Four Things About Me.

I thought I would pop in for a fun little midweek post!  Hope your day is going well-- halfway to the weekend!

Four Nicknames
Kate, Kiki, Katya, Kadis

Four Jobs I've Had
Teacher at After School Program, Nanny, Admin, Business Development Coordinator

Four Movies I've Watched More Than Once
Steel Magnolias, A Christmas Story, Father of the Bride, Stepmom

Four Things In My Purse
Hobo Wallet, Planner, "Essentials" bag (lip balm, colored pens for my planner,  makeup)... does my phone count?  I say yes.

Four Books I Would Recommend 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Still Alice, To Kill A Mockingbird, anything by Elin Hilderbrand for a good girly beach read

Four Cars I've Driven
Ford Explorer, Dodge Ram, Jeep Cherokee, Subaru Legacy

Four Places I've Visited
Cancun, NYC, Chicago, Baltimore

Four Places To Visit On My Bucket List
France, Ireland, Greece, Fiji

Four Of My Favorite Foods
Pasta, Pizza, Mexican (any and all of it-- burritos, queso, tacos, enchiladas), my daddy's BBQ (brisket, sausage, oh my!)

Four TV Shows I Watch
Real Housewives, Scandal, Southern Charm, GMA

Four Things I'm Looking Forward To In 2015 
Taking the next step in my career, decorating our home, traveling to visit family and friends all over, our big one year anniversary/30th birthday trip at the end of the year

D Day

Well friends, as of this past Monday, I am no longer employed.  Last Friday was D(ismissal) Day, and as evidenced by my last post, there have been LOTS of feels going on.  

Long story short, and without going into too much detail, my company was acquired by a larger company and the corporate "assets" were not a part of the acquisition.  Assets-- that's what myself and the thirty other employees who were a part of the layoffs were called.  We've all had the feeling that something was up for quite awhile now, but we assumed that we would be grouped along with whatever changes may come-- nope.  So three weeks ago, management called the corporate office employees into a conference room full of tables littered with Kleenex boxes (let me just say, if you're ever suspicious that you may be laid off but aren't quite sure, you can consider entering a room full of Kleenex boxes a confirmation that something bad is definitely going down).  We all sat down, they broke the news and everyone promptly burst into tears.  Regardless of having a feeling you might lose your job, having the news actually broken to you SUCKS.  

And full disclosure, as worried as I was about my own situation, I couldn't help but be thankful for all of these random things: that I'm not pregnant, that I don't have children, that I'm not older, that we have our home, that my husband has a great job, that we weren't more aggressive in buying that second car to make our daily commutes easier, that I had the good sense to cut back on fun spending "just in case" the last month or so... Maybe I was trying to reassure myself that I was more okay?  So many of my coworkers and friends are in those positions-- moms with kids in daycare who were immediately concerned not about how their life would be affected but how their kids lives would be disrupted if they can't keep them in their schools; people who have worked there for 10+ years and haven't interviewed in forever and would possibly be considered on the older end of applicants, competing against newer (lower salaried) applicants for jobs; a friend who had put in an offer on her family's first home the day before.  Everyone cried some more and then everyone got really angry, and we all left the office for the day (management told us if we needed to take the day, that was understandable and so yes, we took the day).

Fifteen of us girls made our way to a local restaurant, set up shop at the bar, and ate nachos and potato skins and drank the afternoon away.  Seriously, we were there for five hours, and long after we'd stopped drinking (we did have to get home someway after all), we all just wanted to sit together and be close.  The hardest part of all of this was that I would be losing so many friends.  Yes, we live nearby each other for the most part, but we wouldn't be seeing each other every day, getting coffee together, ordering Thai on Fridays and gathering in a conference room for hours of calls that we had to sit in on.  And everyone knows how hard it is to stay in touch with so many people once your lives go a different way and the place that you met has become the dividing factor.  That day it just felt good to be together-- we cried and laughed and got ragey and told stories that were then considered fair game since we'd all just been laid off.  And I think that we all knew that once we left and went home, what had just happened would be real... and that was scary.

I did go home and Brian ordered pizza and I cried tears into my beer... and wine... and vodka, all through the weekend.  And let it be known that I was rocking the 21 Day Fix until that Friday-- I'd lost 7 pounds, and I fully intend to give it another go once things are back on track.  So I moped and gave myself the weekend to morning/day/night drink and feel really low and bad about myself and the entire situation, but then I started to see the light at the end of this really shitty tunnel.  

I've known for a long time that there was nowhere for me to go at my job-- to move up a step would be completely changing my career path into a division that I've never had any interest in.  But the commute was convenient and I loved my work family, so I let myself get complacent.  In the back of my mind, I always knew that I was going to be 30 in December and that if I was ever going to make a change, I needed to do so pronto, but I didn't know what I really wanted to do.  I'm very much a control freak and as much as I hated being forced to leave this job, since it wasn't on my own terms, I considered the nudge/push/kick out the door a blessing in disguise.  It's led me to applying to every job that I see that sounds fun-- imagine that?  I'm obviously still seeking out jobs that are aligned with for my background experience, but if I see read the description of a job that makes me think "I would love to do that every day!" I'm applying.  I'm letting myself be a little bit picky.  We received a severance package and I just went through the experience of applying for unemployment so I keep reminding myself that everything is going to be okay.  It may not happen immediately, but I'm doing everything that I can and am making the most of this time off.

Being home all day, every day the last three days has been... interesting.  I'm giving myself a project every day so that I don't lose my mind, and that's helping.  Molly is certainly happy to have me home, although I think she's kind of wondering why I'm here disrupting her routine.  The house has never been cleaner, the laundry is all folded and put away, I'm sitting outside and reading for an hour every day while Molly plays, and dinner is ready when Brian walks in the door after work.  I do love playing the housewife, but I also need to get out-- we have a little lunch planned today for our friends from the group of Phase 1 layoffs (including myself) and a few of the girls who are still working and waiting for their day (next Friday).  I then plan to head to the DMV to get my license changed to my married name, and then Brian and I are going to Home Depot to pick up tons of stuff to work in our yard this weekend.

Everything is going to be okay-- it may be crazy, it may be unexpected, it may be a little scary, but it's going to be okay.

And thank you to my amazing husband, family, friends, and blog world lovelies who have been so supportive throughout all of this-- y'all are without a doubt my rocks.

Checking in...

Well, without saying too much, things have been all over the place in my life these last couple of weeks.  I not only haven't really felt like blogging, but I'm not really able to share much about what's going on, and since that's been the only thing on my mind... I've been quiet.  

No worries-- I'm fine, Brian's fine, we're fine as a couple, Molly's fine, our families are fine, and there's no baby announcement or anything coming along.  I'll share more when I can, and when I feel up to it, but for now, know that I'm trucking along and will be back with A LOT to say very, very soon.

Weekend Recap

Brian and I have had the HBO documentary "Citizenfour" saved on our DVR for over a month now and finally decided to watch it last night, thinking we wouldn't be too into it and it would just be background noise during dinner.  Well, fast forward to two hours later and we were both completely sucked in-- if you're not familiar with the film, a documentary filmmaker and a reporter traveled to Hong Kong in 2013 to meet with and interview Edward Snowden, and everything surrounding these couple of weeks when he first starts sharing his information, and when the "leaks" starts being released to the media, is documented.  It was really interesting, so much so that we didn't get to bed until midnight... and I am dragging today to show for it.

Aside from needing an I.V. drip of coffee this morning, I would say that we had a pretty successful weekend.  I love starting the weekend off with a clean house but I hate spending my Saturday morning doing the actual cleaning, so since Friday night is always our low key night anyways, I've made it my own little routine to come home after work and get the house in order.  There are few things better to me than waking up early on Saturday morning to a clean, fresh smelling house (Weird?  Maybe.  Worth it!).  So I did my cleaning, we ate a random supper and watched Dateline (I promise we aren't always this lame) and headed to bed relatively early.  

Saturday I was up before the sun to get to my favorite 6:45am BodyPump class, and followed that up with another half hour on the Arc Trainer-- it's been a while since I got a really good workout in, and it felt amazing!  From there I made my rounds at Trader Joe's and Target, and added this to my list of things to buy for the older of our two sweet nieces-- the tassels on that coverup are too much!  

After breakfast and coffee, I somehow convinced Brian that we needed to swing by Ikea while we were out furniture shopping, and to him, that is basically a death wish.  I have to admit, the thought of Ikea is always so exciting, but once you're inside, with a million other people and the smell of Swedish meatballs lingering in the air, something lights a fire under me to get in and out PRONTO.  At one point, as we rounded a corner, we overheard a woman talking to another shopper and saying "Oh, we've been here for 3 1/2 hours already!" with a smile on her face.  And they were only halfway through the store!  Needless to say, we came home with a bookcase and a desk lamp for the office that we made a beeline for-- hoping to get that put together tonight!  Husband of the Year Award goes to this guy, who asked me as soon as we stepped through the sliding doors, "What are we here for and when can we leave?"  Hey, I need someone's muscles to lift that horrendously heavy box onto the steery wagon... thing.   

We left Ikea and made the rounds to the local furniture stores, on the hunt for a new dresser and chest of drawers and unfortunately had zero luck.  Everything that we found was either too light in color, too bulky, too cheap looking, or we loved the style but not the color, or the color and not the style.  It was exhausting, and we were both over it after a few hours.  I randomly checked one of my favorite local furniture websites on the drive home and it was like the sun shone down on my iPhone as I spotted a style exactly like a set that we had just loved, but that only came in Cottage White, Night Sky Black, or Country Oak (gag).  I excitedly clicked on the picture to see color options and low and behold, it came in a white, an oak-y color, and the perfect espresso-ish color that we had been looking for.  Their name for it?  MERLOT.  It's like it was meant to be!  I immediately called the store and they said that they had both pieces that we were looking for on display, but not in the Merlot color, but they had a nightstand in Merlot, so we could get an idea of the color plus the size of the set we needed.  I told them we would be in first thing Sunday morning to check things out, and felt like my furniture good deed for the day was done.

We were starving at this point, so after hurrying home to let Molly out and feed her supper, we headed out to dinner ourselves... to Longhorn Steakhouse.  Brian had been craving ribs, and I could order supper and still keep it 21DF-friendly, so that's where we went.  We realized it was the ultimate of chain restaurants and I couldn't help but laugh-- when my hometown got a Chili's right when I started high school, it was THE place to be, whereas Brian's little beach town where he grew up doesn't even have a drive-thru, just lots of original restaurants, which are fantastic and charming, so he didn't really "do" chain restaurants growing up.  Meanwhile, I still love a good Chili's stop every once in awhile!  All I could think of was the Will & Grace episode where W&G's best friends avoid plans with them in the city so they can dine at their favorite restaurant in the suburbs-- The Olive Garden, and W&G are just blown away at the tackiness of a coupon-crazy Italian spot in the SUBURBS of all places.  Gah, I loved that show.  Anywho, we wrapped up the evening with "Whiplash"-- basically, it was fantastic.  And I love Miles-- such a cutie! 

Sunday morning, we all slept in, which I never do, but it was much needed.  We had a lazy start with "Sunday Morning" on CBS (my guilty pleasure) and a late breakfast and lots of coffee, then Brian ran to the grocery store for me while I took Molly on a long walk.  Wouldn't it figure that even though I'm the one that braved the cold for her and scooped up her poop, as soon as we were back home, she set-up her spot at the door waiting for Brian?

We dilly-dallied around the house for a bit then got ready to head over to the furniture store.  It was the best shopping trip ever-- we basically walked in the doors, found the set, and ordered it.  In and out in 20 minutes!  These are our pretties-- I'm obsessed with the color!  

The rest of my afternoon consisted of getting a much needed mani/pedi, while Brian touched up a few icky spots on the navy walls in the office.  Molly stayed in the sun for as long as she could eek out a few more minutes of the warmth-- I don't blame her.

All in all, I'd call it a successful weekend!  Back to the routine today, but at least the temperatures are supposed to hit 60 on Thursday-- finally!!  

five on friday: furniture, house pretties, wanderlust and white jeans!

Happy Friday, friends!  Let's get right to this, shall we? 

one. married people furniture
We are finally, finally going to buy our bedroom furniture this weekend!  It feels like such a grown up (and expensive) thing to do, but I think having this done will really start to make our bedroom feel like my happy little retreat, pronto.  We debated between darker furniture and white/cream and I think we're now leaning more towards The Dark Side.  I may very well change my mind once we're at the furniture store tomorrow, but as of now, these are a few ideas that I'm pulling inspiration from:

two. the upholstered headboard
Speaking of "married people furniture," we finally pulled the trigger on our new upholstered headboard and I am beside myself trying to wait for it to be delivered!  We ultimately chose this pretty from none other than Target, mainly because I was nervous about ordering from somewhere else and having issues returning it should it not be ideal for the space.  As far as I can tell, it's going to be perfect.

three. spring has (not) sprung 
Just when the snow has started to melt and I have high hopes for sunny spring days, we have snow in the forecast tonight.  I'm choosing to ignore this and instead focus on the big ideas that we have lined up for our yard (once we can finally get to the grass!):
adirondacks for the backyard...

adding a portico to the front of our house for a little character...

building up as many flowerbeds as i can fit in the yard...

... and a red front door is a must!

four. wanderlust
I'm planning a big ol' post next week about all of the places we're hoping to travel in the next few years, but as for now, I'm daydreaming of any/all of these locales.  Toes in the sand while sipping on a beverage?  Yes, please!
bora bora

the maldives


st. john

five. the white season
Lastly, is it time for the return of white pants yet?  Because these darling outfits are calling my name.

Have a wonderful weekend, lovelies!

Take a chill pill.

Lately, I've realized that I've been feeling a little on edge... often.  There's no particular reason that I can think of, just the regular day-to-day agenda: eat/sleep/work, taking care of Molly, doing little things to make our house a home, spending time in the evenings/weekend with Brian.  But for me, the little things that need to get done and are on my neverending "to do" list tend to compound into one big "OMG what/when/how am I going to get this done?!?" very, very quickly.  

I am admittedly 150% Type A.  High maintenance, easily wound up, very competitive and self-critical, and things have to be done RIGHT NOW THIS VERY SECOND.  Delightful, right?  In my defense, I get things done, and I do them well, and thankfully Brian is the complete opposite so he balances my crazy out when I get a little too highstrung (bless him).  I also know that I want to take way too much on sometimes, and that's my own fault, but I get so much happiness and pleasure out of completing a.  

Take today, for example: I ran to HomeGoods on my lunch break for a little breather, with the intention of finding two bedroom lamps, small lamps for our built-ins, a few pictures frames, sheets for the guest bedroom, and a few things for Easter.

I left the store with a bag of Lindt Easter truffles (for my own Easter basket, post-21DF), an Easter candy bowl, two Easter mugs and a tiny ceramic bunny.

Basically nothing that I needed.  I know that I would have felt better if I left having spent money on the things that I actually needed for the house, but as I circled the aisles, all I could notice were the women around me who had baskets full of awesome, coordinating... stuff, things that I would never see on a shelf and put together to match in a room.  That stresses me out-- I can earmark a thousand catalog pages and Pin a million things, but when it comes time to recreate something on my own, I shut down and cannot make a decision to save my life.  So I buy things like ceramic bunnies and candy that I can't eat for three weeks.

Long story short, I desperately need to take a chill pill.  I was thinking last night that I had way more time for fun stuff before we moved into our house, which makes no sense, but I was more relaxed!  I would take an afternoon to go browse Michael's and Pier1, get a mani/pedi, stroll through Target, etc. without hesitation.  I love to craft and would spend hours putting together a holiday wreath or banner or some other project that I found on Pinterest.  All in all, I don't take time for myself as much any more, and I think that leads to the stress-- I come home, take Molly out and play with her for a bit, get dinner started, pick up Brian from the commuter rail, and by the time we've cooked and eaten dinner, we're both worn smooth out so we catch up on the DVR and chat on the couch until it's time for bed.  It's a nice routine, but I need to shake it up a bit.  

I've decided to start making a little list each month of things that need to get done, and things that I would like to get done.  Oddly enough, lists keep me sane, and remind me to do the fun little stuff in addition to the boring grown-up things.

On my fun little list for the rest of March...
-Print, frame and mail my Grandpa wedding pictures (he was unable to attend and I'm doubting he's seen any pictures from the big day).

-Get a mani/pedi this weekend with a fun spring color (any of these will do...):

-Make an Easter wreath for our front door, and put a fun vignette together for our entry table-- these pretties have caught my eye!:

Hopefully these little projects and treats will help me to slow down and smell the roses (if this snow ever melts and we can see them)!

Dwell: In the Navy

When Brian and I first saw our house, way before we'd made an offer, we noticed that the majority of the rooms were painted super neutral colors, which was a plus for us.  We didn't want to have to paint right away if it wasn't necessary, and after seeing so many homes with wallpapered walls and primary-colored kitchens, we were ready to just move-in and relax.  We really lucked out with how little we've had to do since moving in, and now that we've been settled for a few months we're excited to take on home improvement projects here and there.  

Our first task was painting our master bedroom, which went so incredibly smoothly.  The walls had been a taupe-y grey color, which was okay, but it just made the room feel a little dark with the hardwoods.  I had my heart set on BM "Revere Pewter" and went out in the icy snow one day to buy a gallon of the paint.  We started painting around 11am the next day and by 7pm that evening, the entire bedroom was finished, and we seriously felt like pros.  

"Who the heck needs to hire painters?  That paint went on like butter, we covered the room seamlessly and have a ton of paint leftover-- high five!"

We would walk by the room and pat ourselves on the back because of how good it looked.  And I truly was impressed by the quality of the paint-- it was primer/paint in one, and took one coat to cover our large, rectangular room.  And I'll definitely show pictures of the before/after once we get the furniture and everything put together and arranged-- it's looking a little "broke college student" at the moment, with no headboard and a mismatched dresser and chest of drawers.  

So, after a few days of gloating, Brian made the bold statement one evening that we should just knock out our next painting project the following weekend.  We knew that we wanted to get our home office set-up, so decided that would be the room.  Now, remember the neutral colors that I mentioned?  Every room in the house was great (for now) except for the two rooms that were the previous owners kids bedrooms.  One was lilac purple, and one sky blue.  The office was the lilac: 

Picture from the house listing

I was originally thinking that I would paint the office a warm gray color, add lots of white and pink... basically pretty... basic.  Well, after wandering around on Pinterest for a few days, it struck me-- we needed a navy room.  As you can see in the picture above, we're lucky enough to have beautiful hardwoods that are in great condition all through the house, and white crown molding throughout the bedrooms and the living room.  The more pictures that I found of navy walls contrasted with white crown molding and hardwoods, the more easily I was convinced that this was meant to be.  Surprisingly, Brian was entirely on board and we settled on deciding between two paints-- BM "Hale Navy" and SW "Naval."  

Now, as I said, we LOVED the BM paint that we used in the master.  It sounds silly, but it just went on so smoothly and covered so well, so I was determined that there was no reason to change brands.  Brian insisted that SW had an equally good reputation, so I agreed to bend a little and try it because I really had no other argument except "But Benjamin Moore went on like butter!", and the colors were admittedly pretty similar.  We headed to our local SW, chose the paint (again, with primer included), had it mixed and went home to get set-up.  I don't have the patience to paint and "cut in" around the trim and windows, so Brian started that (annoying, God-awful) project as I rolled my roller in the gorgeous, blue paint and made my first swipe on the wall.

"Um, Brian?  This paint is kind of... gloopy?"
"What does that even mean?"
"Well, look at it.  It's really thick and it's not covering the purple all that well.  And look-- the more I roll over it to cover, the more paint comes up."
"I bet you're just pressing to hard."
*This would be the part where he takes the roller and gets the exact same result that I just did.* 
"I don't get it.  What's wrong with it?"

And the debate started. We are both perfectionists but see perfection differently.  After painting a quarter of the wall, I realized that if I went back and painted over the first area, after it had time to dry a bit, then the area would be fully covered and it looked fantastic.  If I tried to paint over an area that was still too wet, the paint would all just come up and you could see straight through to the purple again.  Brian wanted to just keep rolling over the same area, and use a ton of paint, which wasn't going on smoothly because there was so much.  I told him to just keep working on the trim and that I would figure it out, which was a good solution for around 2 minutes, and then he came back to try and figure it out again.  We finally realized that it would make sense to just do a base layer on the entire room, let it semi-dry, and do a second coat.  This would also mean we would need more paint.

At this point we had been painting for three hours and only had 1 1/4 walls finished.  We were quickly running out of paint, and morale was low.

I informed Brian that he needed to leave right then, immediately, to get food and another gallon of paint.  In all honesty, I needed his obsessive self to give me a breather for half an hour.  And he did.  He came back with paint and pizza and beers, and I had managed to paint half of what we had left (shocking how much you can get done when you aren't having to constantly say "I said just leave it alone!  I just tried that sp-- what did I tell you?  Now the paint that I had there just fine came up!").  We refueled, and foraged on.

Around 8pm that night, we finally finished.  It's not perfect, and we still have a few touch-ups that need to be done where the paint just got spotty as it got later/darker during the day.   But for the most part, I think it looks pretty darn good considering it nearly drove us to the nuthouse.  I kept telling myself "If we can survive painting this room, our marriage can survive anything."  We were definitely painting newbies, and what we realized is that our bedroom was so easy because we painted light over dark, so it covered really easily.  This room was painting SUPER dark over a bright purple, so it was naturally going to take more than one coat.  Had we gone into the process knowing that, I think it would have gone over much more smoothly altogether.  The guy at SW who sold us the navy paint even told Brian, when he went back in for gallon #2, that had he known what we were painting over, he would have advised us to buy two gallons to be safe-- annoying, but mainly our fault.

We still need to replace the ceiling fan (notice the pastel butterflies) and obviously clean the mess off of the floor (Molly ran in mid-paint fiasco with that JCrew shoebox in her mouth and it momentarily broke the tension-- bless her), but as of now we've added a desk: 

And we have a new desktop computer set-up.  I initially wanted the desk kind of in the middle of the room, like in the picture above, but that doesn't really work with all of the wires of a desktop, so we've since moved it against the window and it looks much better.  We still need a rug, a bookcase, filing cabinet, and a tall table on the other side of the room for my craft area, and to hang everything on the walls.  After surviving the painting, that's all easy peasy stuff that we can do along the way.  And once the room is fully finished, I'll certainly be sharing a picture!

Was it stressful painting the room?  Yes.  Would I tell any other married couple do also attempt painting on their own?  HECK yes.  Seriously, it was so fun.  We drove each other nuts, but it's neat to peek in the room and know that we took that project on together and that it actually looks pretty darn good.  I LOVE the navy.  Love love love it.  It pops so nicely against the floors and the molding, and the white furniture that we're (slowly) adding to the room.  If you're considering painting, DO IT.  Have fun and be ready for a little tension, but the end result is so worth it.

Now, for an important question-- what color rug would you put in this room?  We're sticking with white furniture, so I'm open to the rug being a pop of color, but am also open to a neutral like gray/white.  I've seen a handful of great navy/white rugs but am thinking that would possibly be preppy overkill. 

And, because I can't let one of my favorite days of the year go by unnoticed...

Happy St. Paddy's from my best Irish lass(ie)!!