1/26/15

Introducing Bella Blue

I previously wrote about one of the saddest days of our life, December 10th, the day we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog, Zorro. Our house has felt so empty without him and our other dog, Charlie, was noticeably missing him. We knew we wanted to get another dog but planned on waiting until Spring.

I'm on the email distro for the Greater Kansas City Humane Society and follow them and a few other animal shelters on Facebook. Last week, I clicked on a link I received about adoptable dogs. It was then that I saw a photo of a puppy named Dandy on Petfinder. Dandy was actually part of New Beginnings Dog Rescue.  He was so cute, I had Justin look at the posting too. He was an interesting mix: half Husky/half Standard Poodle and nearly 4 months old. When we saw that he would be at a nearby Petsmart for an adoption event that Saturday, we figured we could go and just look.

I bet you know where this is heading...

Well, we got to meet Dandy and his equally adorable sister, Anna. As excited as we were to meet Dandy, we really bonded with Anna. She was incredibly sweet and very friendly. I knew immediately that we would be bringing a puppy home with us that day. We just couldn't resist. Justin and I have both grown up with dogs, but Justin had never selected a dog himself before. So, I wanted him to ultimately decide.

After much deliberation, Justin decided we should bring Anna home with us. The lovely people at New Beginnings Dog Rescue were so patient with us, staying well past the end of the adoption event for us to make our final decision. They also explained that the dogs did not know their names yet, so we could change it without confusing her.

Since we had planned on looking at a boy puppy, we had casually talked about boy names. We didn't have any girl names picked out. We made a list on the drive home and both finally agreed upon Bella Blue. We both liked Bella and I threw out Blue because of Bella's one blue eye. Yes, she has one brown eye, one blue eye. I also thought it was a perfect contrast against our other dog, Charlie Brown.

Bella Blue is just the sweetest thing ever. She is, however, very much a curious puppy. We have to watch her every move, as she likes to put anything and everything in her mouth. She's beginning to become house trained but it's a work in progress. It's been so long since I have had a puppy that I had forgotten how much work they are. Luckily, her cuteness makes up for her orneriness.

Although we are a bit tired, there is something very special about having a puppy around. Her energy is contagious, except for when she wakes ready to play at 5am! She is about 20 pounds now, and they believe she will be between 50-60 pounds full grown.


This picture makes me smile . It was Bella's first car ride, and she was bit apprehensive. Thank heavens for older brothers that protect you from scary car rides:)
 Charlie and Bella have become buddies.


Although we will always miss our Zorro, we are very happy to have this sweet new girl join our family. It's amazing just how sweet puppies are and how much joy they bring.

xoxo-S

1/21/15

I Have a New Love... in the Form of an Appliance

A few years ago, I was in the market for a washer and dryer. Being a young single girl, I was a on a budget. The idea of spending well over a thousand dollars on appliances was not appealing. I had more important things to spend my money on, like clothes, shoes and make up. So, when I found a brand new dryer at the Habitat ReStore for $100, I snatched one up.

The down side, it was euro size, i.e. tiny. It worked, was cheap and got the job done, so I didn't care. Fast forward a few years later and using a dryer the size of a small box started to take its toll. Our clothes always came out wrinkled, no matter what we did. Our king-size bedding had to be dried separately, as in one sheet at a time. So, three cycles for the flat sheet, fitted sheet and duvet cover to be dry. Ain't no body got time for that.
 

Over Memorial Day, we bit the bullet and ordered a new dryer thanks to the holiday sale and some gift cards we had saved up. We looked at the typical haunts: Sears, Home Depot, Lowes and Nebraska Furniture Mart and ultimately found the best deal at Home Depot. Our local store was out of stock, so we ordered it online, which allowed us to order through Ebates, giving us 6% cash back, plus I used a promo code for an additional $10 off (every little bit helps,right?).

We purchased the LG  Steam Dryer Model DLEX3250
Click HERE to find it at Home Depot.

Click HERE to read other reviews from the LG website.

It was delivered a few days later. For those of you that don't believe in love at first sight, do you believe in love at first sound? Because I now do. Yes, this dryer plays a little song when it turns on and when its cycle is done. No more loud beeps. The steam function has been getting lots of use. I have put tennis shoes, pillows, our down comforter and dog beds to name a few through the steam/sanitize cycle. Everything comes out fluffy and clean and most of all, free of odors.

If anything were to go wrong with this little love machine, you can hold up your smart phone to it and the dryer will alert your phone what the problem is. How cool is that?!

What I love most, however, is the capacity. Let's be honest, size does matter...when it comes to dryers. I can dry our entire bedding set in one cycle, and the best part is that our duvet cover comes out nice and smooth now, not like it's been playing a mean game of tug of war and lost.

I hate when I read reviews on products and then the person says they have only owned the item for a few days. When making a large purchase, I want to know how it holds up for the long haul. I'm happy to say that after 7 months of regular use, I am still in love. The sanitary steam cycle especially came in handy, when I sanitized everything in sight when Justin had the flu (which I was lucky enough not to catch). Plus, it has significantly cut down the drying time for everything. I do all of our laundry, including all of our bedding, every Sunday and it gets it done much faster than our old machine.

Anyone else in love with  a piece of metal?
-Suzanne

1/13/15

2014: A Year of Exploring and Bedroom Makeovers

2014 went by in a blink of an eye. It was a good year overall filled with challenges, changes, blessings, travel and lessons. As every year should be.

I always seem to end the year feeling as though I didn't accomplish everything I wanted, especially when it comes to house projects. Thanks to blogging about our projects, I am able to look over what we did accomplish and it always surprises me.

Here's a recap of our 2014 house projects:

January 2014 our fireplace went from this builder basic, orange-stained wood fireplace mantel:

to this refinished, newly tiled fireplace:

February 2014 brought changes to our great room, in the form of a new rug, new patterned chair, new mantel decor and fresh throw pillows. It's amazing how much a new rug can really pull a room together. It was this year that I grew to really love this room.

The very next month, our never-ending bedroom makeover began with a new dresser and nightstands-

I made DIY knock-off Kate Spade Nesting Boxes for my office-

Summer brought some much needed exterior updates. Our side yard got some love-

Shutters were added, which really helped dress up the front of our home.

Our front door got a dose of pretty robin's egg blue.

This Fall, the faucet in our guest bath got replaced with this beauty-

 Our bedroom makeover continued with fresh paint-


As did our great room with a shiny new coffee table-


Of course, 2014 wasn't just full of projects and new home decor. We had a lot of fun this year and I traveled quite a bit.

In April, we visited the amazing Napa Valley.

May brought a roadtrip to Arkansas.


I enjoyed a quick trip to New York City in August.

August was also when we vacationed in Telluride.

I accepted a new job in September and immediately enjoyed a week long work trip in Scottsdale.

The next month, I went to Vegas. Although this was also for a conference for work, I was able to have some fun too. This was my view from my room at the Cosmopolitan.

December brought a much needed escape to Miami.

2014, of course, had some low points as well. The great times wouldn't seem so sweet without some bitter.

We said goodbye to our Zorro.

I suffered a third dislocation of my knee and am facing surgery.
 
We also got hyper-focused on finances and becoming 100% debt-free by taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course. We hope to make major strides this year.

Overall, it was a great year. Can't wait to see what 2015 brings!

We've got a lot on our to-do list this year! Can't wait to get started.
Cheers!
S+J


1/7/15

Telluride Homecoming

Ever since Justin and I first met (over 4 years ago now), he has shared his fondness for Telluride, CO with me. He called Telluride home for several years post-college and would love for us to retire there someday. I had never been and we kept telling ourselves we would make the trip.
Main Street in Telluride, CO

Well, we finally did. We spent a week in beautiful Telluride, which truly is God's country in August. The sprawling landscape is inspiring, the mountains breathtaking and the people delightful. It's as picturesque, if not more so, than Vail or other more popular areas of Colorado but remains very casual and less touristy. You won't find a Starbucks or McDonalds there and never will. Instead, the town in filled with independent, unique store fronts and restaurants, where everybody knows your name. Literally. Although Justin moved away from Telluride several years ago, he was still greeted by name pretty much everywhere we went. It is truly a hidden gem.


Because this was a homecoming of sorts for Justin, I did not do much research prior to this trip. I trusted that Justin and his friends, who still reside in Telluride, wouldn't let me down; and well, they didn't. I'll let our photos tell the story.

We spent the majority of our trip hiking and enjoying views from way up top.
at 10,500 feet up on Chair 7


In the middle of one of our hikes, we saw a clearing.
Upon closer inspection, it was an area filled with rock formations. We decided to make our own from loose nearby rocks. When in Rome...

Please note that the elevation will get you, if you're not careful or used to it. At one point, I was stopping every 20 feet to catch my breath and take a sip of water. It wasn't the hiking that did me in, just the lack of oxygen.

Although the weather was beautiful while we were there, there were a few short bouts of rain. This happens nearly everyday in the summer for 20-30 minutes.  Pack lots of layers and a raincoat! I'd wear yoga pants and a hoodie, a rain jacket and then shorts and a t-shirt within a few hours, that's how fast the weather changes.


We also spent a good majority of our time doing what we love the most, eating.
entree from restaurant 221
221 is a great restaurant located in a renovated house. Quaint, delicious and homey. Perfection.

For such a small town, Telluride is full of amazing restaurants.
Siam, a Thai restaurant, was delish. If you are lucky enough to dine here, tell Kyle and Dave hello.


Our gracious friends, Hillary and Kyle and their children, opened up their home to us. It was so nice being able to spend quality time with them, and they even threw a BBQ for us.
The boys fighting over the KC BBQ sauce Justin brought:)
playing frisbee golf in Kyle & Hillary's backyard
We even caught a concert  while we were there. I wasn't that familiar with Ween, but Justin is a huge fan. When we saw Dean Ween was playing a show while we were going to be in town, Justin bought tickets immediately.
 Dean Ween

We couldn't pass up a visit to Telluride Brewing Co, that one of Justin's good friends, Chris Fish, founded.

One of my favorite parts was riding the free gondola up and down the mountainside. The views are spectacular. *Tip- avoid the doggie gondolas if possible. They are typically a little more muddy and smelly than the humans only ones :)

Speaking of dogs, Telluride is the most dog-friendly town I have ever visited, which as a dog-lover, I appreciate. All along Main Street, you'll see doggie-parking with plenty of dogs taking a break, while their owners are inside the shop.
Speaking of doggies, we got to play with our buddy's St. Bernard 10-week old puppy, Barley.
I mean, seriously. I've never wanted to dognap a puppy more than this guy...

The sense of community is also pretty amazing, especially considering most residents are transplants and not actually from here. The free community bins should be in every city. A great way to free-cycle goods you don't use anymore to someone in need.

I loved the unique homes that line Main Street. Real estate is at an all time premium.

Part of what has kept Telluride still so special is that it's not the easiest place to travel to. The tiny airport there now just accepts private planes, no commercial flights land there anymore. You can certainly drive, but it's a place that you have to mean to go to. It's not a crossover town. It is literally in a valley, with one way in and one way out. But, if you ever get the chance, you should go.

Overall, it is a beautiful and peaceful quaint town filled with great people. Oh and the skiing is fantastic from what I hear. I'm more of a summer girl myself, which is why we went in August:)