Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sweet Home Alabama

Since I've made it Facebook official, most of you know of mine & Ross' impending adventure to Alabama!!! We are excited, nervous, optimistic, scared, and so on. It's quite the roller coaster of emotions. Call us sheltered, but we've never lived more than a 10-mile radius from where we grew up!! Even our first apartment was only a short distance away. Of course, I've always dreamed of living out-of-state, but Ross was always persisent that he never wanted to move.  Now, we are both excited to finally take the step to move (although not looking forward to traveling on holidays) and see what else is out there. Who knows, maybe we'll love it and never come back! Ok, I'm kidding, we'll always be pittsburgh-ers in our hearts and plan to come back one day :)

So since everything has been set in motion, we have quite the number of things to get done.

Ross' official start date with US Steel is March 1st. He finishes up with NHS Human Services on Feb. 16th and will have about 2 weeks in between to get packed and moved. We're flying down to B'ham (gotta love the lingo!) Feb. 2-6 to apartment hunt. Ideally, we'd love to find a townhome w/ at least a 1-car garage to rent for the first year. We don't want to buy a house until we really know the area. And if we could find a townhome with garage space (and NO yardwork :), all of our stuff should fit!! I would HATE to have to put it all back into storage when I just got it all unpacked, organized and useable in our new house :( 

Our realtor, Stephanie (who helped us buy our house and is now helping to sell it) got us in touch with a realtor in the B'ham area that specializes in rentals, so hopefully she will be able to help line up some places to look at the 3 days we have to find a place! I haven't had much luck by looking myself, so I hope this girl has something up her sleeves, haha.

Of course, everyone knows that it breaks my heart to sell our house after all the work we put into it, but I wouldn't have changed a thing and we should be able to sell it easily. I just tell myself that it's only a house and I can't be this emotionally attached. We'll also try to have everyone over to see it before we sell it, and show off our work one last time! Because we won't be doing that extent of home reno's for quite some time and we are quite proud of how far our house has come since we've bought it.

Anyways, once we find a place in B'ham, we'll have to figure out how Ross is moving his stuff down there. We have not priced anything yet as far as moving goes, but if you have any suggestions, please let us know :) We're taking everything ONE step at a time, b/c it's just too overwhelming to think about the full picture.

Once Ross moves out, we'll get the house listed on the market and see if we get any bites. Ideally, I don't want to move out until mid-June. That way I can continue working here, take care of selling the house, packing our things, etc. That gives Ross a few months to get settled into the position and to be 100% confident that he likes it. (If not, he can always move back and we'll still have our house! He always likes to play it safe and be extra cautious! Can you tell?) We also have a friend's wedding in June that we're both a part of, so it makes sense to have to only pay for him to fly home for that. It'll be hard to not see eachother for 4 months, but who knows. The plan can always change if it has to. Nothing is ever set in stone.

So that's it for now. I'm really looking forward to our 5 days in Alabama next week :) US Steel actually pays for one house hunting trip for employee & spouse, so they are paying for our flight, hotel, rental car, meals, etc. It's like a free vacation!!!! And get this, they booked us at a Residence Inn by Marriott. Yes!! I've never got to stay in such a nice hotel before (aside from our honeymoon), so I'm thrilled and can't wait for our free 'vacation' :)

Let the townhome hunting begin!...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Great Rentals

Ross & I have been on a roll these past few weeks with renting good movies! We are now addicted to Redbox and our egos are full and certain that our next pick will not dissapoint. Hopefully our luck doesn't run out any time soon :)

But for those of you who typically have bad luck renting good movies like me, here are a few movies we've seen recently that I recommend:

Unknown   Starring Liam Neeson, Diane Krugar, & January Jones
Plot (from IMDb):  A man awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one, (not even his wife), believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.
My Review: This movie was filled with suspense and action. I always hesitate with these movies because they start out with an easy-to-follow plot while you invest an  hour and half of your time, all while in the last 20 minutes, the entire plot unravels into a complete and utter mess. But this movie did not do that. It was suspenseful with twists and turns and the ending was a good one :)




Friends with Benefits   Starring Justin Timberlake & Mila Kunis
Plot (from IMDb): While trying to avoid the clich├ęs of Hollywood romantic comedies, Dylan and Jamie soon discover however that adding the act of sex to their friendship does lead to complications.
My Review: I was actually pleasantly surprised with this one, after not expecting much. Ross & I rented this after some of my coworkers suggestions. The humor was fresh and fun, while Ross mostly enjoyed all of the gay references made towards Justin Timberlake, since Ross is still convinced that Justin is gay, and Jessica Biel (his real-life fiance) is just a cover-up. While I don't much care for either actor, I fully enjoyed this movie, even if it did have a (spoiler alert!) ...cliche ending.


Just Go With It   Starring Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, & Brooklyn Decker
Plot (from IMDb): On a weekend trip to Hawaii, a plastic surgeon convinces his loyal assistant to pose as his soon-to-be-divorced wife in order to cover up a careless lie he told to his much-younger girlfriend.
My Review: This was a movie I had wanted to see because I love both of the actors, but I was hesitant to rent it because the plot sounded very predictable/ trying-too-hard-to-be-funny, but I was proved wrong. It was funny and witty, and even though Adam's character annoyed me at times, the ending made up for it.  I'd suggest renting this if you're looking for something light and fun with a little humor mixed in.


And now, I saved the best for last :)


Water for Elephants   Starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, & Christoph Waltz
Plot (from IMDb): A veterinary student abandons his studies after his parents are killed and joins a traveling circus as their vet.
My Review: When I first saw this movie preview, I was first drawn in by two of my favorites actors, Reese Witherspoon and Rob Pattinson (yes....I'm a Twi-hard, and on Team Edward! ha!). The plot seemed interesting too, with the love story mixed in, and I knew I would have to rent this one. I would probably rate this as a chick flick though, as I had rented it while Ross was away one night, but I'm tempted to watch it again, possibly with Ross. Not sure if he'll agree to that or not?! Anyway, the plot was filled with suspense, action, drama, love and everything in between. I also tend to love movies that take place in the 1920's/30's era, and this one fell in the time of the Prohibition Era. I loved the mix of emotions during the movie and found myself immersed in each and every character. I'd also like to point out that I might buy thise movie, which gives it a lot of credit, since I usually view owning movies as 'clutter' since I rarely watch a movie twice. But there are always one or two that slip through the cracks, and this one I may not be able to resist buying :)

Well, I hope you enjoy a movie night soon. I apologize if you've seen any of the movies above, and thought differently. These were just a few that Ross & I enjoyed!  If you have any suggestions of good movies you've rented lately, please do share :) Our luck is bound to end soon.....

~Kristin

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ouch!

How do you take your mind off of minimal daily lower back pain.....why, just pull a different back muscle!! Ouch. This is the 2nd time in the past few weeks that I pulled the same back muscle behind my right rib cage, and it hurts!! Oh holy moly.

The first time I pulled the muscle was while working on the bathroom renovation, so I assumed it was something I did during that and vowed to be more careful (which is lying since I don't know how I caused it in the first place). But this time, I did nothing last night except my nightly stretches/exercises for my lower back. I have a feeling that the one exercise is what's causing me to pull this muscle. Which is strange b/c I feel great after the stretch, but the next morning, I wake up in agony!

So again, I'm left discouraged that I'll ever get my back to 100% healed. If I can't even do exercises to help it, then what?? I was also really excited to get back into Hot Yoga tonight (since I slacked off during the busy Christmas season), but it looks like that'll have to wait another week.

And it really sucks when I have to pass up things because I don't think my back can handle it. Think .....snowboarding. Ross & I haven't gone in 2 years, but some of Ross' friends are thinking about going, and I'll have to sit out because the last thing my back needs right now is me falling on my a** 50 times in one night :/ Perhaps now is a good time to take up skiing instead!

Anyways, on the upside....I still have a ton of pain killers left over from last year when I broke my back, and I have an awesome husband who is going to drop off some Percocet to me at work soon. Ooh-la-la. Me loves some painkillers right about now!!

~Kristin

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bathroom Revamping

I can't quite call this a bathroom demolition since we didn't really remove anything as far as flooring, hardware or the pink tub! I really wanted to just get this bathroom cleaned up enough so that we could start using it for the first time since moving in almost 9 months ago! Before, we just kept the bathroom door closed at all times and considered it a 'storage' room for bathroom items. Not once have I set foot in there to use it or clean it (except when first moving in). Yuck!

So 2 weeks before our big New Year's Eve Sha-bang (aka party :), I thought to myself, "Hey, what better way to stress myself out but then to give myself a 10-day timeline to get this bathroom completely up-to-date?!" Not to mention we had a ton of other things to prepare for with Christmas only a few days away! So yes, there was a LOT of stress, some tears, lots of effort...but ultimately...JOY!

So off I set to tear down all the old wallpaper, which I started before moving in...only to get distracted by a million other projects. So there our bathroom sat looking distraught and gross. Ross ripped out the old medicine cabinet as well b/c he said it was broken. So we also had a nice hole in the wall above the vanity:


Do you notice the "spotlight" light fixtures they have above the vanity?? There were in fact 8 spotlights all together. EIGHT!!! Count 'em! 3 in the one corner and 5 more above the right side of the cabinet. They had no rhyme or reason to where they were placed, so it annoyed me to the extreme!

Here's the awesome hole I had to stare at for 8 months:

And what's a bathroom makeover story without a pic of the old toilet :)


 Here's where the pink comes in to play. And the retro glass blocks...oi!


 Lastly, here's a view of the vanity. It actually looked pretty new or rarely used b/c the drawers inside were pretty clean except for a few clean Q-tips left behind. So we kept it....the vanity...not the Q-tips :)


I should also mention that almost none of the plumbing in this bathroom worked before moving in! My family of plumbers gave us a new faucet fixture and fixed the shower plumbing (along with a new showerhead) before we moved in. And in the end, during my week of revamping, Ross & I decided to just purchase a new toilet since the old one was quite gross. Also, the sink was clogged once we finally started using the bathroom, so we called the plumbers again to fix that too! Geesh. Plumbers are expensive. Even when you get a family discount!

Since I have no 'during' pics, let me explain what all we did before the big reveal:

1. Once I removed all the wallpaper, I noticed that the wall was in no condition to paint. Not once in this entire house did I come across old wallpaper paste that wouldn't budge. So I knew the only way to fix this bathroom was to cover up the walls again.....bring in the wallpaper!! Ugh. I hate wallpaper too. But then I found something called Beadboard wallpaper. I was intrigued. And it was an 'easy,' 'less expensive' fix, then tearing down all of the walls, which we actually contemplated! (after all, Ross & I are quite the drywalling duo!).

2.  We decided to keep the ceramic flooring, pink tub and tiles, and the vanity. After all, these things were in fine 'cosmetic' condition. Of course, anyone who knows me knows how much I despise the color Pink, but we really didn't want to sink money into this bathroom.

3. We replaced the bathroom lighting, which involved rewiring since I replaced the ceiling lights with 2 wall sconces.  This project alone took 3 days in my timeline after I thought it would be an easy fix. Ross was a champ though in figuring out how to rewire everything...correctly(!) and feed the wires down to where they needed to go :) At one point he sent me off to Lowe's with an old piece of wire to tell them "I need 4 more feet of THIS (show wire)" haha   I also had to patch the old holes from the ceiling fixtures, to which I would say I matched the previous texture quite well :)

4. I also had to patch up the old medicine cabinet hole since we were going to put up just a normal mirror, since the vanity provides TONS of storage. Besides, the old medicine cabinet was not centered over the sink, so it drove us crazy!

5. I also had to paint the beadboard wallpaper, and went ahead and painted the ceiling to clean it up.

6. After we got the sconces on the wall, after I wallpapered and painted, we noticed they weren't positioned correctly. Enter Doomsday.  I had to tear down a strip of wallpaper and move the light fixture box over 2" to the right. Boooo.  Always measure TWICE Kristin, TWICE!!

7. One project Ross has not finished yet? Baseboards. Wa-wa-waaaaa.



So once everything was put back together, I got to buy the proper accessories (tp holder, towel holder, and some cute accessories).

Here is the long awaited reveal (for those of you who haven't seen it in person :)




I love the bronze accessories on top of the white textured wallpaper! The sconces were $15 each from Home Depot. LOVE THEM! And they provide TONS of light.




The mirror was from Target ($40). It was the perfect color too, since I didn't want a bronze mirror (bronze overload!) or white (fear it might clash with the wallpaper) but something different :)




HELLO :) Anyone else notice my 'pinky flick' when I use my camera?! Haha...trying to break that habit asap!




Then I was at Target 2 weeks after I bought the mirror and found matching picture frames in a clearance aisle for $5 each!! Enter "SHRIEK" "gush" in looooove......

I put some wall decals in the frame for some easy and quick wall art! Then again, my party was in 1 day and I needed wall art, PRONTO  :)




Another view of the vanity:





My bronze pillar candle holders fit in perfectly! An awesome find at Goodwill 2 years ago! They were $1.99 each and had a Pottery Barn sticker still on the bottom.


 


I painted the beadboard wallpaper the same white as the rest of the trim in our house to keep the bathroom very neutral and calm (after all...our tub is still pink!!). But around the doorway, I used a light beige so that our 'mock' trim would still stand out :) See?! No?! Well amuse me anyway!....




The pink doesn't bother me as much now that everything else is white/beige. I bought a white waffle-weave shower curtain. I also replaced the doorknob. We're slowly converting all the old gold doorknobs in our house to bronze.




Gotta have a new toilet pic!  Ack...ignore the missing baseboards!!




This is the closet in our bathroom.  I repainted the door white to clean it up and match the rest of the white in the house and replaced the doorknob. See the beige wall and white trim again? No?!  I thought it would be too much wallpaper to go around these nooks and crannies and since our 'trim' is not actually trim, but just a curved-in-wall, how would that work with wallpaper?? Where would it end?! Who knows. Painting was the better alternative!
 


And the cost breakdown:
Drywall Patches, Misc. Patching Accessories = $15
Wallpaper, Primer, Paint, Painter's Tarp = $80
New Wallpaper Steamer (after electrocuting the 1st one...oops!) = $80
Mirror = $40
2 Sconces = $30
Accessories (tp holder, towel holder, etc.) = $50
New Doorknobs = $40 ($20 each)
New toilet + labor = $135
Labor for unclogging sink = $120
Total: $590

For an almost purely cosmetic fix-up, I think that total was higher than I was planning. I was hoping to come in near $300, but with those few calls to plumbers, the quote really skyrockets. Lesson learned. But the use Ross & I are getting out the bathroom now, and thoroughly enjoying, is priceless! Especially since I got this done in my 10-day timeline just in time for our party :)

~Kristin

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Welcome

Why hello there! Thanks for following :) I promise to not change my email in the next 20 years so that I never have to start all over again. And thanks to blogger for making this the most complicated time-consuming process of my ever-precious time :)

Anywho...happy to be back and to be able to blog without all the complications of signing in and out of my old email.

Thanks for following :)