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My husband and I bought a home over the summer that I naively believed was NOT a fixer-upper. Yes, it’s older (built in 1965). Yes, there were some things I wanted to update. But I didn’t imagine I’d be living in a construction zone for almost three months or that I’d only feel finished with all my projects this week!
Here’s my remodeling journey… 🙂
This was the biggest chore (for me) and what I’m most proud of. The original kitchen had two-tone wood cabinets that were dark and old-fashioned. My hubby felt they reminded him of a trailer or a boat cabin. They definitely weren’t our style! LOL Before the floors even went in, I removed all the cupboards, sanded all surfaces, then sprayed everything what was supposed to be an elegant, sophisticated blue-gray color. It ended up with a bit more lavender in it than we expected, but I love my kitchen! It’s much brighter and fresher while still keeping the kooky 1960s style and function.
The house came with wall-to-wall baby blue carpeting (even in the bathrooms!) that no one liked. I wasn’t sure, but it looked and smelled like the 1980s. This was our first priority to change. My hubby and I tore out all the old flooring ourselves and then hired an amazing crew to lay wood-grain tile throughout the entire house. Except in my daughter’s room. She had to be unique and requested new carpet. After a few cleanings, the floors are unbelievably beautiful! It makes the rooms look bigger and will keep us cool in the summer. Bonus–they’re much easier to clean with kids and dogs running around.
My daughter got into the remodeling game, too, requesting to remove part of a closet to add more room, to put up blackboard paint on two walls, and installing new turquoise carpet. It all came out beautifully.
The one thing our master suite was missing was a true walk-in closet. So, though the cost really ate into our budget, we went ahead and hired a contractor. I’m so glad we did. It was worth every penny.
On top of everything else, there were plenty of smaller projects to take up my time. Everything from painting to installing a new fridge with a water line.
I’m not ready to get my contractor’s license and flip houses, but the experience has been fulfilling and educational. I’m excited to begin living in the house rather than working on the house. I’m looking forward to years and years of comfortable, happy existence.
Do you have a remodeling story? Share in the comments!
P.S. I’m headed back to work on Beasts of Vegas #3, my NaNoWriMo 2016 project. Only 7 days until deadline. My current word count => 37,000.
I can’t stop smiling after The Vampire Diaries convention in Burbank last weekend! I not only got to hear panels from stars of TVD and The Originals, but I actually got to meet and talk with Ian Somerhalder, Damon Salvatore himself! It was a dream come true.
Back when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was still on the air, I went to my first fan convention in Pasadena, CA and had my photo taken with Buffy’s bad boy vampire, James Marsters (Spike).
Sunday, I ran into Damon and Stefan Salvatore (or their cardboard lookalikes). I wonder if they’re actually that tall?
Before the show, Ian was spotted looking amazing. The photo caught him in the middle of a friendly, “Hello guys.”
First up, Michael Malarkey (Enzo) and Chris Wood (Kai). They spent the entire panel making jokes, singing, and beatboxing. It’s too bad their characters never shared a scene on The Vampire Diaries because they were hilarious together.
Finally, Paul Wesley (Stefan) and Ian Somerhalder (Damon) took the stage at the end of the day. Though they must have been exhausted, they remained upbeat as they answered fan questions they’ve probably answered a hundred times already (“Which season of the show was your favorite?” Ian => season 1, Paul => season 3, “What is your favorite ship on the show?” Ian & Paul => Stamon LOL, and “If you could only eat one food the rest of your life what would it be?” Ian => dark chocolate, Paul => vegan cookies.)
Then, the highlight of the day (maybe the year)–cozying up to Mr. Somerhalder. He was so charming and polite, giving each lady in line (and there were hundreds) personal attention. He gave me a high five for being a writer and made us all, in the ten seconds or so we stood next to him, feel special.
Afterwards, I was slightly euphoric.
Attending the convention was so much fun. I’ve been a huge fan of The Vampire Diaries from the very beginning (I watched the pilot at Comic Con before it aired and attended the panel when Ian Somerhalder was famous for playing Boone on Lost and I didn’t really know who Paul Wesley or Nina Dobrev were. I adored the pilot, though, and immediately started reading the books in preparation for the TV premiere that fall.)
Here are my two bad boy vampires. I feel so lucky to have met them both. Their characters and storylines have definitely influenced my writing, including the Beasts of Vegas Series, and my career.
This was my second excursion to the Grand Canyon, but the last time I went my husband and I walked to the edge, saw it, and went back to our hotel room. So, this year I really wanted to enjoy the experience. Bonus–it was my daughter’s first visit.
We started our adventure in Williams, Arizona at the Grand Canyon Railroad Depot with a live cowboy shoot-out!
The train ride was about 2 hours, but it hardly felt that long. We enjoyed live entertainment and a dining car, plus the passing scenery was one-of-a-kind. It was like a trip back through time to the American West of the nineteenth century.
After our arrival, I didn’t just want to stand at the edge, I really wanted to spend time in the National Park. I hadn’t planned far enough in advance for burro rides or anything like that (maybe next year!), but we did take the angel trail toward the bottom of the canyon. It was so early in the year, there was still snow on the ground, which made the trail slippery, but the cowboys on horseback we passed didn’t seem to have any problem with it.
The views were spectacular, and I’m so glad we slowed down and took our time.
My favorite part of the trip, though, was finding the Native rock art along the Angel trail. I’m a huge fan of all things historical and archaeological, so I was definitely on a hunt for the artwork from the moment I heard it was visible from the trail. It took a while to find, but I did finally discover red animals, shapes, and humanoid figures on the canyon wall.
If anyone knows anything more about the rock art in the Grand Canyon, I’d love to hear about it!
Finally, on our way back to Williams our train was boarded by a nefarious gang of outlaws. Luckily, we all survived to tell the tale.
Last summer, I was in Washington and visited Forks. It was so much fun! I’ve been a fan of vampires for a long time, and I couldn’t wait to visit the setting for Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.
First, it’s very long drive from Seattle through some of the most beautiful, green forests I’ve ever seen.
Our first stop was the city’s visitor’s center (well worth the visit!).
From there, we used the city’s handy map and found the Swan House.
Our third stop was Dr. Cullen’s office at the local hospital.
Finally, my favorite spot–the Cullen residence complete with a note from Esme! I was in fan heaven. 🙂
If you’re a fan of vampires, too, I highly recommend a trip to Forks. It’s a bit out of the way, but it’s like walking through the books. It’s well worth the drive. And the town, which saw a huge tourism uptick during the height of Twilight hysteria, could use a boost now that most people have moved on to new fandoms.
I had so much fun!
I’m so excited! It’s been a couple years since I last attended Comic-Con (the cast of Twilight was one of the panels, it was so long ago), and I’m silently screaming with glee at the chance to go back. I’ve been lucky enough to see all of my favorite casts in person (from Vampire Diaries to Teen Wolf) and I can’t wait to wade through the crowds and enjoy being a pop culture nerd for a weekend.
In preparation for my return trip, I put together a slide show of past cons.
Hello my darlings,
It’s been a rough few months, but I needed to reach out and explain why I took the second half of 2015 off from both writing and social media.
I moved over the summer from North Carolina to southern California with my husband, daughter, dog, and tortoise. It’s been a difficult transition–making new friends, finding a place to call our own, starting school, and feeling like fish out of water.
In October I was blessed to start a full-time teaching job, but I went from working a couple days a week (8:00-3:00) to working five days a week (7:00-4:30). To make things worse, I took over in the middle of the year after a teacher quit. It’s been a stressful few months playing catch up.
Lastly and worst of all, my little brother passed away in December from complications after a brain aneurysm. It was so sudden and gut-wrenching, I spent weeks and weeks crying and walking around in a fog of shock.
To say I have been under a lot of stress the last eight months or so would be an understatement. I had bouts of creativity. I participated in Nation Novel Writing Month in November. I worked on several manuscripts, here and there, but I haven’t been mentally or physically strong enough to write seriously since last summer.
Now, though, I’m relieved to say I’m feeling much better and have started working hard on a new novel in my Red Plague series.
I hope you have all been well since we last connected online, and I look forward to reconnecting in the next few weeks.
On Monday afternoon I received one of the worst phone calls I’ve ever had. My 35-year-old brother, my only sibling, had suffered a brain aneurysm. After four days in a coma, he remains in ICU fighting for his life.
Obviously, finishing NaNo has taken a back seat to making phone calls, driving two hours to LA every other day, and sitting in terrible waiting rooms. I remain at the 40K mark, but I don’t think I’ll make 50K by the 30th, and that’s okay.
If you’re still in the race, good luck. I’m rooting for you.