February 20, 2017

Moving Checklist

Things don't always go according to plan.  You may remember reading my moving post.  Two days after I published that post, we had our home inspection which revealed asbestos, galvanized plumbing, an original 150 amp electrical panel and mold.  Those were just the big ticket items.  In the end, we decided to walk away for two reasons: 1) we didn't want to be in over our heads in repairs right off the bat and 2) it wasn't going to be our forever home.

Here we are six weeks later in the same position- our 6th offer was accepted on a home 10 days ago and the home inspection is in two days.  We're hopeful this one will pass inspection since the current owners have kept it immaculate (and it still has the charm I was after, including glass door knobs!)  The one downside is the sellers have requested a 60 day close (opposed to our 30 day ones previously) which would put our move in date around Easter weekend.  In the meantime, I'm staying with Mike's parents until we officially close.

I wanted to share my moving checklist that has gotten me through the years, from apartment to apartment in Richmond, our move to NJ, and now to NY.

Address Change Checklist - the file is saved as a Word document so you can edit it to fit your needs.

I hope you're having a great President's Day.  It has been sunny and in the 50s all weekend here in Albany.  The snow is finally starting to melt and I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of spring!

February 1, 2017

24 Hours in Philadelphia

It's hard to believe today is February 1st.  This year is already flying by!  Back in September, I ran the Rock n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon with my cousin Kelsey, and realized I never shared my 24 hours in Philly.  Nicknamed The City of Brotherly Love, I figured this would be an appropriate post during the month of February.

LOVE Sculpture

City Hall

After visiting the iconic LOVE sculpture, we admired City Hall as we made our way east toward the Liberty Bell.  The Liberty Bell Center is free to visit and is open daily from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

The garden behind the Liberty Bell Center

If you're looking at the Liberty Bell, directly behind it, you'll see the garden and Independence Hall.  Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and approved on July 4, 1776 and read aloud right there in Independence Square!  It is also where the US Constitution was debated, drafted and signed.  The US Constitution was completed on September 17, 1787 [source]. Admission to Independence Hall is also free but you will need a free timed entry ticket to tour.

Independence Hall

The next morning was race day.  We had to be at the starting line at 7:30 AM, so it was a 5:00 wake up call, oatmeal in the hotel and an Uber to the starting line.

It was a very humid morning, which resulted in a poor race for me. [I don't run well in any heat or humidity.  33°F - 50°F is my body's optimum running range.]  70°F, overcast and 84% humidity to be exact.  It surely wasn't my best time, but I did finish and was thankful for that.  Final time: 2:09:41

Post-race in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the iconic scene from the movie Rocky!

Around mile 2 when we were still running together :)

One of the must-dos on our trip was to enjoy a famous Philly Cheesesteak.  We decided that it would be best enjoyed after the race, so we ventured to Sonny's Famous Cheesesteaks - a recommendation from a friend who works in Philly because it is "just as good as Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks but less touristy."  And he was right!

We ordered the chicken cheesesteak because I had been having gallbladder attacks [off and on since 2013 but had no idea what it was until this past summer.  Apparently I have a very high pain tolerance!] which I had removed this past December.
Next time I can get the full experience with steak!

Have you visited Philadelphia?  What was your favorite experience?  I'd love to hear!


January 15, 2017

Sautéed Shredded Brussel Sprouts from Barefoot Contessa Cooking for Jeffrey

This weekend was spent taking everything off of the walls and packing boxes that I don't want the movers to pack and move.  We have to be out of the apartment on Tuesday, so it was also 'fridge clean out weekend and getting clever with meals!

DIY Card Holder  |  Boxwood Wreath  |  Ribbon (Michael's)  |  Oversized Clock (Magnolia Market)

While clearing the shelves in my bookcase, I pulled Cooking for Jeffrey off and began thumbing through all of the recipes I had flagged previously.  I came across Sautéed Shredded Brussel Sprouts (page 160) and knew this recipe was how I was going to use up the brussel sprouts in the refrigerator. It was very simple and fast to prepare.  Believe it or not, I don't own a food processor, so I roughly chopped the brussel sprouts.

I accompanied the brussel sprouts with a roasted sweet potato.  A quick and healthy vegetarian lunch for the win!
Ok, now back to packing...

January 7, 2017

We're Moving!

At the beginning of September, Mike's job temporarily transferred him from north Jersey to Albany.  We were back to being long distance again- indefinitely.  [For my new readers, we had been dating in Richmond for five months when he took a new position with his company and was training in Atlanta, Albany and NJ over the course of eight months before we moved to NJ in April 2015.]  With Mike living 2.5 hours north, life got crazy, as you probably noticed with my lack of posts.  Weekends this past fall were spent marathon training, trips to the Albany area house hunting, visiting Mike's parents (further west of Albany), and a quick trip home to Richmond for my nephew's birth (oh and a half marathon 6 days after the NYC marathon!)  And if that wasn't enough, I took on a seasonal position with Williams Sonoma so my weeknights wouldn't be spent home alone in a town where we only know two people.

After four months, it is no longer temporary.  He accepted the relocation offer in November and we're under contract on our first house!  House hunting was a lot more stressful than either of us expected.  Right away, we found the perfect little home for us- a cape style with a stone fireplace and great architectural details.  It offered so much potential (cue our inner Chip and Joanna.)  We viewed it with our realtor, made an offer and got outbid.  That hit hard as I had already moved in in my head- removing a few walls, gutting the bathroom and had a gorgeous renovation plan for the kitchen.

Four offers (and 2 months) later, we now will have a place to make our home if all goes well.  Comparing this house to the ones we didn't get, it was worth the wait and heartbreak.  The floor plan, property and backyard are our favorites, but we did compromise on location- it's further from Mike's job.  Once we close, I will share pictures :)

I can't wait to document our renovation journey.  I will absolutely be writing a home renovation series and sharing before and afters!  We're eager to begin the updates and can't wait to see the end results.

We have to be out of our apartment next week and will be in limbo for 3 weeks until we can move into the house.  New Jersey will always have a special place in my heart.  This is where Mike and I shared our first home (pictures below); where we were a 40 minute train ride into NYC; where we ran our first race together; where I trained for the NYC Marathon and met new runner friends; where I advanced my career (which thankfully I will be able to keep after we move); and where we made memories with family and friends who visited.

Cranford, NJ with our apartment complex in the background.

Moving in day, April 7, 2015 after a 5 hour drive from Richmond, VA

The day our couches arrived! (PB Comfort Roll Arm)

Spring 2015

Our bedroom set up on move in day.  I didn't do any decorating in here but we did eventually get nightstands.

I plan to do the same subway tile shower surround in our new bathrooms but without the mosaic tiles.

I'll close with some fun little things I noted during our time in New Jersey :)

What you need to know about New Jersey, from a Southerner's perspective:
  • Delis - The BEST sandwiches I've had here are the ones from the delis.  Good old NJ/NY deli sandwiches.
  • Pizza - You're committing a sin if you order from a chain pizza place.
  • Traffic - Merging is a nightmare, blinkers are optional, and the speed limit may as well not even exist.
  • There are diners in every town and they are AMAZING.
  • Tolls. You better have an EZ-Pass!
  • Paying to go on the beach. Seriously. But I have to say, NJ has some of the cleanest beaches I've been to.
  • Pork Roll vs. Taylor Ham

October 23, 2016

Halloween Home Tour

Welcome to my Halloween Home Tour!  To me, Halloween is about the crisp air, creative costumes, pumpkin carving, trick or treaters, and a big bowl of candy.  Nothing scary over here.  So grab some cider, a throw and get comfy as I take you around my home.

Pumpkin beer! My other favorite is Saranac Pumpkin Ale.

I love the make-your-own 6 packs from Total Wine... though there are only 4 pictured here ; )  The Jack O'Lantern tea towel is old (you may remember it from here and here) and the antler bottle opener was a gift from my brother.

Baking corner, with my copper cookie cutters on display.

A close up of my fall cutters.

Coffee corner

I really do enjoy a traditional coffee maker.  Something about brewing a fresh pot of coffee first thing in the morning and listening to it fill up the coffee pot...  Maybe it's nostalgia of family gatherings or maybe it's just a soothing smell right when you wake up.  Whatever it may be, it's certainly wonderful.  

I purchased these Brown and White Transferware Planters (set of 2) back in September.  They're so festive for the fall months.  I haven't decided what greenery to put in them yet, so for now I have my Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Spice candle, which smells fantastic.  In fact, I have it burning right now : )

The Trick or Treat Mugs are a Homegoods purchase from last year, but I've seen them again this year.  I get so many complements on my candy corn mugs.  I think they were purchased either in college or right after from Kohl's.  They're definitely my favorite!

Fall = baking

One of my roommates after college introduced me to the Murihead Pecan Pumpkin Butter from Williams-Sonoma.  She would bake the best pumpkin bars with them and ever since then, I have to buy a couple each fall.  Also, I recently made the switch from Trader Joe's vanilla extract to Nielsen-Massey.  The flavor difference is unbelievable.  It's pricier ($12.95 for 4 oz.) but honestly worth it, in my opinion, to have a richer tasting treat.

Pottery Barn introduced these watercolor pumpkin plates last year.  I thought they were beautiful but never got around to ordering them and then they sold out.  Luckily they brought them back this season and I was able to purchase a set in August before they sold out again.  They feature 4 timeless pumpkin watercolors and I look forward to using them year after year.

Candy Corn Mugs (old, Kohl's)
Trick or Treat Mugs (Homegoods)
Mr. Coffee Coffee Maker
Glass Canisters
Copper Cookie Cutters (began collecting this past year; various sources)
Crate and Barrel Bamboo Recipe Box (discontinued but similar here)
Black and White Cachepot
Antler Bottle Opener (gift)
Crate and Barrel Hot Dog Basket (out of stock)
Jack O'Lantern Tea Towel (old, Pier1)
Our Daily Bread Tray (hand me down from my mom)
Brown and White Transferware Planters
Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Spice Candle
Williams-Sonoma Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Quick Bread Mix
Williams-Sonoma Pecan Pumpkin Butter
Williams-Sonoma Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen Spatula (out of stock)
Pottery Barn Watercolor Painted Pumpkin Plates (out of stock)

Welcome to the living room!  This fall, I chose grays and creams.  I do have two orange lumbar pillows but wanted to keep the colors muted this year.  I'm sure I'll put them out again next year since I tend to change it up from year to year.  The gray garden stool is from Homegoods, which I've had since we moved to New Jersey a year and a half ago (already?!)

The couches were also new upon moving in.  We purchased them at Pottery Barn in Richmond back in January 2015 during their annual furniture sale.  They were 20% off + we got an extra 15% off with their moving discount.  Since they were custom, they took 8 weeks to make, so we had them shipped to New Jersey and held at the warehouse until we officially moved in at the beginning of April 2015. They're the Pottery Barn PB Comfort Roll collection and we've been very happy with them.  Furniture is something I only plan to buy once in my lifetime, so I prefer to pay for quality pieces that will last.

The rug is from Target and I can't wait to replace it (ha!) but am keeping for now until our next move.  I still love gray but want something less modern/more classic and Persian or Oriental in style.
These are some that I've had my eye on: Nolan Persian Style Rug | Florenteen Gray/Ivory Rug | Catherine Rug.

As you probably know by now, I love plaid (so much tartan in my Christmas Tour last year).  I picked up 4 of these Colin Plaid pillows from Pottery Barn in August + the Ronan Plaid Throw (like I really need another throw...) but waited patiently to put them out until after Labor Day.  I also got 2 of these Chunky Chenille Pillows after seeing Desiree of Beautifully Seaside's Fall Home Tour, which adds softness and warmth to the room.

Living Room
Pottery Barn PB Comfort Roll Arm Slipcovered Sofa and Loveseat
Coffee Table (DIY; post coming soon!)
Pottery Barn Ronan Fall Throw
Pottery Barn Colin Plaid Pillow Cover (out of stock)
Pottery Barn Freshness Assured Feather Pillow Insert
Target Chenille Throw Pillow
Target Plaid Candle
Faux Alligator Black Tray (old, Pier1)

If you're looking for some Halloween recipes, my Monster Bars are the perfect treat.  You can find the recipe here.

Williams-Sonoma Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Bars, which I made over the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to head over to Seams and Sprinkles to see Britney's Halloween decor.  Hopefully next fall I will have some sort of outdoor space and can share a fall front porch with you ; )