5 Merry Christmas!

Hope you had a lovely holiday!

We had five lovely family gatherings for Christmas this year along with a birthday dinner within three days. Two of the five requested a dish to pass. In total, we traveled about 149 miles. Yikes!

With all of those festivities, let’s just say our house is terribly messy. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. Needless to say, the rest of the week will be spent whipping it back into shape.

The night before Christmas, my sister had asked if we would pick up the puppy (teacup Shih Tzu) and bring her over Christmas morning. So we spent the night with this little sweetie pie:
Cell Pic

5 A Dinner Party, A Recipe, and a Sneak Peek!

This past weekend we hosted our first dinner party with a lovely couple we know. This was probably the first one I hosted since living in California. Well besides a family gathering for father’s day mid-renovation chaos I may add. But I digress. Unfortunately, I cannot show the lovely table setting as it would show some areas of the house which I haven’t posted yet, so someday hope to post some holiday festivities.

Instead, I’ll go over some details. We made Barbecue Chicken Pizza and red velvet truffle cake, and my friends brought the salad. I also threw together a tastefully simple cheese spread.

0 Holiday Shopping

My apologies for my absence, graphics take quite a bit longer to make than expected.

It’s hard to believe Christmas is less than 1 week away and even more surprising, I started and completed Christmas shopping in about 2.5 hours --get this-- YESTERDAY! Normally my shopping is complete on or before cyber Monday. This year I guess the time just slipped.

Unfortunately for me, my budget was quite small this year as I took the plunge on entrepreneurship at the wrong time of year (I know queue the world’s smallest violin). On the other hand, fortunately my list was small this year.

2 Purchasing a Home Part 1

This series of home posts are events which occurred in the distant past, please bear with me until I catch up to the present.

Part 1, is our story.
Part 2, contains helpful tips and tools I used to make things easier.

Where to begin on the house buying experience? How about right here:

I was actively trying to purchase a home with a few failed attempts (Delayed, Postponed,  Disappointed anyone?). But everything happens for a reason right? Anyway, last winter and after D-day (you know the dreaded word: Divorce), I wanted to keep my home buying dream alive even if it meant waiting another year or so for financial obligations to clear up.
Graphic by: Trisha D.

10 Day off

Today I am taking a day away to make life a bit easier like setting up Photoshop Actions (sheesh where have these things been my whole life?!) and catching up on some house chores so we don't look like Hoarders.

And mainly because no one likes running out of spoons, although obstacle courses can be fun.
Graphic Credit, Words: Trisha D.

8 Young House Love and Chi-town

Yes, this is a better-late-than-never post on my Young House Love book signing adventures in Chi-town a few weeks back; let’s make it a big bang-- either that or an extremely wordy post with some pictures.

2 Monday Morning Update

Ok the title may be an ode to the old job (where they would send out breifings on upcoming events, past events, etc.) but if the shoe fits…
My wizard of Oz t-shirt.

2 Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty I’m free at last!

As the famous Martin Luther King Jr exclaimed in his 1963 “I have a dream speech.”  This is totally relate-able as I am fortunate to follow my dreams.

2 A fresh new start

A new me is on it's way. I resigned from the job to pursue my dreams of entrepreneurship, and today is my last day. Gutsy, I know, but it is now or never right?

In the near future, I hope to have a few things crossed off my good 'ol to do list:
  • Update the blog look (started a few pieces already)
  • Post more frequently
  • Outline my house experience- buying, remodeling, etc bringing up to present
  • Throw in some current-ish events
  • Spice up some old posts (better/more pictures, more content)
  • Get photography site up and running
  • Work on an Etsy store
  • Promote and gain followers
  • Complete my volunteer photographer efforts for a Cancer benefit (more details to come)
  • Take a blogging class
  • Mentor a photographer and/or attend seminars or workshops
There are a whole lot of things in store, so hold on tight.

0 Robbery

This is a story of a girl who continues to have horrible luck while struggling to remain positive, be grateful, remind herself that this world isn't so horrible, and not everything is bad and rotten.  Where to begin, lets see here...

While all hyper and excited on the beginning of a long and overdue roadtrip vacation with a few of the most wonderful people I know, tragedy strikes.  Only 1 full day in and the lowest point on the vacation occurred.

What you may ask? A/some thieves had the audacity to break into two of the three vehicles we traveled in.
What did they take? Everything which could sell quickly.
Who was the one the most affected? This girl.  Laptop, cellphone, hair straightener, jewelry, headphones, walkie talkies, my camera bag with all the lenses (and battery charger), and many other misc electronics.  I must say I feel for the kids the most though, because their Birthday and Christmas presents were now all gone, which just kills me.
What else did the robber(s) have the nerve to take? A breathing machine a person in our party needed in case symptoms of a cold arose.

The whole process of reporting the incident was rather suspicious and took longer than it really should have.  After what felt like pulling teeth, we finally got the hotel to contact the police (we choose not to call 911 as we always felt that should be left for life threatening/last case scenario situations).  The police officer arrived quite some time later.  He took our statements, and took fingerprints from the vehicles, we told him about the security cameras.  This process, again took longer than it should have- he was using a palm pilot or some weird cellphone to document all of our statements.

I couldn’t take much more from the whole situation and I could see the children with us were getting nervous and scared, so I took it upon myself to take them up to our room and let them watch TV.  They were less than well behaved (fighting, shouting, kids will be kids stuff) but given the circumstances, I don’t blame them one bit.  In the meantime, I was in freak-mode trying to remember and change contact info on anything attached to accounts used on any of the devices stolen to hopefully prevent ID theft/unauthorized usage on my accounts.  Than finally and thankfully, I got some relief after a few adults came to my rescue.  I left the room and walked around to gather my thoughts and composure.

After some chatting, all agreed we wouldn’t let this ruin our trip.  We let ourselves grieve that evening and tried to put the past behind us and move forward.  We all contacted each of our insurance agents to get the reports in.

We counted our blessings that the windows weren't shattered, none of us were hurt, they didn’t take EVERYTHING, and that the robbers left the vehicles in a drivable condition so we could continue on with our vacation. A few days later, we actually turned things to a lighter note making fun of the situation.

Once we got home, we were motivated to follow through with our insurance only to come and find out: just about everything was not covered.  The quote to replace the locks were under the deductible amount (no claim needed), the personal items were also under the deductibles (no claim) and as for me– well according to the adjuster, some minor line in the policy voided out most of my electronics.  Shocking? Yes. Hurtful? Yes. It really makes you question the reason why we must have insurance if we cannot even use it.  The minor things which were covered will increase the insurance rates- go figure.

My whole experience trying to replace my items were also like pulling teeth.  Being told to replace the phone, doing so at full retail cost, and then getting the news it probably isn’t covered is enough to make anyone red in the face. I was out of a cell phone for almost 3 weeks, in this day an age what a pain. I mean thankfully family and work allowed me to use their phones (respectfully off company time of course) to figure everything out.

Out of the whole situation I would say the worst part of it was: loosing all the pictures I cannot replace of my nephews recent birth.  I can handle: losing all calendar info (for a girl who lives by her cell phone calendar), calling history, texts (for other issues at hand), bookmarks of favorite websites, music, etc. it just doesn't compare.  If they were the nicest robbers in the world the one thing I could hope for is to send me my micro SD card back, I’m sure my address was somewhere in one of the many things stolen from me.  Wishful thinking.

The whole experience leaves you feeling VIOLATED, helpless and hopeless, everyone-is-out-to-get-you, nothing feels safe, shame, regret, and a million other thoughts and feelings.  It leaves you with a bad taste of the location in which it occurred, leaving you never to want to return there again.

I would say the situation also helped me (even just a little) try to be more grateful for the people and things I have worked hard at/on as opposed to those less fortunate.  There are many others in worse situations than I.  So even though scared/worried/stressed, I am grateful.
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