the experiences even better and made me so proud that I faced some fears I didn’t even knew I had! The resort was amazing, and so worth every penny. Belize relies on tourism and they treat you so well down there. All of the staff was amazing, doing anything to make you happy. I forgot my bathing suit (the one thing I forgot, and of course it’s my bathing suit) and they were all willing to go out and find me one. Thank goodness the spa had one! We even went to a local karaoke bar with the bartender and got to see what the locals do. It is a beautiful country and an amazing adventure

Happy Go Lucky

Poppy!

Saw Happy Go Lucky this weekend, basically I wanted to know why Sally Hawkins won an award for the role.

And I now know why! Pretty amazing performance. The story was simple, a story of a young woman just plain happy with her life.  Even when life hands gives her some hard times, like a mean driving teacher, a student dealing with problems at home, or even a pulled muscle in her back, she goes through it with an optimistic attitude to get through to the other side. Her laugh was infectious, her funny sayings hilarious.

One of my favorite parts was her younger, pregnant, married sister told her that she has to be secretly unhappy with her life and that it’s all a front. Poppy explained that she had great friends, a job she loves, and that it’s OK that she’s not married, she’s just happy where she is, and you believe her, because she is happy.

All throughout the movie, you are waiting for the ball to drop. For something to crack this girl. You sit on pins and needles, and when it finally happens, again her sense of self shines through. When she finds love, it’s magical on the screen, and you wonder why girls like her would ever not be lucky in love.

Glad I got to see it. Oh and the flamenco teacher’s performance was priceless.

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