Monday, August 19, 2013

Movin' On Up

The countdown is on.  In short 10 days, Hubs and I are closing on our new house.  It's hard to believe it's almost here.  Pinch me.  No really, please pinch me so I know I'm not dreaming.

Trust me, I am beyond excited about the move, but I'll admit to being a little bit scared and nervous too.  We're just moving across town but it feels like a completely different world.  We've been living in the city, and now we're moving out to the suburbs.  While I've visited the mall in said suburb a bunch of times, I never thought about living here until recently, when our budget dictated that a house in the suburbs would be nicer, larger and newer than a house in the city.  I've absolutely loved the hustle and bustle of city life and the low maintenance of my condo, and let's face it.  I'm a city girl at heart.  However, I'll soon be saying goodbye to these stomping grounds and movin' on up to the northwest 'burb life.

The last week has been a pretty productive one for Hubs and I.  We've been purging things we don't need, packing up those that we do, and cleaning whatever's left in its trail.  It feels awesome to be making such great progress!

I have always known that I have a lot of stuff, but I had no idea just how much stuff I had until I started packing.  Holy schnikes.  The more we pack, the more crap we find.  It's UNREAL.  Right now, I've packed the living room, dining room, guest bedroom/office and guest bathroom, and it's filled 3/4 (or more) of our guest bedroom.

We have't touched most of the master bedroom, any of the master bathroom or any of the kitchen, but thankfully we aren't moving for another month or so, so we've got some time.

Yes, you read that right.  We're closing on the house in 10 days, but not moving for another month.  I'm sure you're curious why, and it makes sense because most people move pretty quickly after they close on a house.  Welllll, we have a LOT of work to do.  The entire interior of the house needs to be repainted (thank you, present owners, for your wild taste in paint colors).  We need to put in all new flooring (just say no to white carpet).  We need to change out about 75% of the light fixtures in the house and install recessed lighting (bye bye, ugly lights).  We need to rebuild the interior of the master bedroom closet (adios, gross wire mesh closet shelves).  Those are the projects that we need to do before we even move in.  Yup, so much to do!!  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared about how to coordinate all of this within the next month.

The day after we close, I'm taking the day off from work to have people come out to the house to do some quick projects and give us quotes for the big stuff.  I've arranged for the locksmith, garage door opener installer, flooring estimator, painter and electrician to come out that day, and by tomorrow, I'll also have a fencing company lined up to give me a quote to finish fencing the backyard.  Whew!

And after allllllll of that work gets done, then we have to move.  We had planned on moving over the weekend of September 14-15, but now we'll be out of town.  My husband's godfather, Tom, and his long-time partner, David, are getting married in Delaware that weekend!  We just found out about the wedding last weekend and we immediately bought plane tickets to Philly.  We will be putting off our move for another week to be there for Tom and David's big day.  I wouldn't miss it for the world, even though the timing is less than ideal!

We've got such an exciting, busy, frantic month ahead of us.  I really, really (really) hope things go smoothly from here on out and there are no major surprises.  Nothing with buying a home is ever easy, but I *think* we've got things under control.  Now on to more packing...  Toodles!

Monday, August 12, 2013

August Popsugar Must Have Box

It's already August, friends.  Can you believe how this year is flying by??  I am continually amazed that it's only a few weeks until football season starts (my favorite time of year!) and 4-1/2 months until Christmas.  It also means that summer will be winding down soon, and I'm totally not ready for that.  I really enjoy summer, aside from the sweltering heat and constant thunderstorms.  I guess I'll bask in the sweaty, summer glow while it's still here.

Anywho, I just got my monthly Popsugar Must Have box!  Wanna check out the goods?  Of course you do.

Gorjana Open Circle Necklace ($65.00)
Bentgo Stackable Lunch Box ($14.99)
Lulah Body Wash in Peony ($11.25)
May Designs Weekly Agenda Notebook ($20.00)
Lunares Apple Bowl ($45.00)
Dermalogica Precleanse and Special Cleansing Gel ($10.00)
Nature Box Granny Smith Dried Apple Slices ($4.00)

Total Value:  $170.24

Not too shabby from a value standpoint, am I right?

In looking at each item more closely, I consider this a very average box.  Some months are obvious home runs and others are total duds, but this one is somewhere in between.  I like a few of the items, while others leave something to be desired.

The deluxe samples of the Dermalogica products are nice, and I've liked the other Dermalogica products I've tried so I'm hopeful that I'll like these, too.  I've actually never tried a precleanse product before, and it just seems like kind of an unnecessary step to me.  We'll see what kind of results this two-step system delivers.

Even though I'm not familiar with the Lulah brand, the shower gel is actually pretty nice.  I think the Peony fragrance smells great, which I expected since I'm a big fan of florals.  There are actually several other fragrances of this shower gel floating around, and I'm dying to try the Magnolia Fig.  I might just have to plunk down the cold, hard cash to try it.

The Bentgo lunch container is okay.  I might use it, but since my normal lunches are Lean Cuisines and yogurt cups, I don't know how much play it's going to get immediately.

We have received yet another Gorjana item, this time a necklace.  My beef here is that the necklace looks very inexpensive in person, and it's SUPER SHORT.  It's practically a choker on me, and my neck is average sized.  I really wish they'd stop sending small Gorjana jewelry and stick to either Gorjana's non-jewelry options (the scarf in a previous box was AWESOME) or pick jewelry from a line that has more reasonable sizing.

The May Designs weekly agenda is one of my favorite items in the box.  I love the design and the pages are really cute.  Who can't use a cute weekly agenda??  I know this girl will never turn one down.

The Nature Box dried apple slices were a nice addition to the box.  I'm always looking for new healthy snacks, and this one was great.  The apple slices are tasty and the size of the bag was impressive.

Finally, the we come to the Apple Bowl.  I had a hard time estimating the price since this item isn't sold separately on the company's website, but similar bowls were selling for around $45.  It's very cute and will make a sweet little fall decoration or a jewelry dish for my dresser.

Overall, a decent box, but not one of my favorites.  I love the value that the Popsugar boxes bring, and I'm already looking forward to the September and October boxes.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Influenster Sunkissed Vox Box

As y'all know, I love getting surprises in the mail.  Back in July, I got a Influenster Sunkissed Vox Box in the mail and I was STOKED about the products.  Usually I'm on the fence about the things they've sent me, but this time I got some nice, useful stuff.  Here's a look at what was in this baby...

Item numero uno was the Dr. Scholl's For Hear High Heel Insoles.  I don't wear many high heels these days, but I tried them out with a moderate-height heel, and MAN, did they ever make my shoes comfy!  I really wish I'd had these for my wedding shoes.  The Foot Petals I used didn't hold a candle to the smooshy, gel-filled comfort of these insoles.  I highly recommend!

The second item was the Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream, and I was ridiculously excited to try this.  I almost bought this back in June when I was on a tear at CVS, but I refrained and used my Olay coupon on the exfoliating cleanser.  Anyway, I didn't expect much, but this really exceeded my expectations.  It's more of a tinted moisturizer with an SPF than a true Asian-style BB Cream, but I appreciated the lightness of the product and the subtle coverage.  It also stayed put all day and didn't cause me to break out.  Score and Score!!  I also recommend this if you're interested in trying a product with some coverage that doesn't feel as heavy as foundation.

The Goody Ribbon Hair Elastics were next, and I was skeptical about these.  I tried the Twistband brand of ribbon hair elastics and was really disappointed in how over-stretched they became after a single wear.  The Goody version holds up better, but still gets more stretched out than I'd like.  When they get stretched out, they don't hold my hair as tight and I end up fussing with my ponytail all day.  Boooo to that.  The nice thing about them is that they don't leave as big of a dent in my hair as a traditional hair elastic, but they still do leave a little dent.  Not perfect, but definitely an improvement over my old standby.

Finally, I got a Sinful Shine nail polish in Darkroom.  Darkroom = Black.  I don't know about you, but last time I checked I wasn't Carson Daly circa 1999.  I can't pull off black nail polish as part of my everyday ensemble.  I tried it out, though, just to be a good little reviewer, and the shine was GORGEOUS.  I'd love to try this polish in another color, because I have a feeling I'd like it more.

So that, my friends, is the Sunkissed Vox Box.  I'm smitten with a couple of these products and definitely see them becoming part of my regular routine.  

Many thanks to Influenster for sharing the Vox Box love!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Master Bedroom Bonanza

While many people argue that the kitchen is the heart of the home, I say that the master bedroom is of nearly equal importance.  It's my sanctuary, my cozy sleepy place and my place for quiet reflection.  Because I really value having a great master suite, I'm looking to make a few enhancements to our master bedroom in the new house.

First of all, the new house's master bedroom is HUGE.  Like, 30' x 14' huge.  Our current master bedroom is a decent size, 11-1/2' by 15', but the new master puts our current one to shame.  The reason the master bedroom in the new house is so big is that the current owners got cray-zay and put a 14' x 14' addition onto the master bedroom, which they've been using as an office and sitting room.  Hubs and I plan to use the additional space for the same purpose, and it was a big selling point of the house.

I really want to do some things in the bedroom to maximize space and efficiency, and also to make the room comfortable.  We are FINALLY going to be upgrading to a king size bed, which is a huge step for us.  My husband seriously has a love affair going on with our current queen mattress, and I never thought I'd be able to tear him away.  BUT, after sleeping in a king size bed on a recent weekend trip, he agreed that we must have the bigger bed in our house.

And since we're getting a new bed, I have to buy new bedding, of course.  I've been looking around, and Hubs and I finally agreed on getting our bedding from West Elm.  I love the simple modern flair of practically everything in their catalog.  We chose to go with a purple, gray and white motif, and I think it will look awesome with our white bedroom and office furniture.

Here are the quilt and pillow shams we chose...

Stella Quilt and Shams

With these throw pillows...

Honeycomb Crewel Pillow Cover in Platinum

And this sheet set...

Organic Ikat-Stripe in Platinum

Now that we've got our bedding on lock, it's time to focus on other areas of the master.  We've picked out some new ceiling fans, and we'll be choosing new flooring in the upcoming weeks.  We're also still shopping for a loveseat and an ottoman for the sitting area, and I'm working on plans for additional office storage and bookcases.  Last but not least, we need to choose a paint color.  I'm gunning for a light gray with white trim, doors and ceilings, but Hubs thinks that sounds depressing. Ugh.  If any of you have any suggestions for me, I'm all ears!!

I can't wait to pull it all together and share the finished product with you!  Only 6 weeks away... Stay tuned for pictures!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Latest Developments

Hi there, friends!!  I'm sorry that I've been MIA lately.  Life has just been nuts, and between work, friends, family, my dog and planning for our future, it's all been exhausting.  Exciting, but exhausting.

As you know, Hubs and I are in the process of buying our first house together.  So many things have happened in the past couple of weeks, and we're just trying to wrap our heads around it all.

One big development is with our condo.  We were planning to rent out our condo once we move to the house, but we've changed our minds. Neither of us really wants to be a landlord, and we just want to start a new chapter in our lives.  We've decided to sell the condo, as much as it saddens me to do it.  I have a strong emotional attachment to this little piece of the world because it was the first home that I bought all on my own and I've fixed it up to my exact specifications.  The thought of a renter tearing this place apart or mistreating it in any way makes me feel sick, especially since I'd be on the hook to fix anything they do my beloved home.  Soooo, I'd rather leave it completely behind me and allow a new owner to love it as much as I have.  Owners always treat their properties better than renters do anyway.  We'll be putting the condo up for sale next month after we are fully moved into our new abode, so I've got some time to let the whole thing sink in.

On top of the big condo decision, we also got the appraisal back on the new house and sent final documents to the mortgage company.  I also had one my BFFs, who works in insurance, write me our new homeowner's insurance policy, so that's yet another thing crossed off my long to-do list.  It feels great to be making steady progress, even if there are still a hundred things left to do!

Another big development is that my adorable niece, Elise, is now one month old.  I can't believe how much she's grown in the past month!  Two weekends ago, Hubs and I went to Orlando to visit this little lady, my twin sister and my brother-in-law, and we had such an amazing time.  Let's face it, I just needed some girl time with my two favorite chicas, and the trip made my heart happy.  Here are a few cute pictures of my little Ellie...

I love being an aunt and I can't wait until she gets older.  We're going to have a blast together!

Finally, in the biggest news of all, Hubs and I have decided to start trying for a baby!!  I'm scared of this, I really am, but I know I'm ready.  I know that this part could take awhile, so I'm going to be patient and let nature take its course.  Let's just say that baby Elise has both Hubs and I completely smitten, so much so that we want to give her a little cousin!

So yeah, lots of new developments here in the Carruolo house.  The future is looking amazing right now and I cannot be more thrilled about what's to come.

Cheers to new chapters and new beginnings!

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!

La Bella Vita

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