Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our Closet's Coming Out Party

Our closet has a dirty little secret that it's been trying to keep locked up inside. It can't keep this to itself anymore, it needs to come clean and everyone will be better for it.

Our closet is ugly, y'all.

Not like Cameron-Diaz-as-Ms.-Hannigan ugly (and, who are they kidding?!). We're talking, first-page-of-Google-search-results-for-the-word-ugly ugly.

I bet Skinny Hitler snapped that selfie cause he felt cute that day.

Take a look for yourself:

Our closet is a good size, slightly above the American average for a walk-in closet. The down side is it just has wire shelving that runs the perimeter, with tons of wasted space above and below. "Ugh, we can't use our 7'x10' closet efficiently..." #firstworldproblems

For me, the worst part is that the part you hang the clothes on is divided every foot or so. You can't shift anything left or right at all! Something so small makes me so angry every single day. #morefirstworldproblems

I've been nagging Pato for a while now, but explaining how much closets cost has been a bit of an obstacle. Not just for Pat; I'm not even sure why I custom closet costs as much as a small kitchen reno. I wanted something that felt nice (not cheap), organized efficiently, and didn't require our firstborn child as a down payment.

I looked at The Container Store, Closet Maid, and any other out-of-box solution I could think of. I had purposefully been avoiding IKEA, because I did not want a closet full of Billy bookcases. Plus the thought of piecing all the components together then assembling it sounds like a nightmare.

But then I broke down and decided to give them a shot.

Much to my surprise, they had some really nice solutions. IKEA's Pax System (what all those beautiful wardrobes are) look more solid and custom than Container Store's Elfa system, but for literally less than half the price. Sure, the nice bits (glass shelves, pull out trays) are all at the higher end, but IKEA's higher end was surprisingly affordable.

What really sold me, was the Pax System Planner, which allows you to build the closet (or wardrobe) of your dreams while it keeps tabs of all the parts. Then, I can either take the itemized list (with self-serve locations for my store) and pick it all up in store, or just purchase it online. It was like playing the Sims and coming out with a closet design. SOLD!

(Also, sorry if this is sounding like an IKEA endorsement, it's not. I'm just really stinking excited.)

I toiled and labored and finally worked out all the kinks. I double and triple checked my measurements. I printed out a pamphlet for Pat so he could make an informed decision.

The next morning, before I even had the chance to discuss it with him, I found this:

It's on like Donkey Kong! Our new closet arrives January 12th!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Just wanted to pop in for a minute to tell everyone MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

And because you've been good this year, I'm leaving a little gift in your stocking: our 2014 Christmas card!

May your day be merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Have Yourself A Rainy Little Christmas

Well friends, tonight is the night. Christmas Eve. So much prep has gone into this moment.

Nope, still not the Christmas card...

This year, my family celebrated Christmas a day early because my brother, the valiant fire fighter, has to work on Christmas Day. (Someone has to be there when you drink too much wine, scorch your ham, and almost burn the house down.) That means I'm living in the aftermath, while everyone else is still waiting.

There's nothing like the mess you make on Christmas Day.

I figure since I have barely talked about The Most Wonderful Time of the Year this year, now is as good a time as any to show you around our festooned home.

Yes, we live here. This is what things look like after a night of five people eating and laughing into the wee hours. No time to clean up stockings or extra giftbags after that chill sesh.

One of my favorite Christmas decorations was the garland on top of the cabinets. Not too gimicky, but it fills the space and add some merriment to an otherwise normal area.

Looking at these messy, late-night, noisy photos, I'm reminded that life isn't about stopping everything to get the perfect picture. It doesn't matter if your IG isn't always beautiful because if you're present in the moment, your memories will be more magical than any picture could capture.

I hope everyone is loving the last bit of the Christmas season.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tree Pickin'

December is a busy time for any retail worker, so it's no wonder I've been playing blog-hooky lately. With any luck, I'll show some Christmas decor before the big day next week.

I've haven't been procrastinating in every way; our tree has been up since just after Thanksgiving. Continuing our little tradition, we packed up Boone and his scarf and took a day trip to...wait for it...Boone!

Choose and Cut is like the No.1 way to get in the Christmas spirit and is practically a religion in western North Carolina. We planned on taking Christmas card pics here, but the sun was really harsh and we ended up with a lot of weird shadows.

This is the best we got, and we're both pretty squinty, Pat looks bald, I look lopsided/chubby, and Boone looks startled. Look out next week for the (awesome) picture that made the Christmas-Card-cut.

And of course, we picked a tree farm with a Dood, since I'm trying to win the "what breed should the next puppy be?" debate. He latched on to Mr. Boone right away.

We also picked out what looked like the smallest tree on the lot. Then we got home where we discovered it is friggin' enormous. We even had to rearrange our living room furniture.

Any-(Cindy-Lou)-hoo, that's a recap of our weekend, three weekends too late. Hope everyone else is getting in the Christmas spirit. Save me a cookie.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Foyer Art Project

Ahhh. I bet you thought I forgot. That's assuming you even remember.

I mentioned over a year ago that I was putting together a small gallery of our house's construction. Since it was basically all I thought about in 2013, it only seems right to commemorate not just the end result, but the process. The three shot set features a pic from just after our foundation was poured, a pic from when it was framed, and a look at the final thing.

It hangs in our foyer (hence the name...) kinda behind our coat rack. Construction pics are not Glamor Shots by any measure, so I wanted it somewhere that I would regularly see, but wouldn't be a huge focal point.

To me, it's such a cute little memento of a really big part of our lives. It's something that feels distinctly ours, not bought at HomeGoods or made off someone else's brilliant Pinterest idea.

Plus, I always love a good Boone photobomb.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Less-Than-Planned Update

We have a coffee bar! Kind of...

I don't want to call the progress in our pantry "unplanned" because I've been sorting this all out for the year that we've lived here. The most accurate way to describe it is "not what I thought we'd be tackling next."

It all started because I actually had a weekend off with no commitments(!). Pat and I decided on Friday night that we were going to be super productive this weekend. We wanted to do some heavy-duty cleaning, winterize the house, and knock a project off our never ending to-do list.

I'm deadset on replacing every inch of wire shelving in our home and was fully prepared to start in the laundry room sooner rather than later. When I mentioned my plans to the hubs (cabinets, solid shelves, and hanging space), he said it was unnecessary, expensive, and we don't have the know-how (two of those are true...). Being as I was feeling particularly motivated and I wanted to get something done, I blurted "what about the pantry?"

Once again, "unneccessary, expensive, no know-how."

"Can we at least do the coffee bar?"

"We can look."

Now I hate wire shelving everywhere, but the section holding our Keurig is especially frustrating. Every time I close the Keurig or refill the water, the whole thing shakes violently. And when I'm adding my sugar, I have to perfectly balance my mug on three wires so it doesn't fall to the side. I have it down to an irritating science.

Looking back, I'm not sure why I wanted to start with the laundry room.

Initially, I had little luck finding the perfect piece of furniture (I had decided long ago to use furniture over installed cabinets for both aesthetic and financial reasons). Very few things were tall enough, not too wide, and not ridonkulously priced. The few things I did come across were clearly geared at wine, and I couldn't think of an alternative use for the slots clearly intended for bottles and stemmed glasses.

Then, by sheer luck, I stumbled across an the webpage for an "island" from Target's Threshold line.

At first look, I wasn't sure it would fit our space or our needs. But if we left that back leaf folded down and took off the towel bar on the left side... yes I think that'll do.

So we took off to our local Target to do some grocery shopping with a side of furniture hunting...and she came home with us!

As I got to work assembling this behemoth, Pat got to ripping out the shelves in that section of our pantry.  He was so fast, I couldn't even snap a before shot, but here's a halfway peak:

It's amazing: as many anchors as those shelves have, they're still remarkable weak, bowing under the slightest movement.

Then, she was in!

This is a really tight corner to photograph so please withhold judgement.

I can't believe how much I love this space already. The first cup of cider I made, I literally squealed with glee. It immediately feels more custom and spacious. Distinctly non-apartment.

Obviously, we still need to paint, especially after I patched what felt like 400 anchor holes. Since I wasn't quite planning on this addition this weekend, I really have no clue what color to paint in here, other than something light. And that top shelf still needs to go but Pat's help ended as The Walking Dead began.

I also want to add some shelves/hooks for our mugs so they're conveniently located where they're always used. In the end, we ended up not installing the leaf on the island, so we have a slab of leftover butcher block. If we can finagle it, we might have some matching butcher block shelves soon.

While I never look forward to waking up, this upgrade might make my morning routine a little more bearable.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Scat, 1995-2014

Yesterday, my mom texted me some sad news: our family cat, Scat, has passed. That's the kind of news it was, the kind that can be texted. As she was nearly 19, this news was not unexpected, and more of a reason to reminisce than grieve. She's been with us nearly my whole life and I hardly remember life pre-Scat.

She was the second most crotchety cat in our family (she was dethroned 5 years ago by her nephew, Atticus, the Joffrey of our family) and often had a look of disdain that made Grumpy Cat look like a ray of sunshine. Everyone knew you didn't move her, for she was wherever she was because she wanted to be there and nowhere else. Despite her crabby temperament, in her younger years, she was also one of the snuggliest cats I've ever had the pleasure of cuddling.

There's so much I could say, all of which would sound strangely negative to an outsider, but I say it all with love and fondness. My father, the real writer in the family, wrote her a lovely obituary on his blog.

Goodnight, Skitty on Come Walk With Me

There's one other noteworthy obit: the one my mom texted to all us kids.

That sums her up perfectly. Scat, you will be missed.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Trick or Treat, y'all!

L'Halloween (favorite French word ever!) is my 3rd favorite holiday, preceded only by #2 Thanksgiving and #1 CHRISTMAS! Today is the beginning of the countdown of the best two months of the year, every day getting better and better.

I don't have big plans; I'll just be chilling with Boone (he's going as Shadow from Homeward Bound), handing out candy, eating candy, and generally being cozy. Plus the potential for heavy drinking with friends. That's still up in the air.

Anyhoo, I promised y'all a month ago that I would have pumpkins on my stoop, and pumpkins are here...like a week and a half ago.

Boone was there too.

My mums are like two months in now, so it's not their most brilliant day, but I haven't killed them yet (Katie - 1, whomever would benefit from them dying - 0).

How far we've come.

55 Days Until Christmas!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wedding Swag

On Sunday, I shared our joy at spending the weekend with our friends, Whitney and Corey, as they GOT MARRIED!!!

How awesome is that blush dress?!

One of the most unexpected and most appreciated things we picked up from the wedding was the loads of flowers we brought home after the big day. It's not often I get to have several bouquets of professionally arranged flowers (let alone for free), so when the bride said "take whatever you want, because anything left will be thrown away," I took as many as I could carry.

Even though we didn't get home until 1am and I could barely walk after 10+ hours in 4 inch heels, I couldn't wait to arrange them.

The smaller arrangements are just in small drinking glasses.

The big one I scooped up is a lovely addition to my fall centerpiece in the dining room.

Also, I'm responsible for drying the bride's bouquet while they are on their honeymoon. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Abbotts, est. 2014

This weekend has been an absolute blur.

We had the privilege of helping our friends, Whitney and Corey, celebrate their marriage at the beautiful Morning Glory Farms, located in Monroe, NC, just outside of Charlotte. Whitney, the most Type A personality I've ever met, outdid herself planning a celebration that felt timeless and trendy and undeniably them.

Needless to say, we had a great time.

I couldn't get over the setting, the details, the attire. I can't wait to see the photos and I'm sure it won't take long before this wedding is trending on Pinterest. Since it was so beautiful and meant so much to us, I wanted to share a few pics before the all the real photos come out. This is like the grainy, long-lens photos published by tabloids weeks before the respectable news outlets release perfect portraits.

Yeah, that one's really blurry, but it's the best I have of the tent and they get better from here.


Of course, by later in the night, the party was jumpin', jumpin'.

As I was in the wedding, I didn't get any shots of the ceremony (the one above is borrowed from Whit's aunt) and not as many as I would have liked of anything. If you want more, be sure to check out their hashtag #happilyeverabbott.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The One Year Housiversary Tour

 As promised, we're back to look at the inside. The mission over the past year has been to create an environment where we truly feel at home. As long-time apartment dwellers, it was easy to adopt the mindset that our home was a temporary arrangement. All the painting, filling of empty spaces, and general decorating has gone a long way towards accomplishing that goal. It's unbelievable that just a year ago this was all a completely sterile space.

By no means is this complete; I honestly feel like this is the bare minimum of decorating. Only one room has curtains. All the art and nick-knacks are spread thin. I feel like almost everything needs to be reworked. I recently visited a friend whose townhouse looks like it's out of a Pottery Barn catalog only one month after she moved in. Oh well. The second royal pregnancy won't keep up with itself.

No matter, this is where we live.


Can Boone be a dog-model already? I'm screening agents if anyone is interested...

The foyer looks almost the same as it did months ago. I've added a few more pictures and a coat rack (one of the steps to Boone getting his own room); those three empty frames will house the foyer art project I've been mulling over for a year and a half. Bet you thought I'd forgotten... :)

The dining room also hasn't changed much since the last time I shared it. I updated the centerpiece to be a more fall friendly but that's about it. I am rethinking the paint color; it might be time to go light, especially since my little iPhone can't. even.

Boone really likes watching the world go by out the dining room window.

We use the front and back doors pretty equally, so we've made the little space at the bottom of our stairs a make-shift mudroom since it's equidistant from both doors. I can't take off my boots by myself and this is the perfect place to rest while Pat takes them off for me. Just in time for boot weather.

For some reason, I don't share many pictures of our kitchen which is bananas since it's my favorite room in our house. Maybe it's because it's the hardest to clean. #lazylikethat

And here's the October kitchen chalkboard. I wasn't quite ready for Halloween, but I had to get rid of "a September to Remember." You know, since it's October.

The living room looks about the same as when I re-revealed it around the Super Bowl. I'm itching to get curtains up in here, but I'll need 8 panels...I'm currently waiting to win a multi-state powerball.

As much as we love our jute rugs, it's worth mentioning that they do not hold up well to giant Golden Retriever paws. Sure, we can tuck all the little picks back in, but I'm too busy watching Dance Moms to pay much attention to those little things.

Upstairs, in general, is hit or miss. The loft and office are particularly undone but liveable. The guestroom's concept is executed, but I still need art and a dresser. The master is in a constant state of progress. We seem to add something every few weeks, but it still only looks like a fraction of the room I envision.

(Pat's in charge of decorating this room.)


I am not particularly proud to share that pic.

While Leo will occassionally visit us downstairs, the upstairs is totally his domain.

The master also picked up the most random accessories. If you remember, that's one of the Christmas pillows and that throw just migrated up here one day. Those mirrors haven't been hung yet, and one of them has a cracked pane (made them an absolute steal).

And the master bath is the hardest room to photograph ever. Basically, it is still blue.

So that's that. Our house is officially one year old. I would love to think up some pithy conclusion, but I just recently started watching Game of Thrones and it's time to start the next episode.