Why We Decided Not to Move

Last week I shared a post where I briefly mentioned that we had considered moving. The decision to stay in our blue house was not an easy one, and it was definitely a decision where we considered multiple factors. Arriving at the decision to take on adding two expensive outdoor features (pool and detached garage) was not easy. In fact, we spent years studying the housing market in our area, crunching numbers, and weighing the pros and cons. Ultimately, we decided that moving was not our best option. I’m sure I’m not the only adult who has faced (or is currently) facing life-altering decisions regarding whether or not to sell, so I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few of the deciding reasons we decided to stay.

Location, Location, Location

Our county is fairly large for our area, and moving to a different location within our county would drastically affect where we live. Currently, we can be to the interstate in 7 minutes. Our county has several interstate on ramps in different areas, and the one we live near gives my husband an extra 40 minutes every single day. That time adds up over the course of a week, month, or year. Not only are we near the interstate, we have an easy drive to the interstate with zero traffic lights. We are also five minutes (or less!) away from Walmart, multiple grocery stores, Hobby Lobby, our favorite movie theater, my gym, restaurants, and multiple family members. In my family, we’re the nearest to my grandmother who was just diagnosed with dementia. Knowing that I can be to her in three minutes is priceless. Our subdivision is also just outside of the city limits, but there is one house within our neighborhood inside the city limits. Because of that one house, our entire subdivision is zoned to receive city services without the higher taxes. In addition to all of the above, we have wonderful neighbors and live in a community where I feel safe. All of the homes in our neighborhood are well maintained with spacious lots. I just can’t imagine finding a better location.

Numbers

There were a lot of numbers that factored into our decision-making process. First, we have a fair bit of equity in our house. This was the trickiest part of the number game to consider. Having equity meant that we could cash in the equity on this house in order to upgrade to a house that met more of our wish list items. (More about our wish list in a moment.) However, equity also meant that we had a safety net and a low monthly mortgage payment. Selling our house and cashing in on the equity was a gamble that I wasn’t willing to take without doing my research first. So, I spent a couple of years watching the market. Housing prices in our county have remained steady – and honestly a little high – for the past few years. Our blue house wasn’t in the best shape when we purchased it, so we bought it for a low price. Finding another low-priced house that met our needs just wasn’t financially feasible. Similarly, purchasing land and building wasn’t fiscally responsible either. Numbers don’t lie, and they were telling me that we needed to stay in our blue house in order to live comfortably within our means.

Flipping?

I should mention that we also considered selling this house, moving into a smaller house, and flipping it for a quick profit. This was not an ideal solution for a number of reasons. First, I don’t want to downsize just to upsize again in a year or so. That would mean storing our furniture or selling it all just to repurchase something similar. Second, neither of us wanted to put in the labor required to flip another house. Getting our house ready to go on the market would take considerable work, and then we’d have to deal with keeping it spotless until it sold. I can’t even imagine having to get our 3 pets out of our house each time someone requested a showing. Then, we’d have to sell things, move, and completely renovate another house while living in it. This is not the quality of life we want for ourselves, so this option was quickly eliminated.

Wish List

No house is perfect. Even a house built just for us would have flaws. When considering moving, we had to take a hard look at our house and the areas in which we wished it could improve. In no particular order, our wish list for this house included:

  1. More garage space.
  2. A larger dining room.
  3. Separate office space for me.
  4. A pool.
  5. A larger laundry room.
  6. A second living room space for gaming and family gatherings.

However, our blue house has so many wonderful features that I have not seen in similar houses in our area, such as:

  1. A very large master suite.
  2. A completely renovated master bathroom that suits our needs and taste.
  3. A gas stove.
  4. A perfect location.
  5. A large, flat corner lot.
  6. A large, fenced-in yard.
  7. A color palette, fixtures, and furnishings that we chose for ourselves.
  8. Just the right amount of square footage.
  9. Potential to grow.

When you compare the lists, there’s obviously more to love about this house than there is to dislike. Plus, we knew we could overcome the majority our house’s shortcomings through renovations. Adding a pool and detached garage would solve numbers 1, 4, and 5 on our list. We could expand our laundry room into our attached garage if we no longer needed that garage closet space directly on the other side of the laundry room. We can gain a second living room space by finishing the bonus room space above our current garage. And, we can swap my office and dining room spaces if we find that we need more space in those areas. The sunroom I use as my office is long and narrow, which would accommodate our dining room table. The current dining room has more wall space that would help me to gain better office storage while also separating my workspace from our living area better. Alternately, I could use some of the bonus room space for a totally separate office space.

When we thought about our home desires, we realized that we already had everything we needed right here. Not only did our house have the potential to meet all of our wish list items, it just makes financial and practical sense to stay here. In our first house, we tackled every project with the resale value in mind. Even the paint choices in our first house were selected with the future buyer in mind. It paid off, but we never totally felt at home there. In our blue house, we made decisions for us, and it feels like home.

Backyard Inspiration: Pool & Outdoor Kitchen

We’re considering tackling a LARGE outdoor renovation later this year that would entail adding a pool and a large detached garage to our yard. We have just under two acres in our subdivision, so we should have enough room to add these projects. Arriving at the decision to take on adding two expensive features was not easy. In fact, we spent years studying the housing market in our area, crunching numbers, and weighing the pros and cons of moving vs tackling a large backyard renovation. Ultimately, we decided to tackle the renovation instead of moving.

The plan is to add a fiberglass pool with a saltwater system as well as a detached garage on the side of our house. This allows us to keep the footprint of our large, fenced-in back yard. Our lot is one of the largest in our neighborhood, and the land directly beside our house is the largest and flattest making it the best option for the pool and garage. Plus, it’s a considerable distance from our septic tank and field lines. The garage will house a large workspace for vehicle maintenance and tool storage, loft storage, pool storage, a closet for my business storage, a bathroom, and outdoor kitchen. Yes, we’re hoping to cram a ton of function into this space! The bathroom, kitchen, and pool storage areas will be accessible from the pool. The tool and business storage areas and workspace will be accessible from a garage door facing the road. So the pool and outdoor living areas will be separate from the work and storage spaces.

We still have a lot to figure out, but I thought it would be fun to share some inspiration!

Clockwise from top left: fiberglass pool, hanging lights, inflatable lounge, outdoor kitchen, outdoor screen enclosure, shuttered kitchenette passthrough, hanging daybed. To see more of what I’m considering, check out my Pinterest board. I’ve already pinned a bunch of inspiration, and I’m sure I’ll pin much more.

A 31st Birthday Wish List

Whew! April has been a crazy month! My pop-up business opened in March and continued through mid-April, and then I went to the beach for a week. It was a wonderful month, and I was certainly glad for the rest at the end.

My birthday is in exactly one month, so I thought it might be fun to put together a wish list in case anyone else was wondering what to get the 30-something woman in their life for an upcoming birthday or Mother’s Day gift.

    1. KitchenAid Ceramic Mixer Bowl
  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette

  2. Kendra Scott Elisa Silver Pendant Necklace In Platinum Drusy

  3. Lunea Patterned Sneakers

  4. Folding Travel Mirror with Light

  5. Honey House Naturals Bee Bar

For my own mother, I ordered something a bit more personalized for her Mother’s Day gift to help her enjoy her morning coffee. I hope she enjoys it as much as I think she will!

How Exercise Helps Me Achieve My Goals

I recently shared my list of goals for the year and announced my word of the year: WORK. After that post, I realized I wanted to share a bit more about why I chose the word “work” to intentionally drive and focus my year ahead. Intentionally focusing 2017 around the word “work” was a decision I made during the last quarter of 2016 after a lot of reflection and prayer. 2016 was, by and large, a year of grad school for me. After I completed my coursework in September, I spent the remainder of the year resting, reflecting, and looking ahead.

Making 2017 my year of work lead me to some (somewhat) unexpected places: I’m finding time for exercise. In the past, it always seemed counterintuitive to me that so many successful people I knew made time for exercise. Wouldn’t it deplete their energy? How do they come back from the gym looking so happy? Where do they find time for the activities they actually enjoy?

I now know that exercise gives energy rather than depleting it. I also know that finding an exercise that’s enjoyable not only leaves me feeling happy, but it is also becoming an activity I look forward to most days.

My exercise routine is not one intended to transform myself into a body builder or to rapidly drop weight. Instead, the purpose of my routine is to help me have more energy and happiness. Focusing on work this year meant that I absolutely had to find a way to be more productive with my time, and exercise has helped me find more energy, which, in turn, has made it feel as if I have more time to dedicate to all those areas needing my attention.

Instead of feeling encumbered by needing to log an hour at the gym or 30 minutes on the treadmill, I know that I’ll gain enough energy to help me get through all of my tasks ahead.

Here’s some benefits I’ve noticed from regular exercise in my own life:

  1. More energy.
  2. More mental focus and clarity.
  3. I’m making better use of my time. Rather than crashing on the couch for several hours each evening out of sheer exhaustion, I’m now accomplishing more with my time because I feel better.
  4. I’m more intentional about taking my AdvoCare products, which make me feel better every single day.
  5. I’m happier.
  6. I’m sleeping better.
  7. I have more fun in my life.
  8. Household chores no longer exhaust me.
  9. I’m saying “yes” more.
  10. My work is more focused. I’m making better use of my time.
  11. Travis and I are spending more quality time together playing games, doing puzzles, or some other activity I never had the energy for before.

For the longest time, I thought exercise was absolutely no fun at all. In fact, I hated it. Finding the right routine for me has really changed my mindset about exercise. So, what’s my exercise routine look like?  I see a personal trainer for one hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I try to walk/jog on my treadmill for 30-40 minutes at least one day a week (usually Monday), I do a yoga flow class on Friday, and I try to be a little active in some way during the weekend. Examples: walking the dog, yard work, cleaning, etc.

I don’t have a stringent program that’s impossible for me to keep up with. In fact, I don’t always have time in my schedule for this exact routine, but I do the best I can. I know that I have two hours scheduled every week with my trainer, and I do the best I can to squeeze some activity into every single day. And, it’s totally working for me right now! Have I lost a ton of weight? Nope. Have I lost some weight? Yep. I feel so much better every single day that I truly think in the year ahead I’ll be able to continue focusing on exercise to help me do great things during my year of “work.”

Easy Do It Yourself Dreamcatcher

Recently, I made a DIY dreamcatcher for my sitting room, and I thought it might be fun to share it with you!

Supplies:

  1. Lace Fabric
  2. Yarn
  3. Embroidery Hoop
  4. Faux Flowers

Steps:

  1. Add lace fabric to an embroidery hoop and trim excess fabric from the back. (You could add a little glue at this point, but it’s definitely not necessary.)
  2. Cut the yarn into strands. I chose to leave mine rather long.
  3. Cut a few small holes in the lace fabric near the bottom of the hoop.
  4. String the yarn through the holes.
  5. Add some yarn to the top of your dreamcatcher to hang it.
  6. Add some decorative faux flowers to the top, and you’re done!

 

2017 Goals and My Word of the Year

This year, I’m planning to simplify my goals a bit and only concentrate on a few for our home. Instead, I’m going to focus on a word this year. In years’ past, I’ve definitely had a major, overarching goal that could have been summed up by one word. For example, last year would have been school or MBA. But I’ve never publicly shared that word — until now!

My Word of the Year

This is going to be my year of WORK. I’ve finished my master’s degree, and it’s time to crush it professionally. This means I plan to work extra hard this year to make myself indispensable to my company. I work remotely, and I absolutely love my job. I want to make sure this year they know just how important they are to me. After having a career with some serious ups and downs, I feel like I’ve finally found a workplace to call home. Working from home sweetens the deal!

I also purchased a small business at the end of 2016. I know, Crazy! I haven’t decided how much to share about this new business venture here on the blog, but I’m sure there might be some crossover at some point. For now, let me just summarize a bit: I purchased a consignment event business from a person who started it from the ground up. This meant I purchased all of the equipment as well as the intellectual property. I have a business partner, and I really love knowing I can lean on her. She’s definitely part of my tribe. However, my business partner and I definitely have our work cut out for us. We’re changing the business name, creating a new website, implementing new banking and tax procedures, and moving the consignment sale events to a new town all while learning how to run a business.

Additionally, I’m setting a goal for myself to blog a minimum of 18 times this year. This means I must post at least once a month. I would really like to find a blogging rhythm this year. I have plenty of post ideas to share!

House Goals

  1. Add deck skirting to the front porch.
  2. Paint the last door in our house black.
  3. Tile the kitchen backsplash. (Check out some of the options I’ve been considering here.)
  4. Work on the overall curb appeal of our home.

It’s definitely going to be a busy year, but I’m really excited for what’s ahead!

New Year’s Eve Favorite Things Brunch

Happy new year! The ladies in my family have started a new tradition of having a favorite things brunch around the holidays where my younger cousin and I host our moms, aunts, and grandmothers at my house for a fun morning of fellowship and gifting. (Click here to read more about the favorite things game.) This year, we had extra helping hands from our cousin’s new wife. (You may remember when we hosted her wedding shower last spring.) Last year, we hosted the brunch a week before Christmas, but this year we decided a New Year’s Eve brunch would work best.

We had a lot of fun setting the table this year! It was a special treat to break out linens and actual dinnerware and treat the ladies of our family to something special. We’re definitely a family that typically uses disposable plates and napkins for family gatherings.

Each place setting had a water glass, linen napkin, mimosa champagne flute with a swizzle stick, favor, party hat, name card, small plate, dinner plate, charger, and utensils. Trust me, we really upped the table setting ante from last year’s brunch.

The party hats were from Target, and almost everyone wore their hat during brunch! It was so much fun to look around the table and see everyone wearing party hats and enjoying themselves. The name cards were a simple DIY using free flower clip art. This helped us identify which mimosas should be mocktails. Plus it was a really sweet touch everyone seemed to appreciate.

We found the Bubbles & Kisses favor idea from Pinterest, and it was a huge hit! All we did was add some Hershey Kisses to an organza favor bag, write “Bubbles & Kisses” on gift tags from Target, and add it to the mini bottles of sparkling cider.

I’m going to get real for a minute and admit that this cake was almost a huge problem. It all started when I ordered a cake topper that didn’t arrive correctly, and then the Etsy seller forgot to send the correct topper. She was really gracious about it and gave me a full refund, but the cake already started with a disadvantage: no topper. Then, when we picked up the cake, it didn’t look at all like it was supposed to look. Instead of being covered in an edible glitter, it had gold sprinkles haphazardly sprinkled all over.

Honestly, we just needed to reset our mental picture of how the cake was supposed to look and instead accept how it actually looked. Once we did that, it became a lot easier to move forward. I found a free clock printable to use as the central topper, and we just used a decorative scalloped circle punch to add some circles to add some something decorative around the clock. This all happened around midnight the night before the brunch. The cake itself was strawberry and delicious.

The rest of the table’s centerpiece featured grocery store flowers in holiday vases, a beaded runner, and the cake on a silver cake plate. There was enough going on with the rest of the table to feel comfortable with a simpler centerpiece.

All of the food was placed on a small buffet table near the main dining table. Unfortunately, the only place to put the buffet table blocked one of the doors into the dining room, so we had to get a little creative blocking the exit. The mix of balloons and the banner ended up being the perfect kitschy, not-so-serious additions to the party decor. The balloons were hung from the door frame with sequined ribbon, so the extra touch of sparkle was really fun.

The food itself was a mix of old and new recipes, and it was all well received by the brunch guests.

Menu:

Happy new year, friends!

2016 End-Of-Year Goal Check In

Back in January, I made a list of goals for the year ahead. Then, I checked in again in June to see if I had made any progress and also to see if I need to make any adjustments to my goals for the remainder of the year. Now that the year is over, it’s time to see if I accomplished the goals I set for myself back in January.

House Goals

I hope to accomplish much around the house this year. There’s a slight chance we will need to consider moving after I complete graduate school, so as much as I do not enjoy the thought of moving again I would like to be prepared as much as possible. Also, it’s much easier to coordinate home improvements while I’m working from home, which also may change after I have that diploma in hand. June update: we are no longer considering moving. My future job situation is still very much TBD. December update: We will NOT be moving, and my job situation is looking good. 

The Blue House at BetweenWeekdays.com

  • Finish painting all of the doors black throughout our home. There’s only three left! December update: there’s only one door left! The weather got too cold to paint this last door. Overall, though, I’m very pleased with this progress!
  • Complete the kitchen cabinets. After months of working with a contractor, we are on schedule to complete the kitchen cabinets in the next few weeks. June update: thankfully this never-ending task is DONE. 
  • Tile kitchen backsplash. June update: this should probably move to 2017…possibly 2018. December update: I’ve begun ordering tile samples! Curious about what I’m considering? Check out my Pinterest board!
  • Replace dining room table. We’ve ordered a custom dining set, and we’re just waiting for it to be delivered.
  • Continue to steadily reduce clutter. June: steadily making progress. December: I actually just finished going through ALL of Travis’ clothes this week. I’m continually making steady progress reducing clutter.
  • Update the guest bathroomDecember update: Throughout the course of the year, this became a very low priority.
  • Continue the master bedroom closet makeover. June update: see the finished space here!
  • Stain the front porch and deck. June update: we’ve stripped the old stain from the porch! December update: The front porch is stained! We’re considering several different options for the back deck including remodeling and hiring out staining. 
  • Add risers to front porch stairs and skirting below the porch. December update: we added risers but ran out of time to add the deck skirting. Hopefully, we can cross this task off in the spring.
  • Continue making improvements to the outside of our home. In 2015, we repaired our fence and began working in the landscaping. This year I hope to accomplish a few more items to continue adding curb appeal to our blue houseDecember update: we’re getting there! I’d like to make a big push in 2017 to work on the outside of our home.
  • June update: finish my new sitting room. Details to come. 😉 December update: I just sold off the previous furniture that occupied this room, and I hope to have a completed space soon! However, I’m already enjoying spending much of my spare time in this room. I can’t wait to blog about it!
  • June update: take some new photos of the outside of our blue house. The one above is very old. December update: as soon as the front porch is finished, I’ll be sure to take loads of pictures of the front of our house!

Personal

graduation-995042_640

  • Graduate from my graduate program. I am on track to complete courses at the end of the summer and to graduate in December with my MBA. June update: I have five weeks left of classes, a field test, and an exit survey separating me from my MBA. December: I’m finished! I graduated at the beginning of this month Summa Cume Laude. The only picture we took was a Snapchat selfie in the car after graduation. #photofail
  • Celebrate our 30th birthdays. We will both turn 30 in May this year.
  • Complete two Advocare 21 day challenges. June update: I’m down 15 pounds and feeling fabulous. Message me if you’re interested in learning more about Advocare. I plan to complete two more challenges this year.  
  • Blog one time per month. June update: so far, so good! I very nearly forgot to blog in May, though. December update: Poor July didn’t have a single post. 
  • Apply for adjunct professor positions. There’s a new program in our home state of Tennessee that provides a scholarship for high school seniors for two years of free tuition at community and technical colleges. It’s a wonderful program, and I’m hoping the influx of students will create more adjunct professor positions in our area. December update: still searching!

And that’s it! This year is really going to be about focusing on schoolwork for me. I may update these goals a bit as the year progresses, but as of right now, my focus is on continuing my education. June: at this point, I’m almost singularly focused on completing grad school. 

December update: It has been quite a year!

Florida Room Inspiration

The weather has finally turned to winter, and I’m dreaming of escaping to the beach for a few days. I’m fortunate to live near enough to Florida to make annual trips. I’m also fortunate enough to be able to visit my dad’s Florida condominium whenever I’m able. While it’s not directly on the beach, it’s located in close proximity to shopping and dining while only being about a 20-minute drive away from the beach. My Dad, Step-Mom, and grandparents make regular use of the condo to visit our Florida family and have furnished the two-bedroom condo to resemble our mountain home here in Tennessee. It truly does feel like we’re at home when we’re inside the comfortably furnished condo.

However, the condo features a screened-in porch, and I can’t help but think this room would be the perfect opportunity to inject some local flavor. This “room” can be used year-round thanks to Florida’s warm weather. When my family purchased the condo, the room was given a good scrub, fresh paint, and new window screens. I think it would be lovely to continue the fresh paint job up to the ceiling with a lovely coat of blue. Benjamin Moore™’s Polar Sky would be the perfect shade of “haint blue” for the ceiling:

Adding an indoor/outdoor rug would provide a nice pop of color, too, while also helping to make the room feel more like an actual room rather than merely a screened-in porch. I think adding a rug would be a key component to ensuring the porch received regular use.

Adding some warmer elements to the rest of the room would help break up the blue ceiling and rug-covered floor. Adding a touch of nautical is always a fun way to bring coastal style to any room. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

florida-inspiration-at-betweenweekdays-com

I also think adding a bar cart with lots of pops of color and fun would be a useful addition to any Florida-inspired room. How gorgeous is that bar cart styled by AM Dolce Vita? (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

florida-inspiration-at-betweenweekdays-com2

Adding elements of Florida style to the room would allow the space to function in a multitude of ways. A weathered farm table could become the focal point of the room for alfresco Florida dining. Or, a casual seating area could be added to create an outdoor living room suitable for visiting with friends and family to make the most use of Florida’s year-round sunshine.

If you want some more Florida inspiration, be sure to check out my Florida-inspired Pinterest board.

If you’re ready to take your Florida dreams to the next level and own a piece of paradise, check out the  Douglas Elliman Florida Real Estate page.

All I Want for Christmas, 2016

Hello friends! This month has been crazy busy for me with wonderful opportunitites, which left little time for blog posting. But, I’m back today sharing what’s on my personal Christmas wish list for 2016!

1. Bose Bluetooth Speaker

I’ve long wanted some sort of a Bose sound system, and I think this mini bluetooth version would perfectly suit my needs.

2. 2-Cup Measure

After watching the Pioneer Woman use her 2-cup measure on countless episodes, I’ve decided this is a kitchen tool that should definitely be added to my arsenal.

3. Floor Pouf

This little floor poof looks just right to fit in any space within my house: under my desk as a foot stool, in the living room when we need extra seating, or really anywhere the cat might like to sit.

4. Flannel Sheets

How we’ve survived this long without flannel sheets, I’ll never know! The deer pattern on this set would perfectly match our bedroom.

5. Kate Spade Tassel Keychain

This tassel keychain would not only brighten my day, but it would also help me keep up with my keys!

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