A Tale of Two Proposals

He asked me to marry him. I said yes. The end! :)

Oh, you wanted more details? Well here is the longer version …

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my two favorite rings

As you know, Christmas is my favorite holiday. I grew up celebrating at my grandparents’ house in Oklahoma and can count on one hand (with fingers to spare) the number of times that I didn’t make it. Now that I live so far away and my parents are divorced, I really cherish the week I usually spend at “home” that time of year. (It may be like a scene out of Four Christmases, but I love our traditions.) So even as Dave and I became more serious, we spent Christmas with our respective families and met up for New Years.

This past year was no different. Dave went to his mom’s with the pups in time for his sister’s birthday on December 21. I stayed in DC until December 23, when I flew to Dallas for Christmas #1 of 5 … Continue reading

Of House and Home: The Man Cave

Every time we looked at a house that was seemingly “perfect,” Dave would hesitate if it did not have a basement. He’s dreamed of his “Dave Cave” for quite some time, and to be honest, I wanted him to have a space to watch Villanova basketball or jam on the drums so that I could watch Grey’s Anatomy or figure skating in the other living area.

After being in for a few months now, I am oh so happy that this house has just that.

It took a little work to make it the perfect cave it is today, but I think it’s the greatest transformation of the house, with the kitchen coming in close second.

When we first walked in, it was not very warm or welcoming, nor did it have the necessary cave-like feel. Bulkheads came down in a couple of areas, the floor was an ugly beige tile and walls were stark white.

Behind the living area of the basement was a laundry room and another full bath, which were two huge pluses for Capitol Hill homes, and totally checked additional boxes on the wish list.

It needed work, but we absolutely saw potential! So up came the tile and down came those bulkheads, which turned out to be unnecessary, over-sized ductwork.

Oh, and we also took everything out of the bathroom to start fresh.

As I mentioned before, we stopped by nearly every day before moving in to check on progress, meet with the contractor and make various decisions. It was unnerving to see it all so torn up, but also a bit thrilling. Dave made sure to lighten the mood … looking at me through the hole between the kitchen and our guest bedroom on the floor above.

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After picking out three different kinds of tile, two different paint shades, a vanity and a toilet, we were almost set. The bathroom came together nicely – and we even were able to hide the pipe that used to run across the wall! (I won’t get into details about the trouble getting the glass. It’s in now, and that’s all that matters. Right?)

For the living area we decided to go with a laminate wood flooring, but the one we really wanted was a special order item, so we had to go with our second favorite. In the end, we were so pleased with how well it turned out – much warmer than the other flooring would have been.

So that’s it! The “Dave Cave” is a reality and has even already had some big time excitement — our friends Matthew and Justin got engaged in the basement on New Year’s Eve!

And with this post, I am happy to say that the reno updates are finished for now! Of course there are other projects on the list, but they will be minor in comparison. The most pressing item is to get some landscaping done … any green thumbs out there want to give me ideas? Please!

Where does the time go?

It has been two months since I’ve written a post. Well, actually two months since I posted. I began a couple of posts here and there, but nothing was coming out right so I ended up deleting the drafts. As much as I love writing – and love hearing from you! – I needed a break. Even though I felt motivated and wanted to write, there were a million other things to do for work, around the house and in preparation for the holidays. Now I am getting my feet back under me and can’t wait to share all that has been going on! Here is just a quick recap, mostly in pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Thanksgiving
We had a wonderful Turkey Day complete with family, friends and Mama Merin’s mashed potato casserole! The holiday started off in the best way possible – with a last-minute notice from the boss man that we would have Wednesday off. Dave and I celebrated in true American fashion … with dinner in Chinatown!

Starting off the #thanksgiving holiday right – with Chinese food!

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Wednesday we picked up Dave’s mom from Union Station, which was decked out for the holidays. So pretty despite the rain!

I made up a turkey brine with lots of herbs and then Dave took it from there for his second annual beer-can turkey. It really makes it super juicy!

Boiling the brine – sage, rosemary and thyme! #thanksgiving #turkey

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beer can #turkey in the oven!

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^^ We were surprised it fit in the oven! ^^

Our good friends Josh and Olivia came over and we had a potluck style meal that included Dave’s beer-can turkey, Josh’s deep fried turkey, mashed potato casserole, brussels sprouts, spicy mac and cheese and MORE.

#thanksgiving dinner = wonderful day with family, friends, good food and #wine!

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Daisy spent the day like the princess she is, perched in front of the door just watching the world go by.

Daisy is #thankful for her squirrel watching spot by the front door!

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Christmas (aka the MOST wonderful time of the year!)
Hands down, Christmas is my favorite holiday and truly the most wonderful time of the year. Even though we had fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, this year I felt even more full of the spirit. One of my favorite places in town at this time is the Willard. They really deck the halls and all who enter are greeted nightly by carolers in the lobby.

One of #thistown's prettiest spots at #Christmas #tistheseason

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Happy holidays caroling from The Willard Hotel #tistheseason

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Back in Texas for a week, I got to spend a lot of time with family and friends.

Playtime with this cutie!! #myshadow today #lovelovelove

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^^ my shadow Silvia ^^

Visiting with my favorite little family @carinasby

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^^ my favorite little family – meeting Leo for the first time ^^

Real Christmas lights – Texas style!! #merrychristmas #tistheseason

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^^ Christmas lights (Texas style!) with mom ^^

^^ Lola got so many toys from Grandma, she didn’t know which to play with! ^^

Ringing in the New Year
Dave and I originally wanted to go to Europe for New Year’s, but decided it wasn’t the most responsible decision after everything with the house. So instead we spent the evening at our new home with some old friends! It turned out to be very eventful as my Aggies pulled off a great comeback in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Game, and then just after our midnight kiss and toast, Justin proposed to Matthew!!

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First #selfie of 2014! 🎉💋 Happy New Year!!

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^^ the proposal happened as this happened – our first selfie of 2014 ^^

In other news it’s been very cold here! Daisy doesn’t particularly like it, but at least she looks cute in her coat :)

Ready to brave the #polarvortex – she just needs booties and a scarf!

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Here’s a look at my instagram highlights from the past year…

A little late with this, but …

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And my calendar for the year ahead! I have always loved calendars, like since I was young it has been a tradition. Every Christmas I would get one, often picking it out myself at those little pop up kiosks in the mall. The past few years my favorite has been by Curly Girl Design. She has the best, BEST quotes and cute graphics.

I love the start of a new year! It’s full of reflection on memories past and hope for the future. Lately I’ve been thinking that the world might be a better place if we treated the start of each month as we do the start of the new year. I don’t mean we need to go out and party like it’s 1999 before the first of each month, but if we had the same resolve monthly as we do annually, there might be a bit more of that joie de vivre going around!

How were your holidays?
What’s your favorite thing about the New Year?
Do you think we should celebrate each new month in a similar way?