Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Days 21 - 23, 30 Days of Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day when people reflect on all that they're grateful for. But that's Day 24 of 30 Days of Thanksgiving, so my thanks for that day will have to wait. In the meantime, for Days 21, 22 and 23, I am thankful for...


  • My parents being able to come down from the Seattle area to spend Thanksgiving with us;
  • Sunny SoCal weather;
  • My goofball husband and his never-ending search for the best deal on a new TV (please let the quest be completed soon!); and
  • Upcoming Black Friday deals - woo-hoo!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 20... 30 Days of Thanksgiving

Wow! It's hard to believe it's already day 20 of the 30 days of Thanksgiving blog challenge. This evening I'm thankful for...
  • A squeaky clean house;
  • Rain outside my window;
  • A warm bed;
  • Agatha Christie Miss Marple DVDs!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Days 18 & 19... 30 Days of Thanksgiving

Days 18 & 19 of 30 Days of Thanksgiving have passed. For these two days, my thankfulness included:
  • A near-complete updated master bath;
  • Tasty red grapes from Trader Joe's;
  • A cuddly kitty (although she started limping the other day);
  • A warm house;
  • A handy hubby; and
  • Living in such an incredible area!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 17 of 30 Days of Thanksgiving

For Day 17 of the 30 Days of Thanksgiving Blog Challenge, I am thankful for...

Our House.

(Guess which one is ours!)
Of course, there have been times when I wasn't so thankful for it. Owning our house has been the biggest, bumpiest and most nauseating roller coaster ride I've ever ridden!

Our adventure began in November, 2009. After two years of searching in a seriously inflated housing market, we finally found a home - our first home - that came close to meeting all of our requirements (price included). We jumped on it; our offer was accepted on my birthday of all days, so it was meant to be, right?

Escrow went well. The house passed all inspections, with a few issues here and there - some windows that didn't latch, an electrical hack job in the garage, a busted sprinkler system, pet-stained shaggy carpet, etc. - but you can just fix those things afterward, right?

Closing was something out of the Twilight Zone. The seller's escrow agent must have forgotten to take his daily meds, daily... he liked to verbally berate our mortgage lender and real estate agent. He even had the gaul to forbid us from signing the closing docs at his office. Though it was a rocky start, we were still thrilled to finally be owning our own place!

On the morning after getting the keys to our place (yay!), we excitedly headed over with boxes in tow, ready to start moving into our new home. Once we enter our home, we're greeted with POOLS OF WATER all throughout our downstairs; it was especially bad in the kitchen and in the dining room. Turns out during the previous night, our house had developed a slab leak. Joyous.

Our Kitchen - Where a Sink & Cabinets Once Stood
Needless to say, we weren't moving in that day. In fact, thanks to our lightening-speed construction crew (note the sarcasm), we weren't able to move in until four months later. FOUR MONTHS. Yep, still paying a mortgage, utilities, HOA fees, etc. in addition to rent and utilities at the previous place we were living. Talk about pricey!

But you know what? In those four months, we essentially got a new kitchen, one that I got to design and insurance helped pay for - black granite counter tops, white beveled subway tile backsplash, giant single-basin sink and a flattened-out bar. We also got new wood floors (to replace the maple-tastic bubbled ones) and carpet downstairs. Check out the before and after pictures:
BEFORE

AFTER
(although with the old chandelier)
Fast forward two years... work is almost complete on the master bathroom renovation. The same master bath with pet-stained shaggy carpet (EW), child-sized vanity with a bad paint job pealing off, and a discolored and smelly roman tub, where the previous owner kept his cat's litter box (?). Here's what that looked like (wished the photo showed detail!):


Now, the shower and roman tub have been refinished, with a new brushed nickel shower enclosure. There are new fixtures, as well as an adult-sized furniture-style black vanity with a thick, carrara marble top. My favorite revision to the bathroom is the carrara marble basket weave mosaic floor - gorgeous!

Improvements
 With a few more additions, including the installation of my white mini chandelier above the roman tub, the master bath will finally be done.

Then begins the next project (of which I hope WE get to choose, not the house!)...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

30 Days of Thanksgiving! Days 14-16

Ok, I'm not so good at daily blogging (could you tell?), but I am pretty decent at blogging every few days (some is better than none, right?). For days 14 - 16 of our wonderful 30 days of Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for...

COFFEE!

Mocha Love from Victor's Celtic Coffee, Redmond, WA

Well, actually, it's more of an espresso thankfulness. It started back in high school, way back when Hootie & The Blowfish still blew, I mean sang, together, and Alanis was choking on her Jagged Little Pill. Starbucks opened in our neighboring town in the mid-90's. It was a beautiful little shop - glossy wood (real wood) floors, bright white painted displays... really classy (and very similiar to my own kitchen today!). Best part was, when I could snag a ride down there, it was never really busy - you know, back before Starbucks became the Taco Bell of coffee (lame).

Today, my tastes have developed. I've met some pretty incredible people in the industry, including in the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Espresso-making is a pretty complicated feat, at least GOOD espresso-making is. It's suprisingly similiar to wine making, beans instead of grapes, of course.

One of my favorite things to do is explore new coffee places, especially when visiting my family in the Seattle area, where there are plenty to choose from. I'll close with some pictures from my latest adventures (enjoy!):

Caffe Rococo, Kirkland, WA

Caffe Rococo, Kirkland, WA
Cafe Besalu, Seattle (Ballard), WA

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 13, 30 Days of Thanksgiving... Thankfulness Treasury!

I absolutely love this treasury created by Lindsey, Etsy seller "Creativebyheart," based out of Sonoma County, Northern California. She was kind enough to include Sadie Bloom's "Autumn" Thanksgiving Headband. Such great finds! For Day 13 of 30 Days of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for this treasury. :-)

'I'M THANKFUL FOR...' by creativebyheart

Please join & give thanks! For your holiday shopping, take a peek at all of these amazing items & shops! Happy Holidays =)



$18.00


$15.00


$110.00


$3.75


$29.00


$14.00


$28.00


$45.00


$32.00


$34.00


$20.00


$16.00


$65.00


$14.00


$40.00


$20.00

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Days 11 and 12... Thirty Days of Thanksgiving!

We've hit it... days 11 and 12 of the Thirty Days of Thanksgiving Blog Challege! I'm cheating again and combining two days into one... don't judge, just enjoy! ;-)

For Days 11 & 12, I am thankful we live 25 minutes away from ...

DISNEYLAND!


I grew up in Northern California, and distinctly remember as a child having to endure awful trips all the way down to Southern California for Disneyland. Big yuck! Now, it's just a short ride in the car to get to the Happiest Place on Earth.


Nothing beats having an Annual Passport, either. Feel like grabbing a churro and a zip on the Matterhorn, then head home? Maybe a turkey leg and a spin on the teacups (not suggested, by the way) after work? How about a Dole Whip after dinner at home, enjoyed while watching an enchanting performace at the Tiki Room, topped off with a ride with Indiana Jones? No problem!

Another advantage to an Annual Passport is going when the throngs of people (and heel-killing strollers) are gone. February and early October are amazing! Little - if any - lines, no reservations for restaurants required, being able to walk freely without bumping into people... awesome! On occassions, it's seemed like they've opened the park for us few special people. ;-)



Yay for Disneyland!
 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Days 8, 9 & 10 - Thirty Days of Thanksgiving

We've reached days 8, 9 and now 10 of 30 Days of Thanksgiving. This challenge has yet again beat my be-hind. To make up for it, I'll talk about something I'm hugely thankful for:

Miss Sadie Lady

Sadie's Glamor Shot
My husband and I adopted Sadie from the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter in 2003. She was found with her siblings (all with black fur!) dumped down a touristy street in San Clemente, CA. When we first met her, she was very shy, skinny and had a bad case of ear mites (ew!).

She enjoyed hiding in the computers her dad would assemble.
Kitten Sadie in deep thought.

Resting, presumably after climbing UP THE WALL, to the ceiling (jute wallpaper).

With time, she developed into the sweetest, most loving, most obedient kitty cat (our "furbaby"). She comes whenever she's called, and understands the word, "No." She has some funny peculiarities, too. She'll drown her toy mice in the water bowl. She also loves feather teasers, which she'll track down, drag and drop to our feet, then let out monstrous meows for attention. She also makes sure to bring one of her feather teasers with her to bed, no fail!

This past year has been a challenging one for Sadie. She's been dealing with Irritable Bowl Disease. We didn't know what the problem was until she got officially diagnosed with it just last month, after a terrible flare up. She spent three days at the pet hospital, after her regular vet sent her there for intense treatment. I was a complete wreck. Sadie was seen by the best animal medicine specialists in Orange County! (You should've seen the other pet parents - Bentleys, dripping in diamonds, you name it!) She's now on a hypoallergenic diet and takes daily meds. The important thing is that she's back to her sweet self!


Sadie's been a true blessing to my and my husband's lives, and we are eternally thankful.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankfulness for Day 7 (Thirty Days of Thanksgiving), MC Hammer-style

In his 1990 super hit song, "U Can't Touch This," MC Hammer sings:

"My, my, my music hits me so hard
Makes me say "Oh my Lord"
Thank you for blessing me
With a mind to rhyme and two hype feet."

While my music doesn't hit me hard, nor do I have a mind that can even remotely rhyme, and especially two very un-hype feet, I do thank the Lord for blessing me with the ability to sew and make money doing something I truly enjoy doing!


I stumbled across making accessories at the beginning of this year, quite by accident. I was trying to fill the time on a very cold and rainy day while visiting my parents up in the Seattle area. After finding a magazine article about fabric yoyo's, I thought it'd be fun to try. In June, I started selling them, as well as fabric flower accessories, and haven't looked back since.

Before this, I wasn't really a crafty person. The fact that I can make these accessories, have them come out like they do and be able to sell them still kinda stupefies me. I take it as my DNA kicking in, and a big heap of blessing from the Good Lord.

I guess my version of MC Hammer's song would be:

"My, my, my [accessories] hit me so hard
Make me say "Oh my Lord"
Thank you for blessing me
With a mind to [design] and two hype [um, hands]."

Not so good, but that's my un-rhyming mind for you...

For giggles, here's the "U Can't Touch This" video (you know you used to do the Running Man to it):

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Days 4, 5 & 6 of 30 Days of Thanksgiving!

Today is Day 6 of the 30 Days of Thanksgiving Blog Challenge. I think this challenge has beaten me already! Days 4 and 5 flew by in a blur... I'll make this a really important one, big enough to encompass three days (and then some)!

For Days 4-6, I am thankful for... FAMILY!

I come from a huge extended family (my mom has four sisters!). We all may have our ups and downs, but I know I will always have a strong, large support system with people who love me and will be there for me when I need them (and vice versa!).

I am especially thankful for grandparents! Though my maternal grandmother passed away four years ago, I can still hear her say, "I love you, I'm so proud of you" in my ear, like it was just yesterday. I miss her hugs and phenomenial German cooking (peach kuchen, anyone?).

My Grandparents' Wedding, 1938
(Sadly, my grandfather passed away when my mother was a baby.)
My paternal grandmother, is alive & kicking. Even at 87 years old, she's more active than I am! She's very popular at her independent-living retirement community, and quite fashionable, too - she often wears the little Lucy flowers I make her in her hair or attached to a sweater. Originally from Sydney, Australia, she moved to the US after meeting my grandfather, part of the US Army, over there during WWII. My grandma also taught me to sew, crochet and knit. : )


Grandma in Australia, WWII

Family rocks! Go call yours!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3, Thirty Days of Thanksgiving... Healthy Yumminess

Day 3 of 30 Days of Thanksgiving has come and almost gone. Today I was thankful for...

Mother's Market.
(Picture from Mother's Market website.)

It's a grocery store with locations throughout Orange County that specialize in local, organic and generally healthy fare, including plenty of non-GMO, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, low carbohydrate, low-glycemic, low-fat and low-salt products. They also have a little restaurant, where I can get fantastic smoothies and a mean lentil loaf. It's like a Whole Foods on the local - and cheaper - level.

Tonight, I brought home a premade vegetable lasagna from a company based in San Diego County and garlic bread (yes, I'm too lazy to make garlic bread myself) from Los Angeles County. Feels good to support local - sure was tasty, too!

The only bad thing about our nearby location is that it's in Laguna Woods, previously known as Leisure World... a very large 65+ retirement community. Park and walk at your own risk! I'm not saying all residents are bad drivers, but it only takes one. I've learned that lesson the hard way. :-(

Yay, Mother's Market! Check them out!

http://www.mothersmarket.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mothers-market-laguna-woods

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 2... 30 Days of Thanksgiving

For Day 2 of the 30 Days of Thanksgiving blog challenge, I'm thankful for being able to live in our area, South Orange County, CA. It's absolutely, positively gorgeous, with plenty of activities... my favorite being the beach or sailing/whale watching, which we did today, but smart me forgot to put the memory card back in the camera before we left (duh!). Instead, I bring you one of our wonderful sunsets...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days of Thanksgiving... Day One!

During the month of November, Sadie Bloom Designs will be joining up with our friends at Angela Andrieux Photography for a special "Thirty Days of Thanksgiving" blog challenge. Each day we'll be posting one thing we're grateful for, big or small!

The first thing I'm thankful for is a big one... I'm thankful for my husband! We started dating in college, and got married four years ago in the area we met... the Napa Valley.


Photography by Richard Wood Photographics

Love you, Dear!