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Archive for September 2015

Fall Festivities and Goals

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

We're 10 months into the year, so I want to give an update on my 2015 goals.

  1. January: Finalize summer vacation plans. We're currently considering a road trip to California. DONE!
  2. Go on a spending diet from January-March. We did this in 2014 year and it consisted of no clothes, books, home items, or shopping at Target. We haven't decided on the terms yet, but I also think we should cut back on eating out. We didn't go great at this since we bought a house in March. I think we stuck to it on January though.
  3. Increase 401k in February to 15% (it's currently at 11%). DONE!
  4. Increase Roth IRA an additional $50. Not done. The house has gotten in the way. Done!
  5. June: house savings should be at goal amount. We bought a house earlier than originally planned and actually had money left over after the down payment.
  6. Buy a house. DONE! We bought our house March 13th.
  7. July: increase new car savings amount. This will probably end up happening in September or later. This goal is moving to 2016
  8. October or earlier: student loans paid off. Currently on track to complete this goal! Completed in July!
  9. Emergency fund should be half way to goal amount by December 2015. Won't make this one. We'll be several thousand short.
Blue writing is from May. Pink writing was just added.

Fall House Goals
You can go to this post to see my Summer goals updated. I accomplished all of them except two.

1. Paint the guest bathroom. The baseboards are already painted.
2. Spray paint the living room lamps. I just did this yesterday.
3. Paint the guest bathroom closet door and bonus room door
4. Guest bathroom: spray paint light fixture
5. Guest bathroom: install towel rods
6. Guest bathroom: paint cabinets
7. Organize garage
8. Clear back brush
9. Paint kitchen cabinet. This might not happen this year and I would be fine with that. I'm keeping it on the list in case I feel ambitious.

We're hosting Thanksgiving this year, so our main goal is to get the bathroom finished.

Fall Festivities
Last year I came up with a list of things I wanted to do in the fall, and I ended up doing most of them. I think the key is to write down my plans.

1. October 2nd: go to concerts on the dock with Finn
2. October 3rd: Madison Street Festival is happening. Bring Finn.
3. October 3rd: we're attending a farm to table dinner at Fly Creek Farms in Pulaski, TN
4. October 9th: photo shoot with Ashley. Our wedding photographer is coming over to our house for a photo shoot of our home.
5. October 9-11: go to New Orleans
6. October 15: see the World War I exhibit at the Art Museum. Admission is cheaper on Thursday.
7. October 17: Huntsville ghost walk. Bring Finn.
8. October 23-24: go to Mississippi College Homecoming with my mom (she also graduated from MC). I have 2 pieces in the Alumni Art Gallery, which is primarily why we're going.
9. October 31: go on the Fall Color train ride

Finn and I on a fall hike last year

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Library Update

Monday, September 28, 2015

I just realized that I have posted any updated photos of the Library. The last time I posted a photo of the library, it looked like this:
travel gallery wall

Since then, we put some new furniture pieces in this room:

The printer table and end tables we inherited from Sam's grandma.

The BIGGEST difference in this room is the green velvet curtains. I absolutely LOVE them.
irish terrier and green velvet
Here are the curtains in progress. Finn supervised while I made the curtains, of course. This was my first time sewing velvet, and it was tricky. I used a walking presser foot on my sewing machine, which helped with the slipperiness of the fabric.

green velvet curtains

Another big difference in our library isn't even visibly noticeable. We finally got a rug pad for this room!

I've been looking for a good quality rug pad, but one of my concerns is that a lot of rug pads are made of PVC. The PVC can off-gas and ruin hardwood floors! In humid climates (like Alabama), the oils in the PVC can react with the floors and cause permanent damage. Since we just spent a lot of money on our new floors, I did NOT want that to happen.
rugpadusa natural rubber
In our old apartment, we bought a cheap rug pad from Target, and it ended up sticking to our tile floors. The stickiness happens because the materials are cheap and the rug pad can't breathe - only natural materials can breathe and PVC is definitely not natural. Over time, the rug pad can cause the floors to discolor because the stickiness ends up all over your floors.

rug pad usa natural rubber
 I got a rug pad from from their Econo-Lock Natural Rubber line. Natural rubber has very low VOC's and it comes from real rubber trees, so off-gassing and floor staining is not an issue. I've been very pleased with this rug pad because it doesn't  move all over the place when Finn is playing.

Future plans for this room include purchasing new chairs.

*This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Cross Country Road Trip: Grand Canyon

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The first stop on our road trip was at the Grand Canyon. We spent two nights here and stayed at Mather Camp Ground. My sister, Megan, lives in Salt Lake City and she met us at the Grand Canyon.

We did our grocery shopping in Flagstaff and cooked on our camping stove. We packed a picnic lunch to have at the Grand Canyon.

visiting the grand canyon with a dog

My sister Megan and her dog, Cappy

Tips for traveling with dogs:
  • dogs must be on a leash at all times
  • dogs are not allowed on the shuttles. We used Megan's handicap parking pass, so finding parking wasn't a problem.
  • dogs are not allowed below the rim. Dogs are allowed on the rim trails, which is 12 miles long
  • dog kennels are available, and reservations are required.
  • fill up a water bottle at the Visitor Center and bring a collapsible water bowl 
  • if your dog gets overwhelmed by crowds like Finn, you only need to walk about 100 feet down the Rim Trail and the crowds completely disappear
  • the photos above show a railing, but the majority of the trail doesn't have a railing

my sister Megan and our dogs

See Part One of this series, how to plan a road trip. New road trip posts are scheduled for Thursdays.

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Summer in Review

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I know that most people consider Labor Day to be the official end of summer, but I live in Alabama and it's still 90 degrees in September. To me, summer is over on October 1st. Since we're coming up on the end of my summer, I wanted to re-cap all the fun things I did this summer.


went on a 3 week road trip. I'm still posting about this trip


Attended Huntsville's first Cheese Festival
huntsville cheese festival

 My birthday is in June, and my present from Sam was a cake decorating class

 On my actual birthday, we went to Franklin, TN to the City Farmhouse pop-up market. I purchased some artwork with my birthday money from Sam's parents.
city farmhouse pop up market


we started Blue Apron meals. I'm a big fan!
blue apron meal

For the 4th, Sam's parents visiting us with their dog Gabbi.
welsh terrier and irish terrier

 I took a hand lettering class with the local interior designer organization (IIDA)
handlettering class encourage huntsville

Finn had a terrible ear infection and ended up getting the cone of shame
irish terrier cone of shame


My sister Stephanie's dog, Gigi, spent 3 weeks with us. Finn had the best time playing with his cousin.

 I started taking a weaving class
weaving class Lowe Mill Huntsville

we went to Rochester, NY for my cousin's wedding (family photo of my cousin, the bride, with her 6 siblings and parents)

we traveled to Patoka Lake, Indiana to spend time with friends. While there, we saw Marengo Cave
Marengo Cave Indiana


decorated for fall

painted the guest bedroom

worked on Saturdays
Sam attended a wedding in Ozark, MO. Finn and I had to miss it because I had to work overtime :(
BTW, the summer is the busiest time for me at work, which is why I haven't been blogging regularly. I hope to get back to a more regular posting schedule.

How was your summer? Do you have big plans for fall?

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Fall Decorations

Monday, September 21, 2015

I love decorating my house for the different seasons, and fall is my favorite time to decorate!

The brass candelsticks are from a thrift store, and I stuck Dollar Store pumpkins on top.

The paper flower and streamer are from our wedding.

My dad gave us the green glass vase for our 1 year anniversary.

This pumpkin pillow is from Pottery Barn.

The leaf pillow is from Pottery Barn last year.

These gold numbers are from Etsy. We met, got engaged, and got married on the 17th of different months.

The drawing on the right of the mantle is Finn. I gave it to Sam for his birthday last year.

See last year's fall decorations in our apartment.

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