Thursday, November 1, 2012

31 Week Update

This Saturday I clocked in at 31 Weeks and a whopping....wait a minute. Did you actually thing I was going to post how much I weigh on the internet? What I will say is that I'm inching closer to outweighing my husband and I just bought a pair of jeans in a size four times larger than what I used to wear. At first the weight gain was a little hard to cope with. I felt selfish that I was obsessing over a too tight pair of jeans rather than focusing my energy on the baby growing inside of me. But once I passed that in-between stage (the one where people glance at your belly and then look away because they're not sure if you're pregnant or just fat) I began to feel much better about my weight. My thighs and butt are bigger—and they might even stay that way, but I'm ok with that. I like the way I look when in the mirror.

A word on the few things I don't like: The swollen hands and feet, back aches and excessive exhaustion that comes from doing ordinary, everyday tasks. I'll be looking forward to kissing you goodbye in two months.

And we're looking forward to dressing our little baby up in these adorable NFL onesies. They were a gift from my shower last weekend, which I will share more about as soon as I upload the images. Stay tuned!


Friday, October 12, 2012

28 Weeks

We're officially in the third trimester! Since I don't have my professional photographer on hand to snap a quick photo of my belly, you get this lovely self portrait I took in the bathroom on Saturday. So far I feel great, but every time I say that to anyone they say, "just wait......" Yup. I know it's going to get harder to put my shoes on, I know my nights will become less restful and I know that my body will begin to get more and more uncomfortable. There's no need to burst my bubble, people! Let me stride around on my still skinny ankles for as long as I can!

With only 12 weeks left, we have turned the baby preparations into high gear. We're currently taking a birth class, have toured the hospital and have successfully purchased a crib that is structurally sound and chemical free! I still have a checklist a mile long, but I feel like we're getting there. I haven't posted much about our house hunting recently, but that's getting there, too. I'll hold off on the details till everything's final (don't want to jinx it!). But I'm hopefully we'll have a new home for our little baby in no time. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

99 Days To Go!

Ninety nine days till baby! I can hardly believe that I have entered the double digit countdown. I feel no more prepared to take care of another human than I did six months ago. Plus, I still have nowhere for a tiny baby to sleep. (Not entirely true, our crib has arrived and is sitting at grandma's house in pieces in a box.) The number of days may be on the decline, but the numbers on the scale certainly are not! I can no longer button my favorite Laundry jacket! And the timing could not be better as tomorrow is officially the first day of fall!! Tonight we're going to the Yankees' game so I'm planning for chilly temps. Maternity jeans and layers, and my un-button-able jacket. No Yankee gear for this Boston girl! I feel a little goofy wearing a jacket that won't close, but I kind of over it.   

What are your plans for this weekend?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

We Are Not Finding Out The Sex of Our Baby!!!

We are not finding out the sex of our baby.


It's usually the first question people ask us, and the responses typically vary from, "I could never do that, I'm such a control freak." to "I'm such a planner. I needed to know what colors and clothes to buy." I get it. We live in a society with a got-to-have-it-now mentality. We're all inpatient. I am, too. I'm a control freak and I'm a planner. I just can wait to find out the sex of my baby.

I'll tell you why it was an easy decision for me: I'm excited about the surprise. When Christmas rolls around you won't find me snooping through closets looking for hidden gifts. And you certainly won't see me tearing through wrapping paper on Christmas Eve because I just can't wait. I like to savor the what's-under-the-tree surprise for as long as I can. The sex of our baby is a lot more valuable information than what's in a gift box, but I'm applying the same logic here. Finding out in the doctor's office feels like cheating. I want to learn the sex of our baby the old fashioned way.

While I knew I wanted to keep the sex a surprise long before I even thought of having a baby, I was almost certain that it would be a long, hard wait. But it's really not. For starters, not all baby stuff comes in pink or blue. The really, really important stuff that we need to have ready before we head to the hospital—like a car seat and stroller—come in gender neutral shades like gray and black. In fact, other than one Graco stroller that came in purple, I didn't see many baby travel accessories or seating options that came in gender specific colors.

Nursery prep proves to be more of a challenge but I'm ready to tackle that, too. There are very few cute gender neutral bedding sets out there. And I have clicked on the "It's a Surprise" tab on many company's websites only to be shown the same blue crib sheets that are also listed under, "It's a Boy!" Huh? Luckily, I'm not dying to buy an entire bedding set. I'm more of a mix-and-match type of gal. And I'm also planning to skip the side bumper since many doctors say these are dangerous for babies. Right now I'm designing the perfect sanctuary for us. I plan to use peaceful shades of white to create a room that's just enjoyable to sit in at all hours of the day and night. I don't really like any of the boy-centric zoo animals or the girly butterfly quilts that are stocked at most baby stores anyway, so not knowing the sex has not made nursery planning impossible.  In fact, I would probably keeps my plans the same if we did find out!

The one thing that not knowing does make difficult is clothes shopping! I know that I don't need to start off with a TON of clothes. Baby will likely spend his or her first few weeks is snugly onsies. I hear that most babies grow so fast those first weeks that they are onto the next size range before most moms can change the laundry. But I really love clothes and I want to start buying mini-sized versions of my favorite things!

I guess I'll just have to practice my patience and wait. We'll get our surprise, and then I'll get to buy baby clothes! And what's the rush for anyway? After all, aren't baby clothes and nursery colors just a minor thing in all this? Isn't having a beautiful, healthy child what we want? I do think so! Till our baby comes I'll just have to direct my inner control freak towards other baby matters—like obsessing over the birth date!

What do you think? Am I crazy for not finding out the sex? What would you do?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Follow the Wife is GROWING!

If you can look past my filthy mirror you can see that I mean growing very literally.

New furniture is being ordered, many doctors are being seen and all jeans have been abandoned for stretchy leggings. I typically don't take my own official pregnancy shots, but I didn't like how my camera man captured my hips this month.

Where did those hips come from?!

I really enjoy being pregnant. Not only do I love any excuse to buy new stuff (yes, even sports bras) I really love how special it feels to be growing a baby. Plus, strangers have started to notice, and ask me if I'm feeling alright and open doors for me. That makes me feel extra special, too. I don't want that part to end.

There are, however, a few parts of my old life that I miss. Mainly the wine and reckless coffee drinking. But I was a little surprised to learn how quickly I'd outgrow my (one-size-fits-all, yea right) Hanky Panky underwear. Let me tell you, it's a depressing day when you realize your underwear is too small!

I'm excited to share more pregnancy adventures—from the nursery and the continuation of our house hunt to my constant thoughts about cake and all other bakery related items.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Connecticut Beach Weekend

A weekend at the Connecticut shore was exactly what the doctor ordered. Our little trip was perfect because we didn't have to travel far (35 minutes tops). It's so exciting to take a mini-vacation in your own backyard. You get to experience so many interesting places you might not have noticed before. We've been to the beach in Westbrook so many times, but we never stopped for the hot buttered lobster rolls at Edd's.

It's a good thing this delicious meal is not too far from home. I think I could eat one every night.

Instead of spending hours packing and traveling, we got to spend that time with family. We watched the sunset, we woke up and went for walks and we ate a ton of seafood. I loved waking up two days in a row with nothing to do but read my book by the ocean.

My shoreline vacation may be over, but the excitement is not. I'm headed to Logan airport tomorrow night where my parents and I will welcome my brother home. We're so excited he's back and we're going to celebrate the best way we know how—with more great food. See you in a couple of pounds, my friends!


Friday, June 29, 2012

How to Bounce Back

Here's my remedy for home buying pains: Go to the beach.

That's all.

Grainy self portrait on the beach. I took this right after our last offer was rejected.

It's going to be a beautiful weekend and there is a lounge chair at the Water's Edge Resort in Westbrook with my name on it. The doctor has ordered a vitamin D IV. So I'm packing up my bathing suit, my book and some SPF 30 and heading down route 95 for some sun therapy.

Last time we had an offer rejected, we got right back on the horse and started looking for new listings. Well we're kind of doing that, but I have to admit that my heart's just not in it yet. I need to take a home buying time out. After the inspection report came in I was reluctant to give up on the house. The next day my worry had turned into a bad feeling. I realized withdrawing our offer was the best thing to do. I'm ok leaving the house behind. (I know, I know. There will be others.) However, I'm still really attached to the town. I'm still really attached the cute street and the pretty field across from it. I got excited when I saw how excited our cousins were when they heard we'd be moving near by. And I got excited when they told me how awesome trick-or-treating was on our block. (Trick-or-treaters don't come to apartments. I missed that living in New York.)

Instead of think about what I'll be missing come October, I'm going to indulge in the summer. I'm going to focus on the right now. After all, it's about the journey, not the destination. (<---Look! An uplifting quote that is not annoying me. All hope is not lost.)

I know this is all par for the course, and a real estate deal gone south is not the worst thing that can happen. But if you've ever been in my shoes I'm sure you understand what a frustrating process this can be. Tell me, how you deal with minor let downs in you life?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Woes of House Hunting

Here's my sob story for today: I've officially lost my patience with house hunting.

"The right one will come along, you just have to be patient."

"If it's meant to be, it's meant to be."

"These things take time."

I've heard these, and other variations of these statements, over and over again in last few weeks. I know it's true, but the Everything-Happens-For-A-Reason reasoning is starting to get under my skin. These are the type of comments that are used in sucky situations, which is why I hate them. I hate sucky situations. The last time I was offered these sentiments was when I got kicked to the curb by a boyfriend.

"I'm tired of hearing that! This is what you say to people who get dumped," I said in frustration to Keith. "It didn't help the last time I heard that and it's not helping now!" (I'm a little dramatic in the morning before I've had my coffee.)

"But didn't it work out for you," he said. (In a very, I'm-right-and-you-know-it tone, I might add.) "Didn't you end up with me?"

"Yeeeeeeessssss," I shot back in my I-don't-like-to-admit-I'm-wrong-but-I-know-I-am tone. "But all those sympathetic comments from my friends didn't make my heartbreak just disappear."

Then he pointed to the cat who was spread out on the kitchen floor and said, "But you never would have met this kitten if you hadn't gotten dumped."

Why's he got to bring the cat into this!?

Now that I've established that I'm upset I can fill you in on the rest of the details. They go a little something like this: We found a house we loved! We made an offer! We were excited! We negotiated and negotiated. We worried! We had our offer accepted! We celebrated! (I started stalking We had an inspection done. We found out there were a lot of things wrong with the house. We stopped celebrating.

The house is 60-years-old. It's no wonder that it needs some fixes. My dad said, "I'm 60 and I need some repairs." Then he looked at the inspection report and made one of those hmmmmm sounds. The ones you don't ever want to hear from your doctor. The sound that means, "This is worse than I thought." Keith had been making those sounds all day. If my cat knew how to do anything but beg for food I'm sure she'd be making those sounds, too.

I know that we can do more negotiating and have some (or all) of these problems fixed. We can ask for more money at closing to fix them ourselves, or try lowering our initial offer. We have options, but now we both have that sinking feeling that there might be more things wrong with this house that the inspection didn't reveal. (Hello, have you seen that Mike Holmes show? If I'm going to be on HGTV it's going to be Bath Crashers not Mike Holmes Inspection. Just saying.)

That's where we stand now. We've made three offers on three house with not much to show for it. So go ahead, leave your thoughts below, but please hold the sympathies and everything-happens-for-a-reason-type comments. I've got plenty.   

Monday, June 4, 2012

House Hunting Tactic: Stalking Houses

Making sad playlists and moping around the house may work for heart-broken high school girls, but not for me. So we didn't get the house we wanted. It was a bummer. But the only way to get over it is to get back on the horse again.

So that's what we did. Keith and I spent a rainy Saturday morning trolling the web for listings. Then we plugged the address into our GPS and hit the road to check out the properties. Since our realtor usually needs 24 hours to set up a showing (and we are impatient) this helps us see the area and scope out the yard. You'd be surprised how misleading some of the pictures posted online are! (But then again, if you've ever tried online dating, maybe you wouldn't be.) Stalking the properties we think we are interested in has actually helped us find areas we love and neighborhoods we don't care that much for. Plus, we usually stop for ice cream on these drives.

Here's why I advocate stalking properties:
Saturday we stalked a house in a neighborhood that we LOVED. According to Google maps it was situated pretty close to a major highway and Keith wanted to see if you could hear the traffic from the house. When we drove up to the house I confirmed that I did love the area and I was instantly charmed by the outside. Then Keith rolled down the windows and said, "Shhhh, listen." The optimist in me heard pretty birds chirping. Keith—the realist—heard nothing but the swoosh of speeding cars. He took a quick peek behind the house and confirmed more bad news—the highway was visible through the trees. Maybe it wouldn't have bothered us. Perhaps the noise is barely audible from inside the house, but Keith says having a major highway in your backyard is bad for resale value. It's hard for me to imagine selling a house that we haven't even bought yet, but I have to agree. If it makes us think twice, what will others think five or ten years from now?

A brick house was good enough for the Three Little Pigs, but not for us.

On Sunday we hit the road again. The sun was out so we packed a cooler and spent the morning at the beach. By 2 pm we were on our way to an open house in another one of our top favorite neighborhoods. The whole place smelled like cat pee and the layout was just too weird. And worst of all there was nothing on my checklist to be found in this house. No dining room, no fireplace, no beautiful front entry. An eat-in kitchen alone ain't gonna cut it. But we had two more listings that we wanted to stalk and they were near a Dairy Queen so I kept an open mind as we motored to the next town. Thankfully, we loved the locations of both houses! One was across from a beautiful park and the other was on a pretty side street in our favorite town. If their interiors are true to what we've seen online, I think we might find a winner.

Wish us luck!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Our First House Hunting Let Down

Let me just start by saying this: It's not as bad as it sounds. It's Friday, the sun is shining and I got a free doughnut at Dunkins this morning in honor of National Doughnut Day. All is good in the free world. That's why I'm only slightly disappointed that the offer we put on a house we really loved was not accepted.
Dream house, I know you're out there! 

Let me paint a picture for you: It was a charming Cape with lots of space, a pretty fire place and a dining room. Check, check, check. The upstairs bathroom featured a major bonus—a jacuzzi. And there was an additional 500 square feet and a wet bar downstairs thanks to a beautifully finished basement. The neighborhood was perfect and the schools all checked out.

But I guess someone else loved it more—nine thousand dollars more than we did.

I'm a little bummed. I was already picturing family movie nights and backyard cook outs. In my head I had already made close friends with all the neighbors. I'd invite our new couple friends over for a glass of chardonnay and entertain them with hilarious stories and everyone would laugh and think, "Man, are we glad they bought this house!"

I know that this is not a bad thing. I know there is another house and another neighborhood and other cool couples to entertain on our back patio. I know that when people say this happened for a reason they are right.

I just hope that the reason appears sooner rather than later. Design Star just started again and I'm dying to start decorating!

If you have ever had an offer turned down, tell me how you got over it. What kept your spirits up? And how did you stay patient during the hunt?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Kitchen Unveiled

It's the moment you've all been waiting for.

Ok, it's really the moment I have been waiting for.

Our new kitchen is finally finished! Still pending the installation of a few pieces of hardware and a small paint touch up, but I felt like today was as good as any to announce the completion.

While everyone else spent the day at the beach, Keith and I had a Memorial cleaning fest. We had moved all of our pantry items and dishes to huge plastic bins for the cabinet installation so we restocked and reorganized. I learned I have way too many spices and also that we will likely be packing up them all up again, very soon, to move. Sigh. But really, it is such a relief to finally be able to see my living room floor now that it is no longer stacked high with boxes and tools. Who needs the beach when you can have a clean house?

The details: We selected a quartz countertop (LG Viatera in Silver Lake) and Sussex cabinets in coco from Cardell Cabinetry. We also decided on an undermount sink and Brainerd Satin Nickel hardware from Lowes. And I am currently falling in love with our faucet: Another Lowes special, the Peerless 1-Handle Kitchen Faucet.

Usually our counter is piled high with mail and West Elm catalogs, but I think this shiny new one is motivation enough to keep it clear.

How did you spent your Memorial Day weekend? Did you make it to the beach or to a cookout, or did you spend some time working on home renovations?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kitchen Renovations Are Afoot

Part of this whole buying a new house project is the shaping up of our current home so we can sell or rent it for big bucks. I may be a novice at this but I do know that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. The current state of our kitchen was not doing us any favors so it was time to tear out the ugly, broken cabinets and install something a bit more updated. We started this two weeks ago. It's been 14 long days of take out, paper plates and restaurants. I do love to eat out, but it is starting to get old. I'm so ready to cooks a real meal in our beautiful new kitchen! Here's a look its current state: 

1. On May 2 Keith took out our kitchen sink. I've been living sans sink for almost two full weeks. Since I refuse to wash dishes in my bathtub (gross) I've resorted to plastic plates, cups and utensils. It's not my greenest moment, but at least every day feels like a picnic!

2. Our new cabinets arrived in large cardboard boxes and are piled high in the dining room. Pepper is the only family member who will miss them. If you look close enough you can see she's doing little kitty-cat jazz hands up there.

3. Before we can tear out the old cabinets, we have to empty them. This is the worst.

4. New cabinets go in! And a new counter gets installed right on top. It's finally getting pretty around here.

5. Another view of the new cabinets and counter. Note that there's still no working kitchen sink. I think I deserve an award for "Best Attempt At Roughing It".

Has anyone braved a kitchen renovation like this? What was your experience like? 

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Year In Review: Turning 29!

Saturday was my 29th birthday. I thought I was going to feel sad to be entering the last year of my twenties, but I feel refreshingly good. In fact, I think back to my early twenties and don't wish for a day to go back there. In my early twenties I was always striving for something—the perfect job, the perfect guy, the perfect pair of jeans. While I'm still searching for a right pair of jeans (ones that won't drag on the ground or bunch up around my knees) I feel good about what I have found in my life right now. So the number "29" didn't scare me this year. I feel like so many great things have happened in just this one year and I feel like I've learned and grown from all of it.

I Settled Into Life as a Newlywed

After the wedding it seems like everyone is asking how married life is. "Exactly the same, but with more paperwork," I joked to everyone, as I stumbled through the process of changing my name, my bank account and tax information. Being a newlywed was not entirely different from being engaged, but once the planning and excitement of the wedding died down we had time to think about the rest of our lives together. We started talking about buying a house and having kids. After living in New York City, and now New Haven, moving to the suburbs is going to be a chance for me and while we drive around looking at neighborhoods I always think about my tiny walk-up apartment on the Upper East Side and how far I'll have come from that lifestyle. But being a newlywed is more than just a change of venue—it's a whole new way of living. No more selfish decisions. Everything from what I eat for dinner to how I spend my weekends affects another person now and I love planning accordingly.  

I Became a God Mom

My nephew Henry was born in June and when I talked to his mom and dad that day in the hospital via Skype they asked me to be his God Mother. I have the BEST Fairy God Mother, so I was really excited to have the honor of being the same for my Nephew. Since little Henry might not be into Cinderella the same way I was, I'll drop the "Fairy" from my title. But that doesn't mean that I won't give him everything he ever needs or wants. Not only do I get to be the aunt who spoils him, but I also get to be a part of his life in the church. I went to a Catholic school for seven years so I believe I'm well qualified for the job!
I Changed Careers

This winter I took a huge risk and left my full time job as a magazine editor for a part time position with an event planning company. The day I told my boss I was leaving was one of the scariest days of my life, and Keith literally had to convince me from wimping out. But I did it. And a few weeks later I started my new role in a brand new field. As an editor, I sat behind a desk all day. I e-mailed and talked on the phone and I spent a lot of time with my head buried in manuscripts reworking and rewriting paragraphs over and over and over. Now, I spend some days in the studio working on invoices and timelines. Other days I'm hunting through Home Goods for decor items for the next event. I have a great mix of creative work that challenges me and new office tasks that also challenge me. I love that every day is different and everyday teaches me something new. Some nights I spent long hours on my feet and get home past midnight with an achy back and neck. But I've found my work to be so fulfilling that none of that even matters.

The most rewarding thing is that I had the courage to make a change in my life when I was unhappy. When I was in my early twenties I clung to the idea that journalism was my dream job and leaving the field would make me a quitter. At 29 I'm happy with what I've accomplished as an editor and I'm proud of myself for recognizing that quitting my job didn't make me a quitter, but rather it made me an even more successful person than I was before.

 I Became a Cat Mom

Cat Mom...Crazy Cat Lady...What ever you want to call me, I have a furry little friend who wakes me up every morning wanting to snuggle be fed. Even though she has a raging ear infection that is racking up a significant bill at the Vet's office, Pepper is the best little kitten in town.

I think my 29th year will be just as action-packed and exciting! And to start it off Chris Harrison is sending a belated gift tonight. Emily's season starts and I'm dying to dig into some horrible reality TV. I had a good year, I think I deserve it!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Homeownership is a Marathon

Homeownership is a marathon, not a sprint.

Those were the words that were boldly printed on a billboard on route 95. I'm not sure what this ad was for, but I am sure that it was meant, 100 percent, for me. While I don't want to put an offer on the very first house we look at, I do want it yesterday. I bought the very first wedding dress that I tried on and I don't shop online because the shipping process annoys me. This period from deciding we are going to buy a house to actually buying a house is killing me.

We've only looked at four houses so far and none of them have been right. There were things I liked in all of them (like the closet within a walk-in closet). But there are also things just not right about each. See below:

No the house isn't slanted, the black and white tile floors are just making you dizzy. 

I know we can paint the walls and put down a new floor. (Sorry to disappoint, I know you totally thought I was going to go for black and white tile in my dining room!!) After that there may even be some money left over for new cabinets and granite counter tops. We could turn this into a pretty rad kitchen—but it's too small. I was really excited to see this property and was able to look past the reckless interior design decisions the previous owner made. (Umm there was even glitter painted onto the dining room ceiling.) But I just could not picture myself living here. I want an eat-in kitchen and I'd like to be able to invite a lot of people over for a party on the occasional New Year's Eve. I didn't see us fitting here.

After each showing that's just not right I feel discouraged. I know I need to slow down. Our perfect home is out there and we'll find it because we are diligent house hunters. But I am feeling really impatient.

Any words of advice?
Please leave your comments below! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Pre-House Hunting Checklist

Buying a house is not something I know a lot about. Numbers make me nervous, so talking about mortgages cause little beads of sweat to appear on my palms. And I haven’t lived in Connecticut long. I can hardly find my way out of my own driveway, never mind pick out towns with the best school systems.

It goes without saying that I have absolutely no idea where to start.

I wanted to jump right in to the hunting part of this process. Keith has already spoken with a bank and we have been pre-qualified for a loan. And together we’ve done some research on what towns will be good for us. We considered their proximity to our jobs and school systems. We even took a drive last Sunday to scope out some of these towns for ourselves. One we thought we liked ended up having too much of a small-town feel for me, and we ended up discovering another that wasn’t even on our list before.

Pretty house with a wrap around porch, when will you be mine?

So why can’t we just start setting up showings and looking at houses already? 

1. My pinterest board is not done. So far for home inspiration I’ve got colored glassware from West Elm (which I don’t really need because I have a ton of glasses) and these fringe curtains that are not likely to fit in any house we end up purchasing. How can I possibly look for the house of my dreams if I haven’t created the mood board of my dreams?

2. We really should get pre-approved for a loan before we start poking our heads into houses. We went to see a few places, kind of like a test run, but if we want to make a serious offer we need to be able to back it up. We’ve been pre-qualified for a loan, which is just a nice way for the bank to say that unless we are lying about how much we make we will likely get a loan. Now we need to get pre-approved. The bank will run a credit check and do some other more official stuff and if we pass (which they already told us we would) they write a nice letter saying so.

3. We need a realtor. Sure, there’s Google and Zillow and Craigslist and Facebook and a million other places we can find houses we’d like to buy. But when it comes to the actual purchase of a house a realtor will help us through the sale, making sure we get what we want and we pay a fair price. So where do we find the right realtor for us? While I searched Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, Keith picked up his cell and called the realtor he’d worked with when he bought his condo. One Realtor, check! 

4. I have to wish my brother a Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday, Phil! Sadly, he is still deployed and I doubt he will have much of a birthday celebration. Maybe a picture on the blog will make up for that?

 Phil celebrating his 21st birthday in style.

It’s a close call. Hopefully this and that copy of Catching Fire I send him will help!

Once the pre-home buying checklist has been complete we can start making appointments to view houses. Of course we still have a lot more options to narrow down, like do we want to do a full renovation or do we want a move in ready house? What are our “deal breakers”? And which town do we REALLY want to live in?


But I’m taking it all one step at a time. Tell me, what were some of the first things you did when you bought a house? What steps am I missing?

Friday, April 20, 2012

House Hunting: Let the Games Begin!

Good things come in pairs. Our first wedding anniversary is right around the corner. And it looks like our first home is, too.

It's not what you think. We have yet to make an offer on a property. Or even see a property that we want to make an offer on. But we have begun the house hunt. We looked at two houses Wednesday after work. Both were in need of a little TLC so it was a little hard for me to picture myself living in the spaces. However, a fixer-upper is exactly what we are looking for. Keith likes to get his hands dirty renovating houses and I like things my way. It's a perfect combination. Keith can have as much fun as he likes covered in saw dust and dry wall and I can get the 2.5 bathrooms and a walk-in closet of my dreams. 

We'd also like a house near the water with a porch we can drink wine on while watching the waves crash onto the shore. 
Is that too much to ask for?

This house hunting thing is still new, so I am very excited.

Ask me in a few months and I may be singing a different tune.

Fingers crossed. I'm a very bad singer.

I am the newest of newbies when it comes to anything real estate related. It's true that my husband has spent a lot of time learning the trade these last few years. And while I've helped out at some of the properties and tuned into more episodes of Flip This House than I can count, there is a lot that goes over my head.

Luckily, Keith gets it. He's met with the bank and we have been pre-qualified for a mortgage. He's figured out how much we can afford. And he's researched nearby towns and school systems to help us determine where we want to look. Oh yea, he's also started contacting a few real estate agents in those particular towns to set up showings. I have such a good husband.

What have I done?

I started a Pin board with inspiration for a wallpapered bathroom.

Alright. I hear ya. Bathroom design is very important, but it's time for me to get my head in the game. I want to learn all about buying a house. I want to know what to look for when we walk through houses. And I want to not be confused when the listing agent says something like, "I can sharpen my pencil for you." 

I prefer to write important contracts in pen. But if sharp pencils mean lower prices, I'll take them.

Like it or not, I'm going to take you all along with me on this journey to home ownership. If you're buying your first home than I hope my posts help. If you've already done so than I expect you to at least laugh along. Just as long as you're laughing with me and not at me!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Special Delivery: Our Wedding Images Are In!

Excitement is high! Last week I received the most wonderful piece of priority mail—a beautifully wrapped CD containing our wedding images. Since we didn’t hire a videographer, these images are even more special to us. Other than what’s stored in our mind, they are the only window we have into that special day. Loading them up on my computer and pouring through the files brought back so many memories that I had forgotten about. Like this shot of me grabbing my headpiece after our first dance. Keith had just dipped me—the finishing move we had practiced over and over again—and when he picked me back up the headband that was securely fastened into my head shifted a little and I reached to my hair to fix it back into place. We are both smiling because we know we just totally nailed that dance. I love this picture so much because it not only brought back a memory that I had sort of forgotten about, but it’s a moment that only Keith and I know about. Even though we were in front of a room full of people, none of them will have the same memory when they see this picture.

 The first dance. Photo by Cynthia Brown.

I wanted to more more of my favorite images from the day, which happened to be snapped at another of my favorite moments. Before cocktail hour, the bridal party settled down in a bridal suite where a bar and some food had been set up. There were leather armchairs and dark wood paneled walls that made you feel like you were relaxing in a very rich person’s library. Mr. Lawn Club’s Library. The guys all poured themselves bourbon and started posing in front of the fireplace for an impromptu photo session. Naturally I had to be part of the fun, too. So I jumped in did my best impression of Elizabeth Bennett. Little did I know what was going on behind me.

 In the bridal suite at the New Haven Lawn Club. Photo by Cynthia Brown.

Our wedding album is in production! And I’m getting together more images from the big day to share. It’s a wedding photo explosion and it’s all in time for our one-year anniversary.


Friday, April 13, 2012

A Career Change for the Wife

I’ve got some exciting news! I recently started a new job. Actually, I recently started a new career. It was a big, bold and kind of scary move but it was time for a change. I took a deep breath, pinched my nose and dove head first into the wonderful world of wedding and event planning.

Now everyday is new and exciting. I’ve met fascinating people (florists, photographers and cake bakers, oh my!) I love working along with such creative people and taking in all their talents.

What I love about this job is how different each day is. I have plenty of time in the studio to work on projects that really get me thinking. But I also get to roll up my sleeves and do some heavy lifting. Literally. Those bistro tables and receptions chairs don’t get set up by themselves.

photo by Cynthia Brown

You can read all about my new gig here.

It is so refreshing to wake up excited to get dressed and get down to business. Seriously, life is so great when your job feels like more fun than it does work. And it’s too short to not do what you love! I am so glad I made the decision to change careers. 

I hope everyone else is enjoying this sunny Friday as much as I am! Tell me, what's new with you?


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Honeymoon is Over: A Fresh Start for Follow the Wife

  If the honeymoon has to end, it might as well end with a cocktail and a creepy totem pole.

Greetings, blog readers. It’s been quiet here for a while, but I hope you’re still there. I can explain: I took a short hiatus to do some reflecting on the meaning of this blog. I started writing Follow the Bride posts over at Creative Odds ‘n Ends to chronicle my wedding planning adventures. It became a place to gather opinions and share the many tips I was learning along the way. I love that I now have each step of the planning process documented and can look back on that exciting time whenever I want. It’s sometimes hard to believe that a year ago today Keith and I had just attended the final walk through at our wedding venue. I blinked and suddenly we are one month away from our first anniversary. How did that happen?!

Since last spring I’ve been writing about my new adventures as a married woman. I’ve shared my favorite pictures from our honeymoon and discussed important family purchases. I created this blog to illustrate my journey through wifedom. My hope is that it picks up where all the wedding blogs leave off to give readers and intimate and honest look at what it’s like to be a newlywed. Recently, though, things were getting a little cluttered and I didn’t think my message was getting through. Well, I’ve polished off the old thinking cap and I’m ready to take a second crack at it. Here we go, folks. As they like to say, "The honeymoon is over!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One Little Reason My Family Makes My Whole Life Better PLUS How Criticism Can Help

I have run all my life. On summer vacations in Hyannis I would join my dad on his run to the Kennedy Memorial and back. In high school I signed up for track because my friends convinced me the coach was hot. And in college, I'd jog around the track before cheer practice with my roommate. After college I continued to work out regularly. I would pack a bag and hit the gym before work most mornings. It was a pain to wake up early and I hated getting ready in the locker room, but I loved how much more energy I had throughout the day. Running has always been a part of my life. But I'd never (ever) call myself a runner.

So I was not prepared for a sudden burst of motivation.

A few weeks ago I stepped off the treadmill and walked over to where Keith was stretching. "I ran a mile in 12 minutes. Is that good?"

"Ummm. Not really," he replied.

Shocked that my husband wasn't giving me the pat on the back that I thought I deserved, I mumbled that I had done some other stuff on all those other machines earlier and so for that reason 12 minutes was probably an ok time and what does he know anyway.

  Keith: A run motivator and fear or heights supporter.

A day or so later my brother called from his base in Afghanistan while we were eating breakfast. "Phil, I ran a mile in 12 minutes. Is that good?" Somehow, I expected a different response. Instead a cackle of laughter came through on the other end of the phone. He was less kind when he told me that my time was not very good. And to put things in perspective, he added, he can run two miles in that time. 

Thanks for the perspective, Phil.

Now that both my husband and my brother doubted my running abilities, I had to prove I could do better. Their criticism made me realize that I could do better. The next day I went to the gym—not to burn calories or get in shape—to shave time off my mile and get back into the good athletic graces of my loved ones. I cranked up the speed and when I finished under ten minutes, I was happily pleased with myself. 

9:54 won't be breaking any records, but I was happy about it.

But I couldn't stop there. The next day I wanted to run faster. And the day after that I wanted to run  further, too. So I keep lacing up my sneakers and running. I run to top my previous time. I run to build up endurance so I can run farther. And I run because I like the way I feel when I'm done.

I've never been this motivated to run before. I've never even liked to run—it was just something I did because staying fit is important to me. But now I have two of the best cheerleaders on my side. Sure, they're not shouting through megaphones as I zoom (cruise?) past them on the road. (But I know they would if I asked them to!) My husband and my brother have equally motivated me to push myself a little further each day. I bet they didn't even know they were doing that for me when they told me my mile time sucked! 

Thanks Keith and Phil! 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Favorite Cocktail Party

Saturday was my first St. Patrick's Day without an Irish last name. (Koru Kate, I know you feel me on this.) Since I didn't the right name to display my heritage, I had to wear the form of green pants. Green pants I would have worn regardless of my name, but wear them I did.
Keith and I were invited to a cocktail party that night. Our assignment: mix up a favorite cocktail to be tasted and voted on by all guests. I was so up for the challenge. Just a week earlier I hit up Pinterest looking for a creative drink to make with some quickly ripening peaches in my fridge. I found an easy and refreshing version of a Peach Collins that Keith loved, so we entered that.
Other entries included delicious versions of strawberry mojitos, lychee martinis (tinted green for St. Patty's Day), espresso martinis and a cosmopolitan shot. Each drink was delicious, and it was so hard to pick just one winner. To be a fair judge I had to try more than just one sip of each.
It was such a fun evening. Having each guest make a cocktail was a perfect way to get everyone involved. Warning: the bigger the party, the more dangerous this gets. Mini versions of your favorite drinks for a tasting are my recommendation for lightweights and large crowds. You'll thank me in the morning!

A huge thanks go out to Will and Thanh, our hosts for the evening. Here's Thanh shaking up her Lychee martinis.

Not a Nerd. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hunger Games Party Inspiration

Since everyone and their mother (Yes, moms are included in this trend) is obsessed with The Hunger Games, I thought I'd look into some fun ways to bring the book to life through a party. I was just invited to a Hunger Games book club meeting and, since I don't do anything small, I have been looking into some recipes and treats inspired by my favorite citizens of Panem. With the movie premier a little over a week away, I thought this was the perfect time to start planning a Hunger Games party.

Cupcakes on Fire from Fictional Food were the first thing that came up when I googled "Hunger Games inspired recipes." These carefully crafted cakes are setting the bar pretty high. I will in no way try to attempt making fondant Mockingjay pins. But if you can, or know someone who can, call me.  There are some easy directions on making the actual cake look like it is on fire that I think we can all agree is worth a shot at attempting.

Cupcakes on Fire {via}

Poisonous Nightlock Berries were the start the revolution against the Captiol and got Katniss into a bit of hot water at the start of the second book. I think they deserve a special shout out in the form of a berry cocktail. Nightlock Berries are fictional (I googled that, too,) so you can make any type of berry cocktail and get away with it. I always pictured those berries were red and this Berry Little Cocktail from Martha Stewart is a funny little way for guests to honor Katniss and Peeta's attempted double suicide. Cheers!

Martha Stewart's Berry Little Cocktail {via} 

 Last but not least, it ain't a Hunger Games party without bread! Peeta and Katniss had their first connection over two loaves of burnt bread and bread continues to play a major role in the story as the pair compete in the games. Each District is known for a different type of roll, like the crescent rolls sprinkled with seeds that Katniss is gifted from District 11 after Rue dies. And did you know that Pamen is Latin for bread? The name is derived from the Latin phrase panem et circenses which describes entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters. AKA the Hunger Games.  

If you've got enough time to make your own bread, this version of burnt raisin nut bread looks perfect. But you can also buy a nice loaf at your local bakery. Nothing wrong with that. 

 Burnt Nut and Rasin Bread {via}

I am really looking forward to this Hunger Games party and can't wait to see the movie! I might even skip my usual Wild Cherry Pepsi and try to sneak a Nightlock Berry cocktails into the show. 

Have you read The Hunger Games? What are your thoughts? And what is my party menu missing?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Guilty Pleasure Night: The Bachelor Finale

 Is Ben your type? {via}

I am sad to report that I have been anxiously awaiting today's arrival. It's Monday and that means tonight is The Most Dramatic Bachelor Finale Ever.

I've seen all the tabloids and I have a pretty good idea which lady will get the final rose. I don't know how much more drama the producers can create. None the less, I am excited for tonight's episode.
I don't watch much junk TV, so I allow myself to invest in this long-running dating game show.
You want to know why I watch it?

I think it is exciting to watch people go on first dates. There are so many dates on this show and most of them gives me the same butterflies I had on my first date with Keith. (Some of the dates also make me cringe!) I still get butterflies when I look at Keith, but not the same kind that fluttered in my stomach when I wondered if he liked me, too.

So I watch. And sometimes Keith does, too. He was rooting for Emily, the pretty rapper.

Do you watch? What are your thoughts on tonight's episode? 


Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Night Date Night!

 You know you have the best husband when he texts you at lunch to let you know he reserved *Breaking Dawn at the Red Box!

What are your plans for this lovely weekend? Before we settle in for the long anticipated (at least by me) viewing of Twilight, Keith and I are going out for Indian food. I really like my outfit today and I want to take it for a spin around town before changing into sweats and snuggling on the couch.

Enjoy the sun.


*UPDATE: Yikes! This movie was bad. We did not make it through the honeymoon. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shabby Apple Giveaway at Creative Montage

I love a good dress. I really can not stop talking about dresses. There is just such a good feeling you get from wearing a new dress that you don't get when you slip it on the second or third time. It's a small joy, and sadly it is becoming a rather expensive joy. That's why I'm so psyched that Creative Montage is running a giveaway for this darling Lighthouse dress from Shabby Apple. New dress joy feels so much better when it is won!

Head on over to Creative Montage to enter. PLUS! (Yes, there's a plus.) Shabby Apple is offering Creative Montage readers 10% off their next purchase. Click here to receive your shopping code! 

Fortnight Lingerie

This pretty little bra and panty set just made my morning. Named after one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs, how can I do anything but adore this style from Fortnight Lingerie.
I want. I want. I want.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wear It Again Bridesmaid Dress

Sometimes when I get a little bored I like to shop my own closet. I like to pour myself a glass of wine and pick through my clothes to make some outfits for work, events or just a night out on the town. I love clothes—this is fun for me. I got going last night and as I was tossing out some old, old dresses, I came across this J. Crew bridesmaid dress from my friend Maura's wedding.

I like this dress. And aside from the fact that it is listed on J. Crew's website under the Weddings and Parties category, it doesn't really look like a bridesmaid dress. Now, I can't imagine wearing this to another wedding. It's just my luck that the bride will have picked out the exact same dress for her maids. That would happen to me. But I thought this dress was really worth saving, so I dug into my closet for some style accessories to help me change the look.  Here's what I came up with:

I pulled this cheery yellow J. Crew cardigan on over the dress and added a brown leather belt. I think it helps keep things casual. I don't own these darling Seville Wedge Espadrills  so I slipped on a pair of nude ballet flats instead. Oh and the wine. I always accessorize with pinot noir. And there you have it: A bridesmaid dress has been reborn! 

What do you think of my second time around bridesmaid dress? Have you ever given one of your bridesmaid dresses another day in the sun?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Proper Bra Storage Tips

I have a lot of bras. Truthfully, I wear two or three of them all the time—a seamless nude bra and a padded black push-up are my everyday staples. But I can never say no to a pretty bra. Therefore, I have lots of pretty bras all crumpled a drawer. Additionally, last summer I went through a bright bra phase and now I have lots of bright bras crumpled in the drawer, too. Typing that made me cringe a little bit. My bras—pretty, bright or basic—should not be crumpled anywhere!

One of my favorite lingerie retailers, Bella Bella Boutique came to the rescue with some bra storage tips on Facebook. They say that dividing your bras and panties and stacking your bras, like so, will help them keep their shape.

I used to fold my bras and stuff them into a drawer divider, but I like this stacking method much better. And see that pretty eyelash lace in the front? It used to get all bent out of shape. Lying it flat keeps the lace in place and looking pretty. And when I am spending $50 -$90 on a good bra, you can bet I want to keep it in good shape.

During this cleaning adventure I also discovered that Pepper is a big fan of lingerie. I'm not surprised. I'm not surprised at all. Luckily, I had a cat nip mouse on hand to distract her and was able to save that pretty bra from the claws of death.

So tell me, how do you store your bras? Got an intimate apparel storage advice? 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Wardrobe Lusting!! Plus My Shopping Plan

My mom mailed me the spring Lilly Pultizer catalog. I have no idea why my mom receives this catalog, (because she's awesome,) but now I'm thinking, "Why am I not getting it?" One look at these preppy dames partying it up in pretty prints and I was done. Now I need a vacation and a new dress. (Another new dress, my J. Crew order is arriving today.)

I want to be a smart shopper this spring, so I am going to stick to buying clothes in the same style and color family. I'm trying to buy things that will work well together and with the items in my existing wardrobe, rather than impulse buy the newest trends just because they jump off the rack at me. I started a Pinterest board a week ago with all my favorite picks—a chambray shirt that will pair with colored pants (I've got like 10 pairs, no lie) and classic skirts, a pair of J. Crew chino shorts and a cute short sleeve cardigan (because air conditioners are lurking everywhere). I also pinned some pretty dresses that would be perfect for weddings and other fun summer affairs and lots of yellow. Yellow is going to be my spring color. So now when I shop, I am looking for items similar to the ones I've pinned and I think that should keep me in good shopping shape. We'll see if this works!!! (I do have a few impulse pins. I don't really NEED three Lilly Pulitzer dresses.)

I know this winter has been kind to us, but now that I've got this pin board up and running I am itching to ditch my winter coat. I love my coat A LOT and it makes me feel so put together when I wear it, but lately I've been dreading the moment I have to slip it on.

I want my jean jacket.
I want my J. Crew chino shorts.
I want the Eryn dress from Lilly Pulitzer.

And I want to wear all of these things to a beach somewhere in not too distant future.

That is all. Thank you.