Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday.  As always it is gooood to see the weekend!

1.  Roasted Plantain Chips.  I feel like I am a bit behind on trying these, but in case you are like me and have yet to, I am here to tell you not to waste any more time, and run to the nearest Trader Joe's for a bag or two.  I really love chips, but need a healthier alternative to my beloved Jalapeno Chips.  These are it!  There are 20 chips to a serving (I think for 140 calories), which I feel is a really good amount, and they pair perfectly with guacamole or salsa.  And, last night, I topped some of the chips with salsa chicken for nachos, and it was really good!

2.  I have been trying not to shop for things non home related, but I was staring at my closet one Friday morning and just felt like I had nothing to wear.  We have casual Fridays at work, which is great, but I feel like my wardrobe isn't necessarily great for that.  While I could wear a lot of the tops I wear during the week, I want to switch it up a little bit, but a plain tshirt isn't necessarily going to cut it.  I saw this Madewell shirt on a blog (I forget which one) and fell in love.  I love the colors, the fit - just everything.  It was on sale on the Madewell website, so I decided just to go for it.  It says on the website to size down, so I grabbed both a XS and a S.  I really couldn't tell a difference, other than the S was longer, so I decided to keep that one.  

3.  So this really isn't a favorite, but there is a silver lining, so I am going to consider that part a 'favorite'.  I found out this week I need to get my electrical panel replaced.  I had the electrician over to hang a few light fixtures, change out some outlets and then my dad had the idea to have him look at the panel, just to ensure everything was a ok.  Well, I get a call from Joe (electrician), telling me that there is an issue.  He thought I needed to get it looked at by someone who replaces panels in case that needed to happen.  Luckily, in my house contract, my realtor added in a home warranty paid by the seller for a year.  I looked into that, and it seems to be covered, so I had someone come out and take a look.  They did say I need a full replacement, but (hopefully) it will be covered by the home warranty.  Most important, though, is that everything will be new and safe and updated.  Had my dad not thought to have the electrician look at it, then this could have developed into a bigger problem and caused some real damage.  Now I know it needs to be done, and can get that taken care of.  And even if it's not covered by the home warranty, safety is key, so I will just have to suck it up.  I took one night to mope about it, haha, but I am trying to focus on the positive! 

4.  The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale catalog has come out!  I feel like the catalogs never are my favorite.  I find one or two things I like (like this green sweater), but that's it.  The real excitement around it is the fact that it means the sale is almot here!  I can't go too crazy this year, but I do have a few things I would like to stock up on while they are on sale.  

5.  I made it to the library two times this week.  Lots of books I had on hold came in and I am so excited to dig in to them.  I seriously don't know what I would do without the online requests!  That's pretty much the way I get all my books anymore.  Right now, I am reading The French Girl.  I haven't gotten into it too much, but so far so good!
         
Linking up with AndreaErika, AndreaApril, and Katie.

Recipe Round Up: June 2018

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I was planning on sharing my before / afters of the landscaping today, but I realized that when I took the 'after' pictures, I didn't take the same pictures as the before.  So I just feel like it isn't a real great comparison so I need to redo those pictures.  And there just hasn't been a good time to get those pictures.  Instead, I am sharing a few new recipes I made this month.


Chili Lime Salmon with Cauliflower Rice from Lindsay Kingdon.  Lindsay is one of my favorite follows on instagram.  She often shares what she is cooking and it all looks SO GOOD.  And is usually healthy.  She also has a blog, seven layer charlotte, which has a ton of good stuff on there, but sometimes instead of a whole blog posts, she shares recipes in her instagram comments, which is where I found this one.  I had salmon that needed to be cooked, and honestly, that is not a fish that I normally cook very well.  I don't know what it is, but whenever I cook salmon, it just doesn't seem quite as good as when others.  This recipe also uses cauliflower rice, which honestly isn't my favorite, but I know it's a great alternative to regular rice.  Lindsay adds spices to hers and it makes a world of difference!  This was super yummy and pretty darn easy, too!


BLT Pasta from True Roots.  I finally made a recipe from Kristin Cavallari's cookbook!  It's only been sitting there for months, haha.  My original thought was I would make Mix and Match Mama's BLT pasta recipe, but I didn't have all the ingredients, and I remembered that Kristin has a recipe, too.  I did modify it a little, and left out the chicken, only because I didn't have any cooked on hand and I didn't want to take the time to cook some.  I also used turkey bacon, since that is what I had on hand.  I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend making.  I used mine as the main meal, but I think it would be really good with anything grilled as a side. 

I am really excited to get back to cooking - with being so busy for awhile, I kind of got away from it and just did super simple things, and ate out some.  But I love being in the kitchen, and am looking forward to flipping through my cookbooks and cooking new recipes in my new kitchen!

What's Up Wednesday: June 2018






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For once it seems like this post isn't right on top of last month's post.  Usually the times goes fast, but this month was a full one and it seemed to actually slow down some!

What I'm eating this week...

Monday: BLT Pasta from True Roots
Tuesday:  Caprese Salad 
Wednesday:  Taco Salad
Thursday:  Taco Salad
Friday:  Veggie Pizza

What I'm reminiscing about...nothing really!  Fully living in the present right now!

What I'm loving...a break from the busyness at work.  Once I got back from Vegas, it felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted in regards to work.  Having the two work trips behind me, and all that came with them, just made me feel like I could finally exhale.  When I leave work, it feels like I have allll this time to get things done.  And while I was working late sometimes, I think just not being so mentally tired makes me feel like the evenings can actually be productive and don't feel like they are over in a snap!  It's just been really nice. 

What I've been up to...all things condo!  Really, this month was a big one for me.  I headed east to New York for work, then two days later, I was out west in Vegas for work.  I got home, enjoyed the weekend, and then it was CLOSING TIME!  I closed on my condo, and jumped right in, cleaning and moving a few things over.  My parents came down this past weekend and were the best help.  We got so much done!  In light of officially owning my condo, I shared some of my favorite things about it, and my thoughts on the entire home buying process.  


 New York

 Heading to Vegas

Vegas! 

Intercom System...which I LOVE! 

My backyard, all spiffed up!

What I'm dreading...buying appliances.  I feel so out of my league when it comes to big appliances, and while I can't wait to get a refrigerator and washer and dryer in the condo, I kind of wish someone would just pick something and tell me what to buy, haha.  

What I'm working on...my condo!  Things are moving along pretty smoothly.  As I mentioned, my parents came down this past weekend and we made HUGE headway.  We tackled the backyard, and while there is still work to be done in once section, we made a ton of progress, and it looks soooo much better now.  We also did some deep cleaning, my dad patched up holes and much, much more...it's really coming together.  I got the majority of the condo painted on Monday, and holy cow, what a difference.  I still need to do the bedrooms and their respective bathrooms, but I wanted a little more time to figure out what I am actually going to do with those before I pick colors.  The electrician has been over and taken care of a few things for me.  I get carpets cleaned this weekend, and I just know that will be the icing on the cake to really refresh the place.  


What I'm excited about...my condo!  Sorry, this is what I am going to be talking about non stop for the next bit.  I just love it.  While it still doesn't necessarily feel 'real', it's been so fun working on it.  Another thing I am excited about is my family's annual trip to Michigan.  It's always a blast and I can't wait to see everyone...and enjoy the beach!

What I'm watching...Shooter came back on last week, and it's one of my favorite shows, so I am super excited about that.  I also have been catching up on Teen Mom 2, Housewives and the million Pioneer Woman episodes I have recorded.  


What I'm reading...I am still making my way through Bobby - a book about Bobby Kennedy.  As I mentioned last month, I really got sucked into the Kennedy series, and then the 1968 show.  The book is taking me awhile, just because I find books like this a little more difficult to read.  Like I really have to pay attention and sometimes reread things.  Really good, though!


What I'm listening to...my intercom, haha!  Seriously, when I am over at the condo, it is on the whole time.  I usually stick to country, but the painters seemed like they changed the station to a little more soft rock, which is just fine with me.  

What I'm wearing...I think I have worn this racer back dress every week since I bought it.  I just love it, and while I had it in more colors.  It's effortless and very comfortable.



What I'm doing this weekend...Carpets are getting cleaned, and then I will be back and forth between the apartment and the condo moving things.  And hopefully getting a little pool time in there, too.  My mom is actually going to be back down on Sunday for a few days, assuming plans don't change, so I am sure we will get more yard work done, and lots more moved between our two vehicles.  

What I'm looking forward to next month...Michigan vacation, and finally being moved in...and all that comes with it (aka decorating).


Linking up with ShayLindsayJenn and Jessi.

My Home Buying Experience - From Pre Approved to Closing


Today I am sharing my take on the whole home buying process.  From finding a realtor and getting pre approved, to closing.  This was a whole new ballgame for me and I relied heavily on friends and family for advice to get me through it!

Pre Approval
In my mind, I always had a specific number I wanted saved before I would start looking for a home.  I finally hit that number this spring, and pretty much right after, I started thinking about buying a place.  I knew how much I had, and using the idea of putting 20% down, I had a rough idea of what I could afford...at least in my mind.  I had mentioned to a friend earlier in the year that I was hoping to look this spring/summer.  He said when I was ready, to let him know, and he would give him his mortgage guy's info.  I did, reached out, and got to work submitting my application.  The thing I found the most helpful was working backwards.  Yes, you might be pre approved for X amount, but realistically you want your monthly payment to be less than what that would amount to.  Finding a place, and then checking in with the mortgage company to see what the actual payment would be was super helpful for me, and gave me an idea of what was realistic, and what was not.

Finding a Realtor
I have mentioned a few times that my sister in law is a realtor.  She has a referral department in her agency, so they were able to refer me to a realtor in my area, specific to my needs.  I shared with my sister in law what I was looking for, she shot that information off to her department, and shortly thereafter, I was contacted by my realtor.  I will say I was a bit nervous about this, because I was worried that I might not click with my realtor and then I would disappoint my sister in law because I wasn't using who came recommended.  Luckily, there was no need to worry, because we got along great!  My realtor turned out to be a wealth of information.  She was a great source of information for all things house - painter, carpet cleaner, electrician...her and her real estate partner even recommended a paint color that is going all over the place in my condo.  So very helpful!

House Hunting
Once I was pre approved, I got in contact with my realtor and shared with her my budget, where I wanted to look and all the other criteria.  She set up a search listing for me, and I immediately got emails with potential homes.  We started looking right away.  The first time I went to see a house, I had a friend go with me.  I suggest that if you can, because it made me feel more comfortable to have that moral support.  From there I was good to go to open houses and then showings by myself, but having someone with me that first go really helped, I think.  One of my non-negotiables was location.  I was pretty particular about that, and it was kind of the thing that drove me from buying a single family home (what I originally had in mind) to a condo.  The area I was looking wasn't cheap, and what I could afford home-wise would need some work.  Which I was aware of going in, but pickings were slim and those that were available required too much 'behind the scenes' work for me.

The whole time I was set on a 3 bedroom place - master, guest and office, but what I ended up with was 2 bedroom.  However, it has this great little nook area upstairs which would work as an office area, and an unfinished basement which is perfect for storage.  So my advice is to be open.  Had I been so set on the 3 bedroom, I wouldn't have even gone to see this one, and I probably would have settled from something I wasn't necessarily in love with, or I would still be looking.

Under Contract
My realtor provided me with comps, as well as a suggested starting price for my offer.  Looking at everything, I went with her suggestion, and we went back and forth, until we were able to come to an agreement.  I'd say this was my least favorite part of the whole thing, being under contract.  It's just a waiting game!  The highlight was the inspection, because you are able to get in the place again.  I went armed with paint chips, my parents, a tape measure, and even had the painter meet us over there for a quote.  That was really nice.  Other than that, it was me just trying to make sure everything was going smoothly and I was doing all I needed to on my part to make sure closing was a go.  I ended up going with the mortgage lender my realtor suggested, rather than my friend, because I felt that they explained things a little more to my liking.  However, during some of the process, I felt like I wasn't kept well informed, or thought certain things were being done when they weren't.  That was a little stressful for me, because I was trying to be super organized about it and NOT procrastinate (which I can do), and even with all that effort, it still seemed like things were kind of iffy at times.  Luckily that period didn't last too long, and thanks to a few work trips the time passed quickly to closing.

Walk Through
I honestly didn't realize we would be doing a walk through before I closed, so this was a wonderful surprise.  I was so excited to see the place again!  My realtor and I went through and made sure it was in the same condition as when we went under contract.  I ran water (hot and cold), flushed the toilets, flicked the lights on and off, checked the basement to make sure it was still dry, etc.  It was just so nice seeing it all again!  

Closing
The week before closing, I got my final figures from my mortgage company.  I headed to the bank and got a cashiers check.  I did this about half a week prior to my actual closing, because I wanted to allow myself time in case something came up.  I had never gotten a cashiers check before, but it was super easy.  It did cost me $5, which obviously is a small amount compared to what you put down on a house, but just something I didn't know beforehand, so thought I would share.  For my actual closing, I went to my realtor's office and took care of it there.  As I mentioned yesterday, it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Everyone says how you are signing your life away, and there are SO MANY PAPERS, which there are a lot, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected.  It was relatively fast and painless!  Part of me worries that maybe I should have been more overwhelmed than I was, but I am going to chose to believe that means it was meant to be, haha!

Overall the process was really quick for me - only a few months from start to finish.  If you are in the market and not sure what to do, my advice is to find a realtor that you like, and a mortgage lender that is realistic.  And if you need help finding a realtor, let me know and I can give you my sister in law's info.  Her referral department was really great, and I know she has used it multiple times for other friends and family.  Or if you are local to the St. Louis area, let me know, too, and I can get you my realtor's information!  

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!  I sure wish there were an extra day to the weekend, haha.  But don't we always?

This past Friday, I took a half day and my parents came down to help me with my condo.  Work actually went really quick in the morning, which is always nice (usually on short days it seems like those few hours go on and on and on and on).  We met at my apartment, ate lunch, then headed on over to my condo to get started.  The weather was kind of crappy on Friday - rain on and off throughout the day.  They helped me with some cleaning, and during a few of the dry spells, my mom got out and started on the landscaping, and my dad powerwashed the deck.  Cabinets were cleaned, rooms were vacuumed, and we start to remove things in preparation for painting.  My mom had the great idea to use newspaper to map out lengths of kitchen islands I was considering.  We did that, decided on one, asked my dad what he thought, and he picked the opposite one.  My mom had another great idea and 'built' up the newspaper island, by using bins and different things had so it close to the actual size.  That definitely helped make the decision and we ended up deciding on the one my dad said yes to right away!  We also used that same method for figuring out a light fixture for the entry.  Such clever ideas!  We headed back to my apartment for dinner, ran errands (I got a new light fixture!) and then went back over at the condo.  The evening project was cutting down poster board and covering it with contact paper to fit in my kitchen cabinets and drawers.  It looks so good!  And I put my first thing officially away in its spot - candles!




  
The plan was to do a Lowe's and Ikea trip in the morning, so we grabbed breakfast and got ready.  First up with Lowe's.  My dad and I got some wood needed to do board and batten, and then we met my mom in the flower section.  We picked up some things for my front porch, and my deck.  In the past, I have always done my flower pots early in the seasons, so some pickings were a little slim this time around.  And having more than just two was a little overwhelming for me, haha.  So glad my mom was there for direction and help.  After dropping off our goods, we headed to IKEA.  Probably the quickest trip I have ever made to IKEA.  We were on a mission, so there was no real looking at all the different rooms set up, but more just finding what we needed and leaving.  Once we got back to the condo, we unloaded, changed and got to work.  My mom and I worked outside, while my dad did some stuff inside.  Then we were all outside - literally out there for like 5 hours, I think.  The difference is amazing, although there is still some work to be done.  (I am going to do a separate post sharing all those pictures, because I feel like it kind of is a lot!)  Also, we realized since my backyard is really shady, the bugs LOVE it.  We were all bit up, so if anyone has any good recommendations of ways to repell bugs, please send them my way!  After we were close to the end, my dad and I ran some errands while my mom finished up.  We ordered pizza, had a little picnic in the empty living room, then got back to it.  My mom and I went through some of my decor bins and sorted things out.  They were all stuffed full, so I grabbed some new ones prior to the weekend and we used all three of them!  Curtains were hung, and then we successfully put together the kitchen island we got from IKEA earlier in the day.  It's SO cute!



We cleaned things up yesterday morning, then my parents headed out.  I plopped myself on the couch and watched oodles of TV, only getting up for a quick pick up, laundry and food!  I was super excited because Shooter came back on this week, and I also caught up on Jersey Shore and Teen Mom 2.  It's a bit ridiculous how vested I am in these shows, haha!  It was a really relaxing day.  

I just have to brag on my parents a bit.  They are truly the best.  They do so much for both my brother and his family and me.  They are always willing to help and do whatever it takes to be there for us and make it work.  My mom is like the Energizer Bunny when it comes to how much energy she has - she just keeps going and going and going, and my dad is so handy and always makes sure that things are done the right way.  The yard work was pretty daunting this weekend, and had me feeling a bit overwhelmed.  But together we were able to make a huge dent in things, and get a bunch of other stuff taken care of, too.  Just very thankful for them.  Even more so than usual.  

Hope everyone has a great Monday.  Today is the first day of painting - I cannot wait to see how it turns out!

Linking up with Biana and Lindsay.

      

Friday Favorites: I'm A Homeowner!

This week a big one for me, because...I'm a homeowner!  I have mentioned this in almost every post this week, so I apologize for the redundancy, but it is pretty darn exciting and hard to stop saying!  I closed on my condo on Monday, and have been doing a little bit each day.  My parents are coming this weekend and we have so much planned.  The main goal is to get the backyard area in good shape.  It needs to be cleaned up, and then from there we can see what we are working with.  My mom is really good with landscaping / gardening, so I am pretty much just going with whatever she suggests.  And my dad, of course, is great manual labor.  We are going to also power wash the deck and seal it, if the weather cooperates.  At the very least we should get to power wash it, which I know will make a world of difference.  I have painters coming the following week, so we are going to make sure everything is ready for them inside.  I also saved some of the cleaning for my mom to help me with.  And, we have a trip to Ikea planned.  And that isn't all.  Like I said...it's a lot!  Here's to hoping we get it all done!

I thought it would be fun for today's favorites to have a theme - my favorite things about my condo.  You will have to excuse these photos, because these are pre painting and pre carpet cleaning.  And just pre-anything I plan to do to this place...which is a lot cosmetically.  The condo isn't new (it's a few years older than me!), but I think it has oodles of potential.

1.  There is a front porch.  
Growing up, my mom always had little vignets on our front porch, and I am so excited to do something for my own home.  I am thinking a cute little bench, some flowers, and layered doormats.  I feel like that is a 'thing' lately to layer a smaller doormat over top a larger one, and I really love the look of it.  Just makes it look much more substantial.  And, one of the things I am super excited about?  Adding a wreath to my front door.  I just feel like that instantly makes it look homey and welcoming.

2.  The entryway is another favorite.  
I love that it is 2 stories - makes it seem so much bigger, and adds so much light.  And I love all the railing along the stairs and hallway.  When I shared this with Sarah, one of the first things she said was something along the lines of it being perfect for Christmas garland.  She was speaking my language, haha!

3.  Throughout the living / dining area, and the upstairs hallway, there is this gorgeous crown moulding.  One of those little details that instantly elevates a room.

4.  My parents' house has a window over the sink, which is something I have always loved.  None of the places I have lived in since college have had one, and I am so excited because the condo does!  Maybe this will get me to enjoy washing dishes, haha!

5.  The laundry closet has cabinets for storage, which I am super excited about.  Other than laundry items, I plan on storing my candles here.  I am not sure what else will go in there yet, but I just like the idea of having storage that is contained, as opposed to shelves. 

6.  The downstairs coat closet is a really good size.  
I am still not sure how I will make the most use of it, because the door swings in, which takes up a bit of the room, but I know I will figure out how to make it work and make the most of the storage.  

7.  While the basement is unfinished, it is a great size and perfect for storage.  
I have a ton of stuff, and I can't wait to have somewhere to keep it all that isn't in my closet, or taking up room at my parents.  I think they are pretty excited about the basement, as well. 

8.  I originally wanted a 3 bedroom, because I was looking for a master bedroom, guest bedroom, and then another room that could be used for an office.  I'd love to have a place to sit down and blog, and for those rare times I work from home, I think it would be helpful to have a dedicated space.  My condo is 2 bedrooms, but it has this great nook upstairs that I plan on using for an office area.  It would also be adorable as a reading nook, but I think a desk would be more practical and functional than a comfy chair.

9.  The master bedroom has vaulted ceilings, which makes it feel so big!  
I love how it has the beam in the middle, and down the road I would love to cover it in wood to add some warmth.  I think I mentioned before how my bedroom at my apartment never seemed finished.  It was cute enough, but it wasn't as done as the other rooms in my apartment.  I really want to focus on making the master bedroom a place I love to be.  

10.  This one is pretty funny, and I am sure my mom is just rolling her eyes reading this, but my condo has an intercom.  And I LOVE it, haha!  
It's way old, and kind of silly, because the place is not that big to need an intercom system.  But, what is really nice, is that it has a radio.  And I tell you what, I have made good use of that radio when I have been there cleaning.  Truthfully, this will probably be going away soon, but I am really contemplating keeping the kitchen system and trying to find a new face place so that I can keep the radio.  Or maybe I can get my dad to frame it out somehow and then add some mesh wiring or something to the front, so I can hide it, but then flip up and use when I want to have music playing.  Who knows, but it really is one of my favorite things.

I feel like I could keep going on and on, but I am going to cut it off at 10.

See you all on Monday for a weekend recap...hopefully I will have some before AND after pictures of the backyard to share with you all!

Linking up with AndreaErikaApril, and Katie.        


Girl Chat: Favorite Hair Products

Happy 3rd Thursday of the month!  Today's edition of Girl Chat is all about hair products.

If you want to catch up on what else we have been chatting about, you can see the posts below.

Back to today's topic - hair.  Hair is not necessarily my thing.  I feel like some girls just have talent with doing hair, and I am not one of those.  That being said, I do have a few specific products that I do love and that do work for me. 


This post contains affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you. 
Shampoo & Conditioner
I have used this shampoo and conditioner for awhile now, and really like it.  I actually bought a new one to try, because I have heard it's good to switch it up sometimes, but ended up going back because it did not compare.

Wet Brush
I actually read about this brush on a blog.  I picked one up the next time I was at Target and have been using one ever since!  They are great, and even have a smaller size, too!

Blow Dryer
I was on the hunt for a blow dryer last fall, and ended up getting this Rusk one on Black Friday.  I will be honest - I was lusting after the Drybar blow dryer set forever, but I just could not justify the price.  And I heard so many good things about the T3 from other bloggers, but then I started reading reviews and some of them were not so great.  If I was going to spend that kind of money, I wanted it to last.  So, I went with my mom's recommendation.  We both really like ours, and I feel like it has good 'power,' if that makes sense.  And the price is a lot better, too!

Lifting Foam
I feel like I look so much better when I have some volume in my hair, and this product is super good to use when blow drying your hair.  I have used a few different products, but I like this one best.  

Straightener
I have been using a Chi straightener for what seems like forever.  Mine is bright pink, which I just love!

Hairspray & Dry Shampoo
I love TRESemme hairspray & dry shampoo.  I feel like both are great buys.  They work well for me and you really can't beat the price!

Any recommendations for some extra, extra volume, or how to fight humidity - please send them my way!

Now for the link up!

To link up - just grab our graphic, link up and let's get to chatting!  Make sure to stop by a few others linked up for an extra bit of girl chat! 




And if you aren't already, make sure to follow your hosts via the links below!

Danielle - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter 

Emily - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest 

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Reminder: Girl Chat Link Up Tomorrow!

Hey all!  Just popping in for a quick reminder about the Girl Chat link up tomorrow.  We will be sharing our favorite hair products and would love for you to join!



Closing Time...

I am officially a homeowner!

Yesterday, I closed on my condo.  I am BEYOND excited, although to be honest, it really hasn't hit me yet.  I don't know if it will until I start moving in.  Or look at my bank account.  One of the two!  

Everyone jokes about how you are signing your life away, but I feel like it wasn't that bad.  I guess maybe you go in with these expectations that you will be having a hand cramp mid-signing, but I think it just gets exaggerated, haha!

After closing, I went to Sears to look at appliances and out for a celebratory lunch.  Then, I headed over to see my new home!!

I hauled my cleaning stuff in, and got to work.  I tackled the bathrooms, most of the windows, and the kitchen counters.  I need to go back with a vacuum, and after that, I should have some pictures to share.  I just wanted to get that initial clean done before I start snapping any pictures.  So far my thoughts - if possible, hire a cleaning crew to do a deep clean, haha!  Honestly, I think I was just missing my cleaning partner - my mom.  I was definitely petering out by the end of the afternoon, and she always provides extra motivation and makes that type of cleaning more enjoyable.  But not to worry, because I made sure to save some cleaning for when she visits!

I have a bit of time before I need to be out of my apartment, so I am taking that time to get things done at the condo prior to moving in.

Up first is tackling the backyard area with the help of my parents.  We have ambitious plans for their visit this weekend, and hopefully the weather will cooperate for us!

Next week I have both painting and carpet cleaning scheduled.  I am having my main floor painted, as well as the entry and hallway upstairs.  I couldn't quite decide what color I want to do in the bedrooms / bathrooms so those aren't being done yet.  While it is an added expense to have it done, I know it will be done in a few days, and will expedite things so much.  And the carpet cleaning is a must.  Just having those two things done will make such a difference - I am so excited!  After that, I will be ready to start moving things in!

Before I go, I would be remiss if I didn't say a big thanks so much for your well wishes yesterday - they were so very sweet!

Weekend Recap: Blissfully Relaxing Weekend

Hey all!  Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Mine started off with a little shopping.  I headed to a local antique mall to look for some blue and white plates.  I am planning to do a plate wall in my dining room area, and decided that Friday would be a great time to start looking.  I found quite a few, and ended up getting all five of these for $25...not too bad!  

I checked out Goodwill, too, but they didn't have anything like what I was looking for.  I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing.  Nothing sounded good on my DVR or TV, so I opted to check out the movies on demand.  I saw that Meet Me In St. Louis was one of the free movies, and I had yet to see it.  I figured it was a must living in the St. Louis area.  I have to say, it wasn't necessarily my cup of tea.  I just didn't fully understand the point of it.  But at least now I know.

I was up early on Saturday, picking up and cleaning.  I was terrible when I got back from my last trip and hadn't fully unpacked yet!  I did some laundry and then had to get ready.  I was heading over to the condo for the final walk through!  Everything seemed as it should, thankfully.  I decided to try my luck with finding some more plates and went to check out another antique mall, and Goodwill.  I found a few, but definitely hit more of a jackpot at the first place.  It was the perfect day for the pool, so after I got home, I headed there with a friend.  It was soooo nice.  I was worried it would be too hot, but there was a nice breeze and we ended up hanging out in the water the majority of the time anyways.  It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon!  I decided to try a new recipe for dinner - salmon and cauliflower rice, and was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out.  I painted my nails, and that was about all the excitment my evening held, haha!

I wanted to get a walk in before church (and it was crazy hot), so I was up early again.  I don't know how much of a difference it made, because even at just after 6:00, it was already muggy and humid! 


I got ready for church and managed a quick Trader Joe's run before I ate and headed out.  I was trying my best to not have to get in my hot car that afternoon.  Church was good - it's almost been a year since I started attending, which kind of blows my mind.  In some ways it feels like it hasn't been that long, and in others it seems like it's been longer!  I had a few errands to run, so I made my way to Nordstrom for a return and Pottery Barn for some pillows.  I have plaid pillows from there that I just love, and I wanted to bring out the more blue color it in, rather than the coral / orange I currently have.  I grabbed a few new covers that I think are going to look great.  I can't wait to switch them out and see once I move!  The mall where PB is at, is my absolute favorite.  They have an underground parking garage which is perfect when it's so hot out.  The pool was calling my name, so I made my way there for a little bit.  It definitely wasn't as nice as the day before, and since I am super prone to burning, I didn't stay out very long.  But it still was nice to get out and relax.  And then relax again at home after...I don't think I did anything productive afterwards!

This weekend was much needed after a busy few weeks.  Months, really.  It seems like the first of the year always flies by - even more so as I get older!

Today I am off to my closing!!!!!  I can't believe it is finally here.

And just a quick reminder before I go - Thursday is the Girl Chat link up, where we will be chatting about hair products.  I hope you will join in!  

Linking up with Biana and Lindsay.