Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy Fall Ya'll!

Football. Cool weather. Scarves & boots. Pumpkin spice lattes. Pumpkin anything. Oh, how I just LOVE this time of the year!

I couldn't wait to kick off the season with a little festive decor on our porch and I was so excited when I found this beautiful fall wreath at Homegoods!

I added a few things to the wreath to glam it up a bit...

and I thought it turned out really wonderFALL!

I added some beautiful pansies and cabbage to the flower pots...

 and of course barrels of hay and pumpkins!

And finally, this cute little garden flag!

Now our house is officially ready for fall!

 Happy Fall Ya'll and Go Navy!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Shrub Love!

Now that the weather is cooler and our schedules are winding down the hubs and I decided to finally remove these ugly shrubs we've had in the front yard. In April we made a lot of landscaping changes which I discussed here but we're back at it again. We decided to leave two of the original scrubs in place when we first landscaped and that was a big mistake because they went from bad to worse over the course of the brutally hot summer.

I only have a picture of one of the shrubs still in the ground because hubs got to work before I was home in time to snap pictures which is fine by me! This was the best looking of the shrubs however after a valiant effort on our part to keep it green this summer it started to die...

Here's how the other monster of a shrub looked...totally dead!  I guess because it had already died it was uprooted within 25 minutes, the shrub above took FOREVER to remove (sorry hubs!)

Look at him go!

Tanner and Gresham thoroughly enjoyed themselves during this time!

Once the shrubs were taken out it was time to replace them with dreamy Nandina shrubs! I wanted Nandinas in the front yard from the very beginning because they're a beautiful evergreen that changes from pretty shades of green to reddish-pinks and even blooms with red berries during the winter (which is perfect to cut off and bring inside during Christmas time for decorating!) The problem was I could only find them at nurseries during the spring and summer and they were going for $50 and up per shrub! There was no way that was happening, so I patiently waited for the end of summer when Home Depot gets their shipment of nandinas in at $24.95 plus a military discount! Score!

I think it's a big improvement from this (taken in April):

To this:

I also love that you can see our adirondack chairs better from the front porch now!

I'm really happy with the landscaping in the front yard but we still need to work on the sides of the yard AND the backyard.

We did start working on a small garden bed that's on the right side of our house!

Here's a before picture:

I weeded, edged the garden bed, planted two beautiful limelight hydrangeas, transplanted some hostas and then mulched to make more progress!

It's looking better but we really need to work on the grass weed situation we have going on. Hubs put down fertilizer with weed killer then after a couple of weeks he'll put down grass seed. Fingers crossed it grows! Somewhere down the road we'd like to add lattice underneath the porch so it's less of an eyesore when you're up close.

Well that's all for now with our never ending landscaping saga!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My First Place: Fact or Fiction?

If you watched our episode debut Sunday on HGTV you may be wanting to know just how much of it really happened and what was scripted. In all fairness, there's no way you can accurately sum up a first time home buyer's experience in a 30 minute television show and I understand the network's reasoning for doing some of the things they had to do. With that being said there was definitely a skewed portrayal of what really went down...

First and foremost, the hardest part of the whole thing was going on the show and having to say negative things about someone's home. Some of the houses we looked at weren't right for us but it doesn't mean they weren't right for someone else. For example, we toured one house where the kitchen was next to the laundry room and I made a comment about "our clothes smelling like grease." What? That doesn't even make sense or accurately reflect how I felt about that, I think these soundbites are just added for extra affect. I also felt horribly when the comment about all of the kitchens and bathrooms looking like they were built in "1973 or something" was made. Some of the kitchens and bathrooms needed updating but I didn't think they were as bad as we had to make them out to be. On top of all of that the owners graciously gave up their home for most of the day so we could film there and we really didn't want to say anything negative about their house. 

Believe it or not, we were not concerned with finding a home that would be close to the Navy Stadium for tailgates, had large closets for my shoe "collection" or in Admiral Heights in general. Don't get me wrong, Admiral Heights is a lovely community and a place where we could definitely be happy to live but it wasn't a must have neighborhood that the show made it out to be. HGTV loved the military aspect and wanted that to be a huge part of our story so they really scripted that whole we want to live in Admiral Heights part "we wouldn't need a designated driver" or "I can practically see our stadium seats from this house" isn't how we all. We knew what our budget was and we were only comfortable spending so much money therefore our wish list was small, we wanted 3 to 4 bedrooms, a basement or a garage and a fence if we were really lucky! That was it, we knew the challenges we'd face with trying to find a single family home in Annapolis with a small budget and we were open minded to any neighborhood, not just Admiral Heights. I think the part of the show that bothered me the most was that Matthew appeared to be the one making all of the decisions about the home buying process and I'm just over here making comments about shoe closets. In reality, Matthew and I were a team and we made decisions together that we felt made the most sense.

You also may have noticed that throughout the show we wore solid and bright colors. We were given a strict dress code which was difficult to follow, especially because they didn't want you to accessorize and really preferred very basic outfits. It was difficult to find so many brightly colored shirts that didn't have a pattern on them-and then to not be allowed to add a necklace or something (I did sneak one in for a scene though). Some days we would shoot multiple scenes and just have a change of clothes that we could quickly throw on so it would look like it was a different day. I felt like I was running out of clothes, one day I was completely ill prepared when I found out last minute we needed three outfit changes! I quickly rummaged through my closet in desperate search of anything that was brightly colored without a pattern! That was hard! Especially, since we filmed during winter where the majority of your closet contains darker colored clothes! And we couldn't wear black clothes, my favorite! They're so slimming which is great, especially since the camera definitely makes you look bigger than you are...or maybe we're just fat, ha!

All and all, I think this was an exciting opportunity and it gave us more of an insight as to how these "reality" shows are created. It's definitely weird watching yourself on television and over analyzing the comments you make...comments that may or may not have been scripted. I've been asked by a few people if we would do it again and I'm not really sure, Matthew on the other hand says yes, as long as we're paid, ha! It was a huge undertaking, months and months of filming (since we pretty much only filmed on the weekends) and it was definitely more work than we imagined! We have a newfound appreciation for the entertainment industry...although it sure would have been nice to have a hair dresser, makeup artist and someone to pick out our wardrobe on set :)

What did you all think about our show?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My First Place Viewing Party!

You are cordially invited to attend our viewing party for "Offer Here, Offer There" on Sunday, September 16th at 1:30 at the Elks Club in Severna Park, Maryland! Our real estate agent is a member and he has graciously volunteered this venue for us to use! Cost of admittance is a $10 donation that supports a deployed Seal Team in Afghanistan and also includes food! Please feel free to bring a guest, the more the merrier in helping raise money for an excellent cause! If you're planning on attending please let us know so we can adequately prepare, you can just send me a quick email me at Oh, and for all of you Ravens Fans there will be another big screen tv showing the game! We hope to see you there!

The Elks Club is located at:
160 Truck House Road
Severna Park, MD 21146
Click here for directions!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gettin' Horizontal!

No, not that kind of horizontal, I'm talking about our latest home project! Matthew and I finally decided to add painted stripes to our living room walls after spending so much time admiring them on Pinterest! I will admit there were a few minor hiccups along the way but all and all it wasn't too bad. I really appreciated all of the hubby's hard work and patience helping me with my latest project! I'm pretty sure he cringes every time I log onto Pinterest {which is way more than I should} because he's just waiting for me to find something else our home needs!

To begin you'll need the following stuff: frog tape, paint, rollers, rolling tray, paint brush and a tape measure!

We ended up using frog tape over the typical blue 3M painter's tape for a few reasons. For one, it's really easy to move around the walls which is important because you'll want to adjust the tape so it's a nice and straight line. Also, this tape doesn't leave behind any residue at all, in fact, you can leave this tape on the wall for up to 21 days and there's still no residue on the walls, you can't do that with the blue stuff! Last but not least, I think this tape is the best for really making sure the paint stays put and doesn't bleed through causing uneven stripes!

Once you've gathered your supplies you'll need to start the measuring process! In order to figure out how wide each stripe should be measure the wall from top to bottom then divide by seven, or any other odd number depending on how thin or thick you want the stripes! It really doesn't matter just as long as you're dividing by an odd number! From the ceiling to the molding it was 80 inches so after dividing by 7 our stripes were about 11 inches thick! Perfect!

After you mark the measurements you'll need to carefully tape the walls! To avoid confusion, we put little pieces of tape marking the area that we didn't want to paint.

Once you've done all of the dirty work you can start rollin'! This is where the project should fly by unless you're us. True to our nature, we always have at least one hiccup whenever we attempt a project for the first time! To save some money we decided we would just use whatever white paint we had lying around, which happened to be Behr's Satin decorator white. We were on a roll {pun intended} painting those stripes and amazed by the ease of the project...then my Dad stopped by, and I'm so happy he did. Right away he asked us what type of finish we were using to paint the stripes. Huh? I don't know the stuff we found in the basement was our reply. Unfortunately, the stuff we found in the basement was a satin finish but the green paint on the wall was a flat finish...not good! We were going to have bright, shiny white stripes and flat green stripes, oh no! Not to fret, we quickly hopped in the car and made our second Home Depot trip of the day so we could buy the correct paint! It wasn't that bad of a setback though, the stripes needed two coats so we covered the first coat with satin paint then our second coat with flat paint and it looked awesome! Lesson learned, make sure when painting stripes you use the same finish...unless you're going for more of a shiny stripe and in that case use what you have!

After you've painted the stripes {with the correct paint finish} then you just let them dry. We took the tape off after about two hours, if you'd rather wait longer to enure they're dry that's fine, too-just make sure you're using frog tape!

Once we {carefully} took the tape off it looked like this:

We waited a few more hours to really make sure the paint was dry before we hung our pictures back up and I'm so happy with the end results!

Now that the stripes are done we have more decorating goodness in store so please stay tuned! Hint: we have a furniture delivery scheduled this week!