4th of July Travels

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend! Ours was quite a whirlwind and I thinkΒ it’s going to take us a few days to recoup. On Thursday night, we took a redeye flight to Vermont (with one layover) which was Claire’s first time on an airplane. She did an amazing job and got her first set of wings from the flight attendant! We’ll definitely have to put those in her baby book. Now, to find where I threw them in my carry-on. πŸ˜‰

She was amazing on the flights and slept through most of them. We used a Moby Wrap to carry her through the security lines and on the flights. We are so glad that we bought oneΒ before leaving on Thursday because it was such a huge help! We got so many comments from people telling us how cool it was on the flights. We have two other baby carriers but Claire is not the biggest fan of them right now; she seems to feel claustrophobic in them. The Moby Wrap is great for skin-to-skin contact and she loves it because it’s kind of like being swaddled mixed with cuddling with us. The facilitator of my mom’s group recommended it and I’m so glad she did.

Flight attendant: "Are you taking a selfie?" Me: "Yes but it's because we have to document our baby's first flight." Flight attendant: "OMG there's a baby in there!!"

Flight attendant: “Are you taking a selfie?” Me: “Well, we have to document our baby’s first flight!” Flight attendant: “OMG there’s a baby in there!!”

We flew back yesterday and have been resting ever since. The last flight was pretty long so I had to feed her a couple times and she was awake for half of that flight. She spent that time taking in the sights around her and was very smiley. She did get upset at one point because I think she got overwhelmed with the flight attendants ooogling over her cuteness. We were able to calm her down and she fell asleep soon after. She wasn’t bothered by the air pressure but I think that was due to me either feeding her right before, her sleeping, and/or sucking on her pacifier during each takeoff and landing. People sitting around us told us that she was the best baby they’ve ever flown with. We’re so lucky that she did so well.

Oh and apparently, Delta changed their preboarding policies and, on the last flight, they wouldn’t let us preboard because we didn’t have a stroller. What kind of policy change is that!?!? We were so mad. Boarding early with a newborn helps so much because it gives us time to get situated, change her diaper if needed, and feed her if she’s hungry. I honestly don’t understand why they would change their policy to only allow babies that have a stroller to board early but it’s dumb. We are definitely going to send them a complaint letter for that.

Other than that, our weekend was so fun. We went on a cruise on Lake Champlain on Friday night to kick off the wedding weekend celebrations which was amazing. The scenery was gorgeous and it was so great for Claire to meet some of our East Coast family members.

Spirit of Ethan Allen on Lake Champlain

Spirit of Ethan Allen on Lake Champlain

The following day, my niece got married overlooking a beautiful bay at a state park in Vermont. It was the perfect day for a wedding – it wasn’t muggy and the scenery was breathtaking. Not to mention, the bride was so stunning that I got goosebumps when I first saw her. Congratulations Alli and Ben! You are the sweetest couple and we’re so happy for you both.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Kingsland Bay State Park

Kingsland Bay State Park

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February Recap

Some of you might have been wondering where we were all of February – apologies for not providing many updates until now. Our month was extremely busy and it seems like as we get closer to Baby T’s arrival, we are getting busier and busier. Every night after work we have several items to cross off our to do list and every single weekend is jam packed with errands. We also try to make time for ourselves as a couple so that we aren’t too overworked and exhausted.

So what happened in February, you might ask?

  • Valentine’s Day – We always try to plan a date night on Valentine’s Day to celebrate so, this year, we went to an Italian restaurant in downtown Pleasanton for dinner. The food was delicious but the service could have been way better. Good thing we weren’t in a hurry because dinner took two hours (and no, it wasn’t a 5 course meal, they were just that slow). But let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day is really just the day before my sweet husband’s birthday. See below for what we did. πŸ™‚
  • CJ’s Birthday – For Christmas, I got CJ a beer brewing kit from Williams Sonoma (he’s always wanted to do this) and he’s been patiently waiting for it to arrive. It was on backorder until the end of January so he decided to save the activity for his birthday weekend. A couple of his friends came over and they spent the day in the kitchen prepping and brewing. It takes two weeks for it to ferment before it can get bottled and then he has to wait another two weeks before drinking. We’re crossing our fingers that it turned out well, you never know until it’s ready for drinking! Not to worry, I won’t be tasting any of the beer. That night, we went out to dinner with some of our friends to Sauced (a delicious BBQ place) in Livermore and came back to our house for a game night. It was such a busy day but a ton of fun!
After CJ's Birthday Dinner

After CJ’s Birthday Dinner

  • Abby – We spent our last weekend with my dog Abby on CJ’s birthday weekend. I will always be thankful that we were home to spend time with her during her last days and will forever cherish that time. People who have never had a dog or grown up with a dog will never truly understand the amount of pain and grief I’ve been going through over the last week but we lost a member of our family, not a pet. Abby was my best friend since I received her as a Christmas gift in December 1999 and has been there for me through the hardest and happiest times of my life. I think about her and miss her every day and no amount of preparation could have gotten me ready for such a loss. Abby had 9 lives and was able to persevere through so much in her way-too-short life so a part of me never thought I would see the day when I would have to say goodbye. In November 2012, she got extremely sick and we thought she was nearing the end of her life. The doctor told us that she had several days to maybe a week to live so we decided to bring her home so her last days could be spent in her home. I spent the next few days laying next to her crying and telling her how much I loved her. She was able to fight through that time but was never the same and, on February 18, she passed away in her sleep. Losing her is the most excruciating pain and heartache I’ve ever experienced and, like I said, no one truly understands if they haven’t gone through it. Thank you to our friends who reached out to us; we are so thankful to have you in our lives.
My best friend for the past 14 years.

My best friend for the past 14 years. I love that smile.

  • Babymoon – A gracious coworker gave us a voucher to Peppermill Resort in Reno to use for a two night stay that we just redeemed last weekend. It was a much needed weekend away after the stress from the week before and was a lot of fun. We won a jackpot (in my mind) on the penny slots and won a whopping $25!! I felt quite accomplished. We also explored a cute old west town called Virginia City and stopped in Truckee on our way back and bought some fun items. It was so nice to have a weekend away as a couple to just relax and not have to worry about our endless “to do” list. We definitely had a vacation hangover the following Monday as we just wanted to go back to the weekend and relax a bit more.
Driving up to Virginia City

Driving up to Virginia City

  • Nursery – It feels like every day we are getting a shipment or working on something for the baby room. It’s hard work but sooo worth it and we’re loving the process of getting it set up for Baby T!!
  • Adirondack Chairs – CJ finished painting them and they are now sitting on our porch. He did an amazing job! Maybe he’ll do a post on the final result soon πŸ˜‰

And that’s a general update for what we’ve been up to – there’s been so much more in the mix but what’s most important is that we are so thankful for the time we get to spend together over the next few months before our little girl arrives and can’t wait for her arrival.

Happy 1st Anniversary to Us!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we got married!!!

Our first dance as husband and wife

Our first dance as husband and wife

The weekend leading up to our wedding was the best weekend of our lives and our wedding day was simply perfect. Part of me would love to have a yearly reunion with all the people that made our day so special while the other part of me just wants to enjoy the day without having to plan something. πŸ™‚ What made it so special was not just the obvious part – marrying my best friend – but also being surrounded by all the people that we love the most in the world. It meant so much to us to have everyone there to support us and celebrate with us.

So much has happened in the past year – we bought a house, bought a car, remodeled our house (and furnished it!), CJ started a new job, started working on our yard, traveled to New York to visit one of our favorite people, visited our dear friends in Northern California to meet their adorable son, went to a wedding, and so much more! We loved every minute of it and can’t wait to see what’s in store for us for the next year (and the rest of our lives!). We know it will be filled with happiness.

To celebrate our anniversary, we took last Friday off and drove up to Mendocino for a relaxing weekend. But first, we stopped to pick up our 1st anniversary wedding cake and stopped by V. Sattui. It was quite a detour but totally worth it!

V. Sattui Anniversary Trip

We rented an adorable cottage in Little River that overlooked the ocean and spent time exploring the area. Neither of us have really been to Mendocino before (okay, so maybe CJ has when he was teeny tiny but too long ago for him to remember) so it was a lot of fun to see a new area. We went hiking around the cliffs, explored the cute little shops, and just enjoyed being together without any distractions.

Beautiful view!

Beautiful view!

Mendocino 2013

Mendocino 2013 Mendocino 2013

Tonight, we are going out to a fondue restaurant in Livermore to celebrate more. We’ve never been to this place but hope that it’s as delicious as The Melting Pot (my favorite restaurant in the world).

July Shutdown

I think it’s safe to say that last week was the most productive week at our house in the history of us owning it. Why do you ask? Well, first of all, I had the week off from work. My wonderful company shuts down the first week of July almost every year for the 4th of July holiday. It’s always wonderful to have a break especially when I had so many things on our “To Do” list! Second of all, we made a list of what we wanted to finish and we were able to check them all off AND MORE!

Here’s a list of what we accomplished:

  1. FINALLY hung blinds in the guest room, office, and TV room (7 sets of blinds, to be exact)
  2. Replaced all the door knobs in the house – they were mismatched (one side of the door was silver, other side gold) so as stylish as they were, they had to go. Not to mention, they were old and were painted over so they definitely needed to be replaced.
  3. Retextured the walls in the formal living room and hallway (we hired someone to do this, not our area of expertise) – 2 day job
  4. Painted the formal living room and hallway
  5. Deep cleaned the entire house
  6. Replaced the shower curtain in the guest bath – the one we originally bought did not match the sink as well as I wanted and it drove me nuts
  7. Hung up the wedding gift painting
  8. Hung up a window picture frame in the TV room
  9. Found curtains for the TV room – just need to buy them πŸ™‚
  10. Removed a bunch of extra bricks in the front yard
I’m a list maker and I’m quite proud of the fact that the entire list was completed.
The formal living room looks so different painted that I do a double take every time I walk through it. For the past 6 months, it’s been a storage room/hallway/assembly space so it’s weird to see it actually come together as a room. We absolutely love it and can’t wait to add in the final touches (which sounds like there isn’t much left, but there is!).

This was my view of the living room on Day 1 of the retexturing

Another highlight of last week was that we had a very furry house guest! Our dog Abby, who lives with my parents, stayed over for the week while my parents were on a fun vacation on Maine. It was so fun to have her here even though we still find tufts of hair throughout the house to this day. It’s actually weird to walk into the kitchen, living room, or garage and not see her there. We definitely miss her already.

The cutest corgi you will ever meet

At the end of the week, we headed over to my parents’ beautiful cabin in the Sierra mountains and relaxed for the weekend. It was definitely a well-deserved mini-vacation and we can’t wait to go back. We went to Lake Alpine one day to lay out on the rocks and eat lunch, went to an Independence Day Celebration at Ironstone Vineyards (complete with wine tasting, delicious food, live music, and fireworks), made mouth-watering home cooked meals, and just relaxed. We don’t get up to the mountains often enough so we need to make more of an effort to visit there.

At Ironstone

At Ironstone enjoying the concert

The beautiful fireworks!

We got awesome photos!

Chicago Recap

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since our trip to Chicago! Time flies by when you’re having a blast πŸ™‚

Chicago was a weekend filled with family, fun, and adorable houses (as I mentioned before). We had a late flight into O’Hare on Friday night so we weren’t able to see much of the city until Saturday.

On Saturday, we rode the train in and wandered around the city. We saw the “Bean”, Buckingham Fountain, the area where they have concerts in the summer (it was super cool looking! I just don’t remember what it was called), Millenium Park, ate deep dish pizza (a must), and went shopping! It was soo much walking so I probably should have worn walking shoes (story of my life). πŸ™‚ 

Here are a few pictures from our visit to Chicago:

Our ride into Chicago!

Had to take a photo in front of the tulips!
Millenium Park

The Bean!

Definitely experienced the “Windy City”!
Buckingham Fountain

Suzanne graduated from Wheaton college the next day which also happened to be Mother’s Day so we cooked a Mother’s Day brunch for our amazing moms and then proceeded to run off to the graduation festivities! The graduation was probably one of the best I’ve been to – it went by quickly and they had great speakers.

Hairdresser/paparazzi for Suzanne! Look at the focus!

We were so sad to go home the next morning but are grateful that we were able to make the most of the weekend!

Hello June!

Oh man, May really did a number on us. 3/4 weekends in May were spent traveling.

The first weekend, I flew to Las Vegas for a bachelorette party. The second weekend, we flew to Chicago for my sister-in-law’s college graduation. The third weekend, we went to a fundraiser for one of my coworkers in Fremont. The last weekend, we flew to NYC to visit one of our friend’s that lives in the East Village. Sooo much traveling but sooo much fun at the same time. I have to admit, I am SO happy to be home to relax, catch up on sleep, and work on the house.

CJ and I at the Natural History Museum in NYC
CJ’s one request was to see the T-Rex behind us πŸ™‚

While I was in Las Vegas, CJ pulled out all of the plants in our front yard (which is a HUGE job). Our amazing neighbor helped CJ by tying the hedges to the back of his truck and pulling them out with a bit of horsepower. It definitely saved a ton of time! We’re so lucky to have such helpful neighbors.

It looks so naked right now but it’s going to look so amazing when it’s all done!! We had a landscape designer come over 2 weeks ago to look at our yard and do a mockup of the landscaping. We absolutely love what she came up with so now we just need to figure out when we’ll do all this planting. (Now’s the time that we would love a ton of volunteers to help us with this!! **Hint hint nudge nudge**)

Here’s what our yard looked like before:

Our house in February
And here’s what it looks like without all the hedges:
Our house yesterday πŸ™‚
It’s so much more open without the hedges! We can’t wait to start planting and making the front of the house more cozy. In the meantime, we’re just excited we don’t have to accidentally walk through a spiderweb that appeared overnight in between those hedges.
Other than that, we’re slowly starting to get frames and decorative items for the house but it’s is a veryyyy slow process. We want to make sure we make the right decision for each item so we’re definitely taking our time.
I’ll try to be better about posting this month now that we aren’t traveling as much!! I’ll try to do a recap of our trips to Chicago and New York!

Inspired by Illinois Homes

We went to Chicago last weekend for CJ’s sister’s graduation from Wheaton College and not only did we have a ton of fun, but we also fell in love with the adorable homes! Not enough to move there, don’t worry. πŸ™‚ But enough to motivate us to “leverage” some of their interior design ideas.

The house that we stayed at was built around the same time as our house and I loved how they worked with the quirkiness of a house built in the 50’s to make it cozy, adorable, and stylish. For instance, in the bathroom (one of my favorite places in their house), they had the most adorable doorknobs (probably from Cost Plus World Market or Anthropologie), bathmat, shower curtain, and decorations on top of the toilet. I took a few photos with my phone (I promise, I’m not a creeper) so I could remember what they had done.

Cute little decorations on their toilet. I love the little couple kissing. She said that she bought them in Sweden.

I should have taken pictures of the rest of the house but, since we were out allll day errrrday doing fun activities, it was too late to be starting a photoshoot when we got back. They also had a ton of adorable photos from their wedding and engagement shoot throughout their house which I loved. One of their frames was an old window and they put the photos in each glass pane. SO cute. I really should have taken a picture of that one. Here’s one that looks similar:

They had it propped on top of their mantel. That’s not an option for us since we have a TV over our mantel but I’m sure we could find another place or hang it on the wall just like the photo above.
Another house that we visited was built in the craftsman style to match the original houses from that era and it was sooooo gorgeous. 
I sent my sister several photos of their craft room because it seriously was unbelievable and so organized. CJ and I also took a few mental notes from that house.
CJ’s sister contacted one of her friends that has an interior designer as a mother-in-law and said that I wanted to tour their house (since she had been listening to me rave about the cuteness of the houses all weekend). Oh my, this one was soo cute too! We took several photos of their house for inspiration. Our favorite parts were their photo arrangements in the hallway, decorations in the family room, office, and master bedroom. Okay, so maybe their whole house was our favorite part. Unfortunately, they’re selling their house so they won’t be there for much longer. They’re moving to Santa Barbara (so exciting for them!) so they will be starting the decorating process all over again once they find a home there.
We got home feeling extra inspired and headed over to Cost Plus World Market to get some fun doorknobs for our hallway cabinet. The cabinet is a bit old and we’re not planning on replacing it anytime soon, if ever, so we wanted to spice it up. We decided on the ones below and installed them right when we got home. 
New (on the top) vs. old knobs
A close up – LOVE the design on the knob!!

It only took about 5 minutes to put them on. They were $4 each and make the cabinets look so different!! It’s amazing how such a small change can make such a big impact.

Finished product
Have you ever visited someones house and felt inspired to adapt some of their ideas for your house?

What Have We Been Up To?

Wow, lately we’ve been slacking a bit on the blog updates. I’d like to say there was a good excuse for not posting in the last two weeks but, the truth of the matter is that we really haven’t had much to talk about. We took a break from making changes to the house for a couple of weeks.

Two weekends ago, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by going on a brew crawl in downtown Pleasanton which was a ton of fun! Because Pleasanton doesn’t really have that many bars, 27 of the local businesses opened up their doors for the brew crawl and they each served a different type of beer along with a snack. We’ve been meaning to go to downtown Pleasanton to explore since it’s so adorable so this was the perfect opportunity to see all of the cute little shops. We also went our ring bearer’s 2nd birthday party, and wine tasting in Napa! It was a busy weekend but so much fun.

Last Saturday, we bought a table lamp for our nightstand from Cost Plus World Market. CJ and I like to read in bed at night before going to sleep and we always hated having to climb out of the warm bed to shut off the lights, so having a lamp in arm’s reach is pretty amazing. Not to mention, it’s extremely adorable. I’ll post a picture of the lamp soon, just need to upload it from my camera. Next up for our bedroom – picking some photos to frame and hang above the bed. I think it would be nice to use some of our wedding photos.

Last Sunday, we worked on cleaning up the backyard, the front yard, and scrubbing down the entire house. We also FINALLY found an entertainment center to house the millions of cords and electronics that have been living on the floor for the past month. It’s been driving me nuts to see all the clutter sitting on the floor so I can’t wait for it to be delivered!! Our furniture guy told us that it will be delivered this week, woo hoo!

Our new entertainment center!
Once we have that delivered, we’re going to pick out some curtains to hang up on either side of the fireplace. That will soften up the area and hide the outlets that are in random areas of the wall.

Meeting Young House Love Couple!!

My sister texted me on Friday afternoon asking how far away Palo Alto was from where I am. I asked, “How far away from my office, new house, or Mom & Dad’s house?” It’s funny I have to ask that but they are all in different areas, which totally changes the driving time. Eventually, she let me know the reason for her inquisition – Sherry & John Petersik, the bloggers and adorable couple that created the Young House Love blog, were going to be in Palo Alto for their book signing.

CJ and I found Young House Love a few months ago when we started to brainstorm how we wanted to decorate our house. We both, independently, Googled “young couple house” (or something along those lines) and stumbled upon this wonderful blog. I immediately fell in love with their blog and soonafter found out that they had written a book!

We drove over to Palo Alto Sunday morning and arrived about 30 minutes early for the book opening. The line was already down the block but we were willing to wait. After the signing started, we were ushered into West Elm where the line snaked through the entire store. Since they are super friendly and talkative, it took a while for us to get our books signed but finally it was our turn!

Katie had just met them the day before at their Portland book signing and let them know that her sister would be attending their book signing in Palo Alto. They promised that they would remember that I was coming because, apparently, John has two sisters named Katie and Emily! What are the odds! So when we walked up to introduce ourselves, I started with, “My sister was at your book signing yesterday in Portland” and they immediately screamed out “You’re Emily!!” and paused before quietly saying “…or Katie?” just to make sure they didn’t mix up who they met yesterday. It was so exciting that they remembered and they truly are sweethearts!

CJ and I took a picture with them that, in my opinion, turned out a bit awkward but I’ll share it anyway. Awkward because I didn’t want to stand in the middle due to being challenged in the height department (I was afraid my face would get blocked). So, I’m just lingering on the side while CJ is standing behind them in the middle like a normal person. Oh well, it was still fun to get a picture with them.

If you haven’t read their blog before, you definitely should! You’ll get hooked instantly.

Back in Business

Last Saturday was my birthday so we took the weekend off from house stuff and blogging to relax and celebrate. After constantly working on picking wall colors, furniture, decorations, tile, cabinets, and whatever else, we needed a little break.

CJ found an awesome website that has cheap activities in the San Francisco area so we decided to take advantage of that and explore some new areas. On Saturday, we attempted to go horseback riding in Woodside (which is an adorable town, by the way!) and, even though the website said they didn’t require reservations, they were booked the whole day. Such a bummer but we did see a cute new area and had fun exploring.

With one of the horses before we knew we couldn’t go horseback riding

That night, we continued our yearly tradition of going to my favorite restaurant, The Melting Pot, with my parents. This was the 6th year in a row that we’ve been there for my birthday. As always, it was delicious and we had a ton of fun. If you haven’t gone to a fondue restaurant before, you should go! It’s amazing.

At The Melting Pot celebrating my birthday
On Sunday, we found another cheap activity that we were successful at attending! In Half Moon Bay, they were hosting the Mavericks Invitational surf competition and the tickets were only $10 a piece! Although the surfing wasn’t visible from the shore, they had over 30,000 people in attendance with a huge screen for people to watch the competition so it was fun to people watch. There was also a guy hand carving a wooden surfboard at the event which was really interesting to watch. It reminded CJ of the surfboard making class he took in college. Good times. 

We’re going to try to check that website we found for other fun activities to do over the weekend in the future. It was definitely a success!

We’ll provide an update on the house tomorrow. πŸ™‚