Saturday, March 31, 2012

A House For all Seasons

I have had nothing but houses on my mind this week.

Ok I guess I pretty much always have houses on my mind, given that I'm pretty close to being obsessed with them and spend my odd hours combing through Refin and Zillow just dreaming of the perfect 1920s spanish-style cottage with enormous windows and a working fireplace and a porch and a succulent garden in front and fruit trees in the back... (cough, cough)

But I digress. This week specifically, I have houses on my mind because Jared and I have just put our darling home in Iowa City back on the market.

We bought it in 2008 when we moved there for graduate school. It seemed like a crazy move to some of our friends, but the mortgage rate we got was so low that we ended up paying far less than we would have as renters, and more importantly, we got to live the dream of having the perfect home all to ourselves.

It really was wonderful. The sweetest 1930s three-bedroom bungalow with wood floors and these great big windows and a huge shady, grassy yard. We had a hammock between the mulberry trees, and flowerboxes under the windows. We had friendly, caring neighbors. We were a bike's ride from downtown, but just far enough away from the craziness that is Iowa football culture. Serene would be a good word for it. We had the most perfect three years there.

We even considered staying on for a little longer after school ended, but when Jared was offered his job out here we quickly put it up on the market (too late in the selling season, it turned out) and starting making plans to move to the big city.

When we didn't get the right kind of offer right away we decided to rent it out for a bit. We took to Craigslist and in two days received 63 (!) offers from prospective tenants. We chose one, then said goodbye to our sweet home and neighborhood, and headed west in our tiny, overflowing uhaul.

Now, nine months later, our tenant's lease is ending and it is time once more to put our beloved house back up for sale. It's a strange feeling, being so far away and unable to add the little touches like baskets of flowers and plates of fresh baked cookies for buyers. But the house itself is so beautiful, we just have to trust that those little things won't matter in the end.

Here's hoping our first home finds owners who will love it as much as we did!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Planning a Romantic Beach Vacation is Almost as Awesome as Being on a Romantic Beach Vacation

Confession: I have a borderline unhealthy relationship with airline miles.

I hoard them. I dream about them. My goal is to one day be like Scrooge McDuck and swim in them.

I try to pay for everything I can (groceries, bills, drinks, dinner, etc) with my various airline credit cards (paying off the full balance every month of course.) I also sign up for any free bonus offer I can get my hands on, and I even use those mileage portal thingies to do my online shopping.

So far this has worked like gangbusters.

But though we have amassed what has seemed like a mountain of miles, so far we've had to use them for responsible, unromantic things like flying back and forth across the country for job searches and visiting far-flung family over the holidays.

These are all great and worthy causes, of course, and I'm so happy we've been able to fly on so many airplanes without being driven to the poorhouse etc etc.

But! Meanwhile! Jared and I have not been on any sort of a vacation together since our honeymoon.

We haven't meant for it to be so long. We've read the studies. We know the importance of "weekend getaways" and "couple time" and "shaking things up." And although every few months one of us will start plotting some little mini adventure somewhere, just a night or two in some hotel or whatever, so far something has always come in the way of our taking the plunge. (Hint: it rhymes with $$)

But last week, when we had to use a giant chunk of my precious miles to book our upcoming trip to Iowa to take care of some business, I looked at our dwindling Mileage Plus account and declared:

We will use what's left of this hard-won bounty to go on a romantic vacation or so help me I don't know what!

And right then and there we booked two round trip tickets to Tulum for our anniversary at the end of July and now our miles bank may be empty but by gum our hearts are full.

I. am. thrilled. I can't stop thinking about it. Last night I stayed up in bed with my laptop just looking at pictures of the Caribbean Sea and reading all the glowing reviews of our hotel and boy oh boy I just hope we don't have a hurricane or a shark attack or a swine flu outbreak because I am going to lie on that beach and eat an entire bowl of guacamole off of my stomach.

And that is a fact.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gray Nail Polish Leads to Questions

Question One: Is it possible to take a picture of your awesome new home manicure without your hand looking like some terrible claw?

Question Two: Why do I keep painting my nails and then taking pictures of them? What am I trying to accomplish?

Mysterious mysteries.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Tao of Neon Cap Toe Pumps


Did you know that old shoes + tape + leftover paint = happy feet?

Well, now you know!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Morning Awesomeness

I was sitting having my coffee this morning and eating my breakfast dessert in this really warm beam of light that was just hanging out at our dining room table and I thought, there is no way I could ever want to live anywhere in the world but here.

I could hear birds singing over the rushing sound of the freeway ocean.

The dog was snoozing in his own sunbeam.

My view through one open window looked like this:

Through another like this:

and through another like this:

I mean, c'mon!

Have I mentioned to you how I love this place?

P.S. I'm not the only one who eats some form of dessert after every meal, right? Right?


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