LIFE AS YOU LIVE IT

We Adopted a Puppy!

13 August 2017


(Griffin at 5 months relaxing on his giant bean bag)

Like all great things, adopting our newest furchild, Griffin, was just as unexpected as they come. L and I had no intentions of adding to our little family anytime soon. We have had our beloved Macy Cat since 2013, but cats are (for the most part) low maintenance, autopilot pets that need fed, watered and their box cleaned as needed. Do not fear, she gets her daily dose of loving and attention from us as well. She has us both wrapped around her little paws. Having been renting for the past 4 years we knew we wouldn't be able to have a dog until we had a place of our own. However, the stars seemed to align the day we moved into our first house!

May 27, 2017 (moving day) - L and I were en route to Kennebunk with my parents to grab some furniture from a storage locker. With a little encouragement from them, we all thought it would be fun to made a quick detour to the local shelter on our way to the locker to just "look around" (the day prior my parents had adopted a 2.5 month yellow lab puppy from there). Long story short... we fell in love with the yellow lab's brindle brother!


We had no intentions of taking a dog home, let alone a little puppy, but it truly was love at first sight. We have never been actively looking for ourselves, however, we have found that it is rather difficult to find dogs to adopt because EVERYONE wants a dog here! It's great! Animal Welfare Society transports them from other parts of the country and people wait outside the shelter doors for hours in hopes of adopting. There is such a high demand that they have to give out numbers resulting in some future fur-parents arriving in the wee hours of the morning to get numbers first. I don't know how we got so lucky!

(A screenshot of the website right after we adopted him. His former name was Jonas. His sister Jaki was adopted at the same time by a different family and his yellow lab brother is pictured at the bottom)

(Griffin riding around in the Petco carriage right after we brought him home.)

(Playing with his reflection while we try to sleep)

(Looking adorable in the truck - no worries, we weren't driving)


He is now 5 months old (his birthday is March 8th) and almost 45 pounds! When we brought him home he weighed the same as our cat (12 pounds).

He's absolutely fascinated with Macy Cat and sometimes forgets that she is only 1/4 his size, however, we've been letting Macy grow her nails out so that she can school him when necessary.


He's also very interested in our neighbors yards, so L put in an invisible fence (this one) to help remind him where his boundaries are. Watching him get shocked is more painful for me than him. Thankfully, it only took a few zaps and now we rarely feel the need to put the collar on him anymore.


He's really smart and thus far has learned how to shake, roll over, sit and lay down. He's done really well with house training, however ha has had an accident or two in the morning when he can't wait any longer.

He's a total snuggle bug and ends up sandwiched between L and I every night with Macy Cat right above our heads. We go on walks everyday and adventures every weekend. Just last weekend we brought him up to North Conway for the first time to play in Diana's Baths with his brother. He's the happiest soul in the house and is always so welcoming when we get home! 



WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!

08 June 2017

Holy guacamole, after 4 years of renting in some amazing places in both Boston and New Hampshire, L and I bit the bullet and bought our first home 2 months ago! We feel as though we hit the house jackpot, as it is close to both of our offices, the water and the mountains! We also have the sweetest neighbors which is a huge bonus!

Thanks to a very chilly winter, we quickly realized how important a warm house was to us which is what unexpectedly triggered this endeavor. The chalet that we had been renting had electric heat which unfortunately isn't the cheapest heat (over $400+ a month) nor was it able to compete with the cathedral ceilings. SO, when we began shopping around, the single most important thing that we kept telling our realtor was "must be warm." Other high priority items included looking for houses that were big enough that we could grow into, we wanted to be in a neighborhood and we wanted to be close to work.

As you can imagine... everyone wants that, which left us with little inventory to choose from. We had our eyes on a place that we knew was going to hit the market, so after if finally did, we swooped in with our checkbook and docusigned the P&S from the Sunburst Six at Okemo less than 24 hours after it was listed. Thankfully, we lucked out with the most organized and proactive professional team in our neck of the woods and were able to close on April 4th! Cue the happy dance!

I have longed to be a homeowner so that I can modify and update a place to fit our style. It's nice to finally have a place that we can build some equity in and enjoy in the meantime.

As you can imagine, this blog is going to be a brain dump for all of my pictures, videos and updates regarding the project palace. The best place to keep track of everything will be the "HOME TOUR" tab located at the top of the page. I will try my best to keep all "house reno" related posts linked there.

Here are the before pictures and a video of our first house!



THE DEN?

We don't know what to call this room and we don't know what to put in it either. It's a fairly large space that is located between the kitchen and garage and open to the front entryway and slider out back. Should we ever want to knock down the wall for a kitchen renovation that is an option, or if we want to utilize it as a formal dining space that is an option as well. It is also home to the ONLY closet (other than bedroom closets) in the house.




THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM 

Right around that corner we have a small half bath which will be getting a facelift down the road.




THE LIVING ROOM

Our living room is located on the opposite side of the house and is equipped with a groovy propane fireplace that turns on with the flick of a switch (literally!). No more cutting and hauling wood or stoking the fire. I will miss the luxury of roasting a s'more from the couch though.





THE DINING AREA

The dining area takes up a small corner of the living room. There is a small wall that separates it from the kitchen which we are debating knocking down some day.


THE KITCHEN


The party continues on through the kitchen which is also where our little pantry and basement door are located. I have big plans of painting all of the doors and cabinets a light grey color to brighter it up a little.





THE UPSTAIRS

The upstairs is pretty simple consisting of 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. 




THE GUEST BEDROOM

The "Guest Suite" which I lovingly refer to it as will be the first project that we tackle. The goal is to completely 100% renovate this room and refinish the floors prior to moving in. 



THE OTHER GUEST ROOM / OFFICE

L and I love to host, so it is important that we can comfortably accommodate our families near and far. While the other guest room is taking priority right now, this space will eventually get a full makeover as well.



THE GUEST BATH/LAUNDRY ROOM

Down the hall we have our laundry room/guest bath. Having laundry on the same floor as the bedrooms will be a new luxury that we are looking forward to!



THE MASTER BEDROOM

This bedroom is by far the largest bedroom that we have ever had. We thought we had hit the bedroom lottery in our old Boston apartment! This space is at least twice the size! Our current arrangement is maybe 1/3 the size of this room, so to say we are excited is an understatement. Macy Cat even scored her own closet in here!




THE MASTER BATH

We also lucked out with an ensuite which I can't wait to attack with some marble tile! It's not huge, but it has potential! Take note of the toilet paper rose that was left on every roll by the sweet lady who cleaned the house prior to closing.



There you have it! Our first home! We have a lot of work to do and are very eager to tackle it all. I'm obsessed with the idea of renovating and styling this house to fit our lifestyle and can't wait to start crossing items off of our list!

VIEW THROUGH MY LENS: FEBRUARY

28 February 2017

I can't believe we're already at the end of February - this month went too fast! Let me fill you in on all the snow that was dumped on us this month which has already melted away to nothing :( It could snow everyday of the year, and I would still love it! 

We spent Super Bowl Sunday at Wildcat (where else?) zooming down the mountain and staring Mount Washington right in the face. On a clear day, it is the most gorgeous ski view in New England. Remember that cloud inversion from a couple years ago? Later that day we retreated back to our house and watched the Pats pull a Lombardi trophy out of their ass! They're incredible!


The chalet (or the "A" frame as my dad refers to it as) that we have been renting since June fits right in with all of the snow. The electric heat has been scary high (like $400+/month!?), but watching the snow fall through big cathedral ceilings and a crackling fireplace makes up for it a little. It's an awfully cute place, especially in the winter!


For a couple days (weeks?) there we were getting up extra early to make sure we were able to dig a path to the jeep, dig it out, and then shovel a 15' path from the jeep to the road so that we could get into town for work on time. Thankfully our commute isn't that far!


At one point the snow had piled up so high on our deck that we could barely open our front door to get out. Thank goodness for sliders! I can't imagine living in a world without snow.


All the snowy weather had me in the mood for soup, soup and more soup, so I put together this easier than pie vegetarian taco soup (chili?) to nosh on for almost two weeks straight. It's always #tacotuesday in our world.


Don't forget about your taxes! I'm always looking for something to organize so I put my efforts towards corralling years and years of tax paperwork to make filing this year and future years much more efficient for us.




ORGANIZE: Tax Organization

20 February 2017

I wanted to pop in and share how we keep all of our tax documents organized throughout the year and come tax time.


Come tax season, everything that we need for the year lives in this zippered pouch where I throw miscellaneous paperwork as it comes in throughout the year. I have used these zippered pouches for multiple organizing projects in the past and I love that they are semi see through which makes it easy to see the contents. I like that they zip shut so that no loose paperwork can fall out, and I like that they all around look nice. I have used them to store paperwork, pictures, cashed checks, and have been using the smallest version to toss our pay stubs and important receipts that will need filed this year.


It is more efficient for us to to throw all of the paperwork into this folder throughout the year and sort it come tax time opposed to sorting it as it comes in. We don't have that much paperwork coming in at this moment in our lives so this system works well for us and keeps everything corralled in ONE PLACE. We don't own or run a business and we don't own a home, so our paperwork is limited to our W-2's, our retirement contributions, student loan interest and any donations.

Should we ever transition to using an accountant rather than filing ourselves, all of the paperwork is collectively in one spot and we're not searching for documents last minute. When we get to the point where we need to itemize more things and save more receipts we will use an additional zippered pouch specifically for receipts.


A couple months ago I saw that Alejandra from Alejandra.tv used the same pouches as file folders to house her tax documents and then filed them away in her file cabinet. I thought that was genius, so I ditched the manila envelope method that I was currently using and made the switch to use only zippered pouches.

I considered putting everything in a large binder, however I like the idea of keeping everything separated by year. These aren't something that we are going to reach for frequently, however in the event that we need to refer back to them, they are easy to access.


I like everything to have a place and I do not like having extra paperwork lying around the house. I believe (and I could be wrong) that you're supposed to hang onto your tax documents for 7 years. With that being said, I have 7 envelopes for each year and then a working envelope for the current year. After the 7th year, the files are stripped and the documents are destroyed.

I use colored file folders with fasteners to corral our W-2's, pay stubs, returns and other important documentation from each year. We only have two files in each zippered pouch, however we have the option to add more down the road should we need to expand. Each file is labeled as to who it is for and the year.


On the right side of the file I keep the state and federal tax returns documents and on the left I keep supporting documentation which includes everything that I have collected over the course of the year that is reflected on the return.


Once we finish our taxes for the year, it is stored away with the last 6 years where it will live for the next 7 years until we need to cycle it out and destroy it.


I hope this was helpful for anyone looking for some organizing inspiration during tax season! How do YOU organize your taxes?


 
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