Monday, November 13, 2017

Our Engagement Story

The world works in mysterious ways, only making the meeting of two people happen when it was exactly meant to. We both attended Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado in 2009 and even knew the same people and had mutual friends, but we never had the chance to really meet. We are pretty certain we were even at some of the same parties in college without knowing it!
Fast forward to December of 2015 when we reconnected over the internet and began to find out just how much we had in common. We went on a couple of dates but what really sealed the deal was when B invited me to go to Ouray, Colorado at the end of January 2016 to spend the weekend getting a massage, soaking in the hot springs, and going to a romantic candlelight dinner in the mountains. Seriously, if you go to Ouray, go to the hot springs. It's amazing. 
It was perfect. From that moment on, we were together.
In May of 2016 we started to live together in Grand Junction before making the big decision to move to the Denver area in June 2017.
On August 20, 2017- we went to Wall, South Dakota for my cousin's wedding and Brennan met the whole family, and got all of them in on his plan! He spent time talking to my dad on the first night they were there and then on Sunday, as they were headed back with my parents and cousin Ashley, they stopped at Mt. Rushmore.
He is extra tricky because I absolutely loves teaching and learning about Abraham Lincoln which is why B coordinated my parents and family members to make sure she was all ready to be proposed to right there in front of the sculpture of my favorite president. The moment was fantastic and even other visitors to the monument clapped and cheered when they saw B get down on one knee to propose.
And of course, as we all knew I would, I said: Yes.
Here are all the pictures to prove it. Stay tuned for tons of eco-friendly and vegan inspired wedding posts!







Wednesday, July 26, 2017

5 Reasons We Love Renting (Right Now)

Well friends, we finally made it! After all the craziness that came with making the decision to move, finding a new job, finding a new place, selling our house, and driving all of our crap over the mountain- we're here and moved in! It's been a whirlwind 3 and a half months.



Having been a home owner for just over 9 years, I figured the adjustment of renting was going to be a real challenge. Boy, was I wrong! I LOVE renting right now! Wondering how that could be? Here's a few reasons:


  1. Financial Freedom. Seeing the mortgage come of your credit report and your overall debt balance dramatically decrease was pretty sweet. We are really into the Dave Ramsey Debt Free program so not owning a home gets us closer. Our expenses are similar since we still pay rent, but it feels so much more liberating right now as we work towards other goals.
  2. Fixes aren't on us. Most fixes don't come out of our own pocket. For example; before we moved in our area had a major hail storm that did some serious damage. Apparently the screen door on our rental was one of the casualties. Our landlord set up, paid for, and scheduled the replacement. My only job was to be here and sign saying I saw the dude install the door. I didn't have to pay a dime! No stress trying to balance the budget or figuring out how to DIY it. That, was pretty great.
  3. More for our money. This is sort of relative considering we moved from a small-mid sized town to a city but for us it is the case. I'd purchased our previous home at the height of the market in 2008 so we were overpaying for the value for a very long time. It was a larger space in terms of square footage compared to our rental but it didn't have other features that had become more important to us. Our rental is a "REAL" house (previous was a manufactured home) that is brick and has an attached garage, a great big backyard, proximity to shops and restaurants, and a spacious front yard that keeps the house off the street. We also have a really great back porch where we can entertain friends and family.
  4. More time for us. I still love getting to decorate and organize, especially since we plan to be in this house while we're paying off debt, but I'm not spending as much time worrying about remodeling and updating. I think this house would look great with painted cabinets and new tile in the kitchen and dining room, but since I don't own it I'm more apt to just deal with it. I'll put down a big rug or something. I now use that money to go explore different neighborhoods with B or put into savings for the wedding, or pay off debt.  Plus, we get to see which area we really want to be in before we purchase.
  5. Minimalism. We went from a 3 bedroom 2 full bath to a 2 bedroom and 1 bathroom. As a result, we really had to work to minimize a lot of our possessions. Read truly: I had to get rid of a lot of crap from before we were together. B is already quite the minimalist, I have more of a problem. This has helped me to pick what is truly valuable and brings us joy. We sold and got rid of a lot of furniture and other decor items before moving and I am so glad we did! The only 2 things I regret getting rid of was my 2 bookcases. But maybe I just need to sort back through my books and donate a bunch more. 
Overall, I'm really excited for this adventure. I go to my new school to get started next Monday and I just feel really good about this change. I'm so happy and can't wait to see what we do next!



Thursday, June 15, 2017

How I Staged My House to Sell in 3 Hours

As of May I officially owned and lived in my house for 9 years. I know I keep saying that but it is so hard to believe. I spent all of my college years here, lived with some great friends here, and started my career in this house. My sister and I lived here together for 3 years.

 This is where Brennan and I first lived together for over a year. It's remarkable.

Selling the house has made me very sentimental, leaving my home town makes me nostalgic, it's a strange process.

Many of you that have seen my blog know how wrecked the house was when I first bought it. Here is what it looks like the day it hit the market. It's strange to imagine that it has come so far and I have done so much.



We actually received multiple offers on our house that were over the asking price! The house went "Live" on the market at 11:48 am and by 3:50 pm we had the offer that we ultimately accepted. Our realtor says there are a few things that we did to make it stand out.

The biggest one? Cleanliness and staging.

















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Let's do a final walk through, shall we? I'll tell you what I did in each room to make a big difference.

Master Bedroom: Normally in this room I have nightstands and small gallery walls over the dresser
and beside the bed. In order to maximize the space I took all of that down and replaced it with some mirrored stars. What's sort of interesting is that those were there the first year I moved in. I also usually have a big fluffy rug and a darker comforter.

Before Staging (minus the gallery walls by bed):

  • Remove any floor coverings so buyers see whats there. Also if you have wood floors makes it seem fresher and larger.
  • Remove gallery walls and personal photos or last name letters. I used to have a big M by the side of my bed.
  • Use WHITE bedding. In between showings I had a throw blanket that I threw over the comforter to keep it clean from little doggy feet.
  • Remove/store any furniture you can live without. Getting rid of the nightstands was a good move. Made it look even bigger and I figured out that I don't use them anyway so I gave them to a friend.
  • Get everything off of your dressers and surfaces that you possibly can. We left the TV and clock. That's it.

After Staging:










Master Bathroom: My bathroom is one of my personal favorite spots in my house, probably the one I am going to miss the most because it is unnaturally large. I'm sure the square footage could have been used more effectively to have a bigger closet but hey, it worked for me!

  • Clean! I took everything out of the cabinets that I wouldn't need before the move. Its pretty sad since I love all of my make up collection and I fear it hates me but the buyers being able to open and close the doors and see it empty allows them to see how they'd use the space. 
  • With something specific like the built in I left a few of my CHEAP necklaces hanging to show the purpose of it. Cheap because if someone has sticky fingers I don't want to lose my precious items to their greediness. 
  • Make sure paint on cabinets and trim on mirrors is fresh.
  • Make sure all bulbs work.
  • Clean the vent.
  • Clear all surfaces. This one was hard to maintain but worth it.




Living Room: This is where the most change happened and it is where I really started to see the house as "For Sale" and no longer mine. That was a weird feeling, definitely. I love art and pillows and fluffy rugs. I also love fully packed bookcases. English teacher probs.

Before Staging:




  • Take EVERYTHING but a couple items off the walls. All of my cool vintage images, maps, and decor came down. I only left the super neutral stuff above the TV to give it some character. I also left one mirror to reflect a bit more light.
  • Get rid of excess furniture- this seems like a given but especially for me. I had the two large couches previously. I was planning to get rid of them this summer for a sectional anyway so it just expedited that. 
  • Clear surfaces. 
  • Remove rugs.
  • Make sure the curtains are washed and fresh. 
  • Polish wood floors.

After Staging:


 Dining Room & Kitchen:  The kitchen wasn't too hard to do, it was hard to determine what I did need to keep out to use for daily life. Most of this was just packing some stuff up and sending other stuff to the thrift store. I had forgotten how much I had put on top of the cabinets. ha.

Before staging (and new counters):





  • Again, everything off the walls! I left one thing because it was a decal and I was worried I'd peel the paint. 
  • Throughout the entire house I swapped the light switch covers for the plain white ones and kept my fancy expensive metal ones.
  • Took every thing off the counters. 
  • Cleaned each appliance until it sparkled and scrubbed the back splash.
  • Dining room: I removed the rugs and the cat from the table.
  • Get rid of excess furniture. I sold my coffee bar and took down all art work in the entire space.

Staged:







Laundry Room: This one is nearly the same. Here are the things I did to prep the staging on this space:

  • Repainted the cabinets where needed.
  • Repainted counter top.
  • Took down any extra art.
  • Cleaned the microwave.
  • Polished the front of the machines and cleaned the trashcan.





Guest Room/Office: My sister moved out about a year ago and I had sort of left the space the same since she left so it was our box storage area. We kept all of that to one zone. Buyers recognize that you are moving and don't really calculate that into it. That being said we did rent a large storage unit and house the rest of the boxes and gear. This was just stuff that didn't fit and I didn't want to pay for two units.  
  • Remove all artwork again except for a couple pieces.
  • Clear all surfaces.
  • Make sure the floors shine. 
  • If you have to have boxes, makes sure they are closed and stacked neatly.




Guest Room: This space was also pretty easy since I kept it pretty basic as a guest room.

Before staging- the last time I took pictures at Christmas. Ha.:


Staged:

  • Remove all but 1 piece of artwork.
  • Use white bedding.
  • Clean and polish the floors and windows.
  • Wash curtains.
  • Clear surfaces of furniture.
  • Remove rugs.




Guest Bathroom: Since I was already using this as a guest space, it wasn't too hard to get it staged which was nice because I was still suffering the trauma of the kitchen.

Before staging:



Staged:
  • I removed the shower curtains and liner and just hung a sheer really high to make it look bigger. 
  • Completely clear the counter.
  • Make sure all the lights work.
  • Clean the vents.
  • Empty the cabinets.
  • BLEACH the tub (or whatever product you use. Make it white!)
  • Take down all but basic decor.





Making sure that I had a clean and crisp color scheme, the floors shown, and I took my personality out of it (and all my art featuring redhead goddesses, hehe)  it really looked like a show house. Our amazing realtor told us that part of the reason it sold so quickly was because of how light, bright, and clean it was.

Selling your house, one of the few times that elbow grease actually has a return! What other tips and tricks help get houses sold? What do you look for when you're shopping for a house?