Playing the Property Game

Our little piece of Kansas

Tyler and I have (almost) bought a house! We’ve made an offer, accepted a counter offer, implicated ourselves in a contract, applied for financing, and are waiting on our inspection. If all goes well, we close March 1. This date is not only convenient given the timing of our lease, it is also a 2nd wedding anniversary present (we got married February 28, 2009). Go ahead, celebrate. We aren’t yet, though. Whether it’s because we’re new to this whole game or whether we are just waiting until everything is (literally) signed and delivered, we are no more than cautiously excited at the moment. So go ahead and cheer a little for us, because we’re acting like it ain’t no thang.

The details: a 2006 ranch with a fully finished basement in a nice, newish neighborhood on the south end of the town I grew up in. 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2,600 square feet. More room than we need at the moment, but I am looking forward to having both a writing room and an office and Tyler has already claimed most of the basement as his (groan) “man-cave”. It will be nice to be able to make some permanent changes, living as we have for years now as renters. There are definitely some areas that need improving, but as a new house we are pleased that very few things need fixing.

I did not want a new house. I wanted an old house, with character. However, it turns out a new house works well for us. We are young. We are poor. Buying this house leaves us little left over for those massive repairs and renovations an old house can require. It will be my special challenge to learn how to infuse our new house with character. I’ve already spent many sleepless nights pondering what colors will look best with the oak trim (which at least initially we will not paint, even though I prefer fresh white). Try looking at a paint chip or a decorating magazine. I bet you don’t see much oak. There are always charming, wide, white borders in the show houses that help you compare and contrast “sandstone” with “glacial bay”. And yet, many many people live in houses with this ubiquitous oak trim. For me, this house presents the usual challenges; style and storage on a budget, finding ways to “make it ours”, creatively brainstorming cost-effective enhancements that will both add to the home’s value and make it a better place for us to live. The challenges are the same – but this time, my canvas is enormous.

Of course, there are other things we are excited about. We’re excited to live in a family-oriented community with excellent walking trails, parks, and schools. My parents live within walking distance just north of us, and my grandparents are only a couple of miles further in the same town. Our dog will have room to roam and a new dog park is in the works. I’m excited to make some new friends and get involved in the neighborhood; for the first time we will be living near other younger people – couples and families instead of cranky elderly people with yapping dogs and fetishes for garden statuary. (Note: Not all elderly people are cranky, but the ones that lived by us are.) Both of our commutes will be longer but our home will be more restful and we will be close to family and some of our great friends. Besides, anything that brings me closer to my lovely little niece is a plus in my book.

All in all, we are looking forward to this transition, despite the accompanying stress (which has already started) of moving, changing lifestyle, and increasing our financial obligations. I think it will be worth it. I don’t have any doubts or second thoughts; and that’s rare for me – I question everything, over-analyzing, making sure it is a good decision. This is a good decision. Now, to make it through the home inspection unscathed. Is it always this stressful buying a house or is this just a hurdle you have to cross?



Knock Off Decor

A project I did a few months ago is being featured on Knock Off Decor:

If you’re like me and love finding ways to do more with less you will love this site. It houses an ever-growing collection of projects from creative, crafty people who have seen something in stores like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and Anthropologie and thought, I can make that.

I’m particularly loving this Anthro-inspired bedspread:

Goals and Such – Part IV




  • Plan trip(s) and make travel a priority

Around Wichita

  • Eat at 1 new restaurant each month (this one is easy)
  • Enjoy Wichita arts/culture at least once (Final Friday etc.)


  • Try yoga
  • Take a skating test
  • –>Test Juvenile, Intermediate MITF (Stretch goal: Novice MITF)
  • –> Test European Waltz, Foxtrot, one silver dance
  • –> Get back into ice dancing, attend Dance Weekend


  • Dance lessons (Whee!)
  • Schedule date nights (both of us)
  • Make it a priority to experience entertainment more (movies, etc.)


Goals and Such – Part III

This one is pretty big. Over the past couple of years I’ve been honing down a grand but vague life purpose. A mission, so to speak. There are many paths that lead there, but as long as I keep my purpose in mind, I feel like I am fulfilling my “life” goal(s). It is time to bring this picture more clearly into view.


Life Mission


–> The $$ are the key here, folks. Too much of our day is spent in work, and if that work is unsatisfying and draining, there is a problem. I am to solve this problem, or grow closer to solving it.


  • Write down my life mission and my mission for the year (by Feb 1)
  • Share this with as many people as I can


  • Investigate income-earning opportunities/ideas that would involve me helping people to hone their creative skills – to view creativity as a valuable asset
  • Establish an online portfolio and blog through which I can communicate


Goals and Such – Part II

This area of my goals may seem a bit self-centered, so I feel the need to present a preface. I spent my younger years awkwardly dressed and awkwardly groomed (I know many of you can relate). My college years were spent marginally better dressed and groomed, but significantly overweight. It is only in my early twenties that I have started to come into my own. It’s probably not a tragedy that I missed the short-shorts and spaghetti strap tank days, but it is important to me in my development as a person to enjoy looking and feeling great. At 25, I realize I am still young, but I feel the onset of age. Before I get any older and definitely before I have a child, I want to look and feel the absolute best I can – while taking excellent care of my health and setting myself up for success in the future. I already eat very healthfully, drink lots of water, exercise, run, and generally do good things – brush teeth, moisturize, etc., but I know I can do better – and I know I can feel better. A large portion of my looks-related self esteem has to do with my weight – I think I look good overall and I know I am in excellent shape cardio-vascularly and muscularly- but I would also feel sexier if I lost the pounds I’ve gained over the last 2 years and would be healthier without the extra fat. So, here is what I’m going to do about it:




  • Lose 11.5 pounds of fat and maintain weight
  • Reduce sugar intake, striving for one indulgent dessert per week (this goal will perhaps be my most difficult)
  • Switch to hormone-free milk and meat
  • Mix it up – do at least 3 different types of exercise per week, including interval training (my least favorite!)


  • Maintain sexy eyebrows and hair (I’ve recently become a believer in the power of a good eyebrow wax)
  • Increase my nightly moisturizing routine (prevention is key!)
  • Become a sunscreen addict
  • Plan and wear cute outfits while finishing updating my wardrobe to reflect the young, creative, on-the-go lady I am

Goals and Such – Part 1

I am an avid list-maker, goal-setter, and researcher of my own life. I study, plan, and strive. However, it’s been a couple of years since I made concrete (or even general) goals to guide my year, season, or month. Marriage, school, moving, and life have kept me distracted but I know that this is a crucial tool for helping me identify my priorities and act in accordance with them. In a series of posts I plan to explore my areas of focus for 2011, along with general plans/ideas for implementation and a few specific goals as well. First and foremost, this is the year for W R I T I N G.

I call myself a writer now, and it is the biggest priority in my life. The book is coming along well, but I want to take concrete steps this year to move much, much closer to my goal of earning a living from writing. I realize many people share this goal and I realize it is a difficult one to achieve – but it is a goal. I accept that writing may never be my full-time occupation, but I know that whatever else I am doing to pay the bills and entertain my brain, writing will be an important component.

The Book
Goals:  DEVOTE myself to finishing my book, with love and an obsessive intensity, making time every single day to work on the manuscript in some manner. Facilitate success by eliminating distractions – this means cutting back on blog reading during the day, watching less tv at night, and controlling my snacking so I don’t feel compelled to exercise so much to burn off extra calories.

Progress Report:

  • Finish structural changes in rewrite 3 (By Mar. 1)
  • Rewrite 4 – focusing on writing style and character development (By April 1)
  • Create Character bible, fact-check, Ensure meteorological correctness
  • Share with Eddie, Tyler, first tier readers and my mentor, seeking advice and (this is the hard part) being open to criticism (By May 1)
  • Investigate literary contacts, Write pitches and send to everyone I can (by/beginning June 1)
  • Draft outlines for next 2 books in series
  • Begin writing second book (by Nov. 1)

Creative Writing

  • Once a week, jot down story ideas besides the book
  • Study the craft of writing and work to improve my quality
  • Make time to study people, study art of the story, daydream
  • Allow others to read and critique my stories, actively seek opportunities to share with other writers and to expose myself to criticism and opportunities for growth
  • Submit to at least 3 short story contests this year