Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Creating a Dining Room

A house project we've been saving for winter has been to create a formal dining room.  Right now we have a 4-person table that fits well in the kitchen area, and that's what we use.  However, we often don't even eat there unless people are over.  Often times our romantic tuesday evening dinners are at the kitchen counter or on the couch in front of some sort of quality reality television show.

This honestly works just fine for us, and would work just fine for once kiddos are around too.  During the summertime if we want to host more than 4 people for dinner we can use our deck outside.  But otherwise we really don't have a large table or designated space for a larger dinner gathering outside of squeezing 6 people around the smaller table, and it would be nice to have the option year round.  In Minnesota, we really only have weather enough to use our decks for 3 months out of the year and by then the mosquitoes ruin it anyways.
There is a small room right behind the kitchen that I think was meant to be a dining room, but the previous owners used it as an office.  We have our office in the guest bedroom because we still needed a place for our hutch and I've been dying to rip up the carpet, get a chandelier, and design a formal dining space.  We'll still be limited with space, but I'm hoping for an 8-10 person dinner space here. 

I struggled with deciding what kind of flooring we would put down.  We have grand plans to completely remodel the kitchen someday and knock down this dividing wall, but obviously that's probably decades away.  The dining room is located in this weird juncture of the entryway tile (would also LOVE to remove that) and the oak hardwood flooring of the kitchen.  I'm not crazy about the color of the kitchen floor, but I also did not want that space to have 3 completely different floorings all right next to eachother.  This is where my OCD kicks in.  I have a running color pallete in my head of the main colors and accent colors of our house, and we don't stray from that.  I like to keep the design of the house cohesive, which is why we tried as best as we could to get wood flooring that would then just match the kitchen floor.  Once we do our major remodel we would likely redo all the flooring on the main level.

So we have all of our supplies and we'll hopefully at least get the floor down in the next few weeks.  I plan to put a fresh coat of paint on, but keep the same light color.  I've been doing lots of Pinterest and Houzz inspiration research for this room! 
There will be plates on the back wall and Pete is very excited to hit up some antique stores to pick some out!
Create a decorative plate wall! Discover the best way to go about it!
via pinterest
Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue
via pinterest
Christmas Housewalk 2012- Stop #13-Holiday Dining Room-City Farmhouse
via pinterest
LOVE this display of thrift store plates for wall art!!!  mmmcrafts: corners of my house: foyer plate wall
via pinterest
Cozy dining room....I saw that type of bench at World Market. I love it!
via pinterest
We're doing all the labor ourselves so it's really just the cost of the flooring, a new light fixture, and a dining room set.  It won't all go in at once but I'm excited we're starting the process!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

2015 Seeds of Intent

On new year's day I was totally cliche and went to a yoga class (through #classpass, or course) with my blogger-turned-real-life friends and the fantastic instructor talked about planting your seeds of intent for the new year.  Forget resolutions, forget losing 20 pounds, forget your half-hearted plans to stop eating those delicious pillsbury crescent rolls.  Think about what you really hope to gain this year and overall.  It's yogi talk apparently, but I sort of liked it.  I have a lot of plans for this year and I'm excited to see how it all unfolds.

I would really love to enjoy photography more, and that means taking more time to learn my canon rebel t5i.  Pete and I took 2 intro classes through national camera exchange last year, but being a bit of a slow learner I sort of want to take them again now in the context of having used the camera on many occasions.  I'd also really love to take a course on composition.

My goal (which has been definitely launched with classpass) was to better incorporate exercise in to my routine again.  When I worked as a nurse years ago I had odd work hours and loved going to the gym on weekday mornings.  That is not possible anymore now that I'm a slave to the man working monday-friday and I've struggled to rediscover my fitness mojo.  I've definitely gained newlywed/new career/new house weight (more than I'm willing to admit) and I've been afraid to face that.  My focus (or seed of intent) is not to focus so much on the numbers (scale/calories/minutes/reps, etc., although I'm still tracking all of those things), but to instead remember that exercise makes me feel good about myself, helps my anxiety, improves my sleep, and encourages me to eat healthier.  Those are all amazing things and that's what I want.

We're busy making plans and have lots to look forward to this year-
At the end of february we're bringing our golden retriever puppy home!  I'm very anxious and hope the transition is smooth.
Right before that, I'll be celebrating Gal-entine's weekend with my girls in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico.
In June I'm hoping to attend the AANP conference, with a girl friend or two, and a hubby tag-along in New Orleans.
In the summertime we'll camp, visit up north, and celebrate my 30th birthday, and in August we'll celebrate 3 years of being married.  I'm pushing for a visit to the wizarding world of harry potter in Orlando for either one of those events.  I went a few years ago and have to go back!
In November I'm also hoping to attend the JADPRO conference, which will be in Phoenix, AZ this year.  I've never really considered wanting to visit Arizona, but some sunshine in November sounds right up my alley! 

We've also gone back and forth about visiting Abu Dhabi.  Pete has friends who are temporarily living there and he wants to see about visiting them.  We can't really afford for the both of us to go so it's a minor possibility that Pete might go in the next year.
Can you tell we're trying to get all the hoorahs in this year?! ;)
Welcome 2015!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

#ClassPassMinneapolis and going out of my comfort zone

This month I was given the opportunity to try ClassPass with a complimentary membership.  Although I was given this membership to try to for free for the month of January, my opinions and experiences are my own.

So..what is it?
ClassPass is a monthly membership and for $79/month you get unlimited access to hundreds of studio exercise classes, with the caveat that you cannot use the same studio more than 3 times in that same month.

and..what's the big whoop?
I've been a gym member since early 2007 (after I graduated college and couldn't use theirs for free!), transitioning between Lifetime fitness, LA Fitness, and now back with Lifetime.  Back in the day you could go to any lifetime gym that was of your membership status.  Nowadays you are only allowed your "home" gym and you do not have access to any others unless you pay extra. 
ClassPass eliminates this requirement to work out at the same facility day in and day out.  What I love about ClassPass is the fact that you can try out all these different studios that you might not otherwise be able to experience, and it's great if you're looking to squeeze in a work out when you're on the go visiting friends, running errands, traveling for work, or wanting to try something new with a friend.  This membership is great for someone who has a variable schedule.
Something that ClassPass has also forced me to do just by the nature of this membership, is it has forced me out of my comfort zone.  I am a creature of habit (to a fault) and I love routine.  That's not always a good thing when it comes to fitness.  Being able to go to a variety of studios and try different types of classes and workouts I've always been too intimidated to try before has forced me to challenge myself both physically and mentally and that in itself is worth this membership. 

what's the catch?
What I've struggled with is that many of the exercise studios do not have lockers/changing rooms/showers making it pretty impossible to go to classes before work, and difficult to try to finagle after work.  And by signing up for your classes in advance you do get a sense of accountability (and you're charged if you cancel within 24 hours), but this again is hard if your work schedule might unexpectedly vary like mine does depending how complex or busy my day in the clinic is. 

should you get the membership?
This totally depends on your lifestyle and fitness goals.  If you want variety, then YES this would be a great way to get a variety of workouts in and take advantage of the awesome fitness professionals in our area.  If you have trouble sticking to an exercise routine, this also might be the membership for you- I do like that I have to reserve the classes in to my schedule just like anything else I have to plan time for.  It's a great way to make time instead of making excuses.  This membership might also be great for those that travel for work either locally or in other areas ClassPass exists because you aren't limited to one gym location.  This does however eliminate your ability to walk in to a gym and do your own work out with cardio/strength equipment.  If you only have time for 30 minutes instead of an hour or more, then that might be a challenge since most classes are at least 60 minutes.
I'm only a week in to my membership so we'll see how it goes the rest of the month with #ClassPassMinneapolis (or 'ass pass' as Jess likes to call it- as in, get your ass to the gym!)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Woof: a puppy is born (Week 1 Pupdate)

Those of you that are close to me IRL (in real life..had to do the acronym for my AIM/ a/s/l days) know that I have really not been looking forward to this day.  Pete has wanted a dog for forever, and since we bought our house last year I have not heard the end of it.  One day I had a stroke and told Pete we could do it.  We went back and forth picking a breed that Pete can train for hunting.  His first choice, the boykin spaniel, ended up being on a 2 year wait list.  I was on board for a smaller dog, with less hair.  Pete started talking about golden retrievers because he grew up with one, but I was worried about the cats (and my furniture!) with such a large dog.  Being the compromising wife that I am, I came around and essentially just gave in to something that was so important to Pete.  We found a reputable breeder (Wildfire Goldens) in our state and met the owner, Roz over the summer.  We met some of her dogs and talked about the process.  We ended up giving her a deposit a couple days later.
And late on new year's day, a litter of 3 boys and 3 girl puppies were born.

We've decided from the start that we wanted a girl, so that she'll be a little bit smaller, and Pete says they are generally a little less stubborn and easier to train.

We're still working on names- I was dead set on a Harry Potter name but there aren't many good female names that hubby could publicly use when he's out hunting, and the others are already taken by other dogs close to us.
As we get more info I'll post Pupdates-  this week we're preparing for a "it's raining cats and dogs" shower with my coworkers!!  One of my other coworkers recently got a cat and we initially talked about throwing her a cat shower, which then evolved in to the cat/dog shower with our "little one on the way"!  I think it's hilarious.

Pete is super excited- enough so that we already have puppy gates and crates put together and installed.  I'm much more anxious and stressed about bringing a wild animal in to my clean, quiet house ruled by my 2 cats.  I think Ferdinand will be fine considering he already thinks he is a dog himself.  Choxie is older, more reserved, and de-clawed.  It might actually be good timing for her since she is about a month in to taking kitty Prozac!  She has been overgrooming/pulling her back hair for over 2 years now and we've tried many different things to treat it.  Her hair hasn't grown back yet but I haven't seen her pull her hair in weeks now and maybe this will ease the stress of the puppy :(  Any tips for integrating them?  We have 7-8 weeks before we bring the puppy home so I'll be enjoying the kittens as a family of 4 before our lives are ruined the arrival!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pre-Christmas Christmases (& other celebrations)

As always, December has flown by, filled with birthday and holiday parties and all the fun (and food) leading up to Christmas.
I'm always a little bummed when Christmas actually gets here because I'm in love with the time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The anticipation of the holiday and the decorations and thinking about the new year is such a fun time.
Here's a little peek in to the fun we've been having the last few weeks-
the kitties love the real Christmas tree, and the one we got this year was more prickly so they don't try to bite it.  If I'm wondering where Chox has been all afternoon, she usually greets me at the door when I come home from work covered in tree needles :)

Earlier this month we participated again the 12 bars of Christmas pub crawl!  We do this every year and try to hit more bars than the year prior (it's for charity!).  I think we got to 7 this time, which is a record.  All the girls split a hotel room downtown Minneapolis and I got approximately 1 hour of sleep before having to head home, go to my nephew's 2nd birthday party, host Pete's parents and brother who stayed with us from out of town, and then get ready for Pete's "low key" birthday party.  Fun fact: it was not as low key as we planed.
This year hubby turned 31 and we had a "itza Pete's a Pizza party" with pizza, hot chocolate, and ice cream cake.  I made a virgin cranberry cocktail (thanks Jess for the steal) and offered lots of adult beverages.  I don't know if it's us getting in to our 30's or a few of us being out the night before, but we probably only killed a bottle or 2 of wine for nearly 30 people.  We had a blast and we love having people over to our house, although exhausting after 1 hour of sleep and a hangover.  I could barely have conversations with people.


this little pretty is from newlywed Mrs. Hagan with her super cute Christmas card.  I love getting cards and displaying them in the kitchen, but I also kept this envelope :)

The following week was my work's annual holiday party.  Somehow I'm known around my work place for putting together events and I ended up being in charge of planning this year.
We're a non profit hospital based clinic, which means we don't get bonuses and our employer does not pay for a holiday party.  Like, not even a little bit.  So I had to do a lot of research and pull the "non profit" card when speaking to vendors, but we were able to pull off an Italian dinner with a DJ, cash bar, and a photo booth on a Friday night for $30 per person.  And it was really fun.  It was cute to see some of my coworkers who had never used a photo booth before (apparently they haven't been to a wedding in the last 5 years) go nuts over the props.  Some of those nurses went home with dozens of photo strips. 
A huge shout out to The Fabulous Photo Booth for being there!  We worked with them for our wedding and Ben Bigelow is just a cool guy (hellooo, his name is Ben Bigelow), and he was so awesome to work with for this too!

This last weekend I hosted for our annual girls' Secret Santa night.  I've known Katy (blondie) and Stene (cutie in the hat) since we were like 14 years old.  And I met Jamie (girly in red) through them years later and every year we do a secret santa with each other, and now it's been 9 years of doing this.  It's fun to look back on the photos through the years- seeing the addition of kids and husbands,  how things change and how some things stay the same.  We drank champagne, ate, and laughed until nearly 2am.

And lastly-  Since we started dating Pete started a tradition of hand-making me an ornament every year.  It's probably my favorite thing, especially to look back on over the years.  This is this year's ornament commemorating our belated honeymoon in Hawaii earlier this year.
This past weekend we also loaded up on hot chocolate and went driving around to look at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music of course. 
So with how much fun we've been having I'm actually a little bummed that today is already Christmas Eve!  We'll have some Peterson family time today and tomorrow, then up north to Two Harbors for the Ortman Christmas family time.  And I have 20 Hallmark movies on my DVR I need to watch in the next 2 days before I can't explain to Pete that it's allowed during Christmastime!

Happy Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

the hustle & the bustle

 Well this may have been the longest I've gone without blogging.  I've been meaning to do it- we've had so much good stuff to document lately, but I've just been way too busy enjoying it! This time of year is always my favorite.  Getting ready for the holidays, the pretty decorations, the hallmark movies, I just love it all.  Some highlights of the last 4 weeks or so--

this guy was wandering through our yard, and my hunter husband almost shipped his pants.
We get a lot of deer coming through our backyard; they come out of the woods to cross the street in to another section of woods, but he's the biggest buck we've seen.
We had our 2nd annual Friendsgiving (Thanksgiving, but with people you like) with Jess, Lo, Kell, and our hubbys.  Jess and her husband were so generous to host in their seriously beautiful home, and Jess is a bomb cook.  We did this for the first time last year and I'm hoping the tradition continues because not only do we get to eat the most delicious food ever, I love that the group of us have become pretty good friends.  We met through blogging over 2 years ago, and even though I still refer to them as my "blogger friends" they are sorta just regular, real life friends now.  Especially since half of us don't really blog on the regular anymore.
 After dinner we played Cards Against Humanity and my husband tried to trick me in to saying words I don't like saying.  It was fun and Jess made recipe cards of her amazing dishes, which I forgot to take home in all the bustle. 
Over the last month we've been also updating our cabinetry in the house.
We painted the linen closet, to match the white trim and white doors through the rest of the house.  We ended up using the existing bronze handles.
Plus, I just found out Pete has a label maker!! So I can organize all of our meds by body system.
People ask me all the time what we do with our free time since we don't have kids yet.  Well folks- this is it right here. 
I'll do a full post on our bathroom cabinets- We stained them darker and changed the hardware from the bronze to a brushed silver, to give the cabinets a more updated look.  Initially I did a poly/stain combo, did 7 coats of stain/sand/stain/sand, etc. and wasn't getting the look I wanted.  After doing some blog research I tried the gel stain and OMG it was so nice to work with.  For big staining projects like this I wouldn't use regular stain ever again.
My plan is to do this to our kitchen cabinets which have the same look, but that is going to be a pretty big project.
Pete started taking the doors off before I got my before pictures.  A rookie mistake for the husband of a former blogger.

For Thanksgiving weekend we went to Two Harbors to spend time with Pete's family.
We spent a night at the shack (their hunting shack in the woods) and after almost 6 years of going up with them, I finally started going to the outhouse by myself for the first time.  I usually make Pete escort me, especially once it gets dark because you never know what's lurking out there.  Instead of my husband being proud of me for going outside of my comfort zone, he thought it would be funny to make wolf barks from the other side of the shack while I was out there.

While in Duluth we also visited Bentleyville with Pete's mom and his aunts.  Pete's dad and uncle took the scrooge car home because they didn't want to go.
But look how awesome-

Before we leave the shack/the woods we also go search for a Christmas tree.  This year we actually got one that I picked out.

When we got home we finished getting other Christmas decorations out- seriously so much fun for me!  And Ferdinand of course loves all the boxes and discovered a box with a window that he can lay in but still look out of.
These next few weeks are going to busy to say the least- this weekend the girls and I are going out for the 12 Bars of Christmas pub crawl we do every year, you know, for charity!
And then Saturday will be my nephew J Dub's birthday party, followed by Pete's birthday party, plus his brother will be staying with us from Madison.  Next weekend is my work holiday party, baking party, family party and the following weekend is our annual girls' secret santa party.  I need to make time for the new Holidazzle Village in downtown Minneapolis and finish our Christmas shopping.  This is why I start before Thanksgiving- there's just too much goodness packed in to such a short period of time!  So I may come back and check in, or I may wait until after the new year..we'll see.  Happy Holidays!