Wednesday, March 30, 2011


We have officially been pre-approved for a mortgage! Now we can meet with our realtor and start looking at homes for real :) Many thanks to my sister who recommended both our mortgage broker and realtor - so far so good!

Unfortunately, the pre-approval process that should have taken a few days was drawn out to almost two painstaking months! Long story short... James disputed a charge on his credit card over a year ago. Capitol One (who I am not a fan of currently!) left it kind of "pending" on his credit report for the whole past year. So our loan officer couldn't access his credit score.

It took many, many weeks of phone calls, explaining and re-explaining that they needed to fix it... but here we are! We're so ready to get started.

If any newbie home buyers like me are interested in what it took to be pre-approved, here's a list of documents we needed to provide. I know a few months ago I was super curious about what we'd need to do, so here you go...
  • W-2s from the past two years
  • Federal tax returns from the past two years
  • Pay stubs from the past two months
  • Bank statements from the past two months
  • Copies of our driver licenses and social security cards
  • Our marriage license
  • James' college transcript and diploma (Only because he's been out and working full time for under a year)
  • James' DD2-14 (Military discharge paperwork - only because we're getting a VA loan)
I think our loan officer is much more thorough than others who may not require all of these things before even finding a house, but I see that as a good thing. Considering the trouble it has been already, I'd hate to fall in love with a house and then loose it due to missing paperwork!

We'll hopefully check out some houses soon, and I'll be sure to share the experience here :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Girls night out

My friend Andrea planned a girls night out for our group of friends, so on Friday night we went out to dinner at Kupro's Bistro, drinks at Dive Bar, and dancing at Social and Badlands. We had a blast and one too many Washington apples!

I used to have nights out like this allll the time a few years ago, but I hadn't in a long time. Honestly these days I'd rather hang out with my friends at one of our houses. However, once in a while it's great to change it up and do something different.

I am so thankful to have found a great group of friends. I have very few friends from college that I'm still close with, and only one from high school [actually first grade!] that I still actually see regularly. 

All of these ladies [and their boyfriends/hubbies] I met since graduating from college and I finally have that group that I can picture our kids growing up together. Okay some of us... and some of our kids will babysit the others' kids in a really, really long time ;) Haha ♥

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dreaming of home ownership - living rooms

I'm all about comfort and live-ability.

Inspiration images found here.

We'll keep our two current couches for a while because they're in fine shape, but eventually I'd love a sectional like this one. I love couches with a chaise - so comfy!

We have this coffee table

And these matching end tables

So we might get this coordinating media stand,

but we're waiting on that purchase. It's possible that we'll have a fireplace and mount our flat screen above it. We'll see. It often seems too high for me, but in some rooms that's what works best.

As for specifics about the actual room... I can't think of anything that's a must-have besides just enough space! Carpet or wood doesn't matter much to me and a fireplace would be a plus but not necessary at all.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Videos of Dublin & Venice

This is way overdue, but I finally uploaded some videos that I took in Europe last summer. You'll notice [if you watch it, that is. I hardly ever watch other bloggers' videos, so my feelings won't be hurt if you politely move along] that we can't stop talking for even one minute for a good video! That's always how it is...

This first one is from the first day of my trip when I arrived in Dublin. It's a live Irish band performing at Temple Bar - Irish music is so fun!

Here's one from the same day. We were outside of Dublin Castle and this group of people was singing. I creepily recorded them because they were so good [The images are capturing the buildings so that I wasn't just pointing my camera at them. You really only need to listen to the audio.]

And finally, one from Venice, Italy of the gondolas floating down the canal. Isn't it so beautiful?! I think it's probably the prettiest city I've ever been to. It doesn't even seem real.

If you're interested in reading all the posts about my 2-week European adventure last summer, click here!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Recent recipe wins

I love to read cooking blogs, meal plan and cook lately, I think it's something that happens to newlyweds. Here are some the recipes I've tried recently that are definite repeats!

Pizza Dough

Next time I'm going to try it with whole wheat flour, and I'll update this post with the results. Update: I tried it with whole wheat flour - it's fine but much better with white! That's how I'm going to make it from now on.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
(from my bloggy friend

Amazing! That's all I have to say! Everyone loves it.

Healthy Baked Potato Soup

This is almost as good as the recipe I posted a few months ago, but a lot healthier because instead of all potatoes it's half potatoes, half pureed cauliflower.

Cilantro Lime Rice

I made it with brown rice and it was still sooo good, just like Chipotle.

Fresh Salsa

I've realized that salsa freshly made at home far surpasses any prepared salsa I can buy. I like this base recipe, and add to it lime/lemon juice, sometimes cilantro, and I'd like to try corn too. Fresh tomatoes can be used instead of canned, and I keep it chunky instead of blending it.

Bolognese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Pretty and delicious :)

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

I added some BBQ sauce on top of the sandwich.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Open houses 3/6/11

Today we visited three open houses. If I could have convinced hubby, we would have gone to about 30. There were open house signs on every corner!

The first one we knew before going that it wasn't for us, but it's only a block from our house so we wanted to check it out anyway!

Besides being pretty far out of our price range, it only has one bathroom. I thought it would be nicer though. Everything was so outdated and it just seemed like it has seen better days. On the plus side, it did have charming built-ins and a cute living room. Even if we liked it we can't afford it.

The second house was not in our plans, but it was across the street from house #1 so we checked it out without knowing the price or any details.

It turned out to be about twice our budget, and nice for the most part but still only one bathroom (common in this old neighborhood).

It had a super creepy dungeon-esque basement. A great home overall though, with a beautiful living and dining room.

The last house is more modern. It's in a cute neighborhood, although the schools are not very good.

We didn't like this one either... it appears nice at first glance, but everything was put together very cheaply. Like the carpets were coming up on the sides. It had a nice layout but it's not for us.

We're working on getting pre-approved for a loan right now, and I'm getting impatient! I really want to start making appointments because there are some homes that I'd love to see and I think we'd really like.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dreaming of home ownership - bathrooms

Our bathroom situation right now is... not the best. For starters, we have only one. In our next house, I'd love to have at least 1.5 bathrooms. James says we need two but I've convinced him to look at houses with 1.5 if they're in ideal neighborhoods.

In addition to having only one bathroom, it's a small one at that. There's room for approximately one body in there, which is why I do my makeup in the hallway, with the mirror I mounted there. A master bath with two sinks would be fantastic.

I forgot to say in my kitchen post how much I love mosaic tile. I actually imagine it more as a kitchen backsplash

but I'll put it out there now that I'd love it in a shower as well!

A nice shower head is a must too. I've replaced the standard shower in almost every rental I've had - although 5'9" isn't that tall, it seems like showers are made for people who are 5'2"... I can't stand having to bend down to wash my hair!

I admit that this detail is kind of silly, but I like it okay?! We've stayed at several hotels that have this curved shower curtain rod. It feels like you have so much room when you're showering, and I want one :)

My cosmetics storage is a bit of a cluster currently because we have a pedestal sink. It's really cute but the only storage in the bathroom is the small medicine cabinet. Drawers = a dream come true.

I like calm, relaxing paint colors like blue and gray.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wine tasting in Placerville

I wanted to share some photos of a wine tasting day from a few weekends ago - we were celebrating my sister's birthday and hit up some yummy wineries in the mountains!

Our group included myself, mom, sister and three of her friends. Lots of fun! Thanks for driving Mom! And thanks for taking the photos Kelly... I totally stole all of these from Facebook.

There was snow as we got higher up, and it was even snowing when we first arrived. This is a big deal to me because I hardly ever see snow :)