Sunday, November 30, 2014

So... we bought a house

These cute Jamberry nails earned a closeup
for making the downpayment!
My husband and I did something a little crazy... we bought a house! I know, I know. Most thirty-somethings have houses already. It's a normal part of the whole "becoming an adult" process that most of us go through. Except, my husband and I continue to prove that we're anything but normal.

When we met in February 2008 {had our first date on Valentine's Day, actually}, we were living about an hour apart. I was teaching in Indiana and Ryan worked in clinical research at a hospital in Dayton while also working on his masters degree. By the time we got engaged after Christmas in 2009, the commute to see each other was getting old. Taking turns packing and unpacking for weekends away was a mess and seeing each other only on the weekends wasn't much fun either. We decided to go on and move into our current townhouse together, splitting the difference between our two separate apartments. This meant we'd each commute to work every day instead of to each other on the weekends. Nice trade off, huh? =)

Around this time, Ryan also decided he wanted to go back to school full-time to become a doctor. Any visions of buying a house after the wedding quickly went out the window. We weren't sure where we'd end up and there was definitely not enough money for a house on my teacher salary with Ryan going back to school full time. Fortunately our townhouse was brand new construction, in a nice part of time, and had a yard big enough for our dogs to play. 

Ultimately we got married and stayed put here in our townhouse. After many years, Ryan is finally set to graduate medical school and start residency this summer. Combined with my income from Ms. Fultz's Corner and Jamberry, I've been able to save up a significant downpayment while he was still in school. Knowing we'd want to buy a house soon after he receives his permanent placement in March, we started to visit open houses. It became quickly apparent that we didn't really agree on anything, ha! He wanted a project, I wanted move-in ready. He wanted some space, I preferred a neighborhood. I wanted a beautiful office with French doors, he wanted a man cave.

It was his birthday!
We started thinking we might want to build a house instead and began looking at production builders. And then one afternoon on a total whim, we walked into a model home and fell in love. Seriously. In love. Like the way you're never supposed to when looking for expensive things like cars and houses or puppies {that's a different story}. We couldn't get the model out of our heads. 

The great thing about building a production home is that it isn't really going anywhere. That builder has a handful of neighborhoods, each with a dozen lots to pick from. The house would be there... later... when we're ready. Except we only had our eye on one lot. ONE LOT, friends! It's tucked away, in the corner, by a little pond and green space, backed up by woods. Privacy and a neighborhood at the same time. The highest lot premium too, of course. That's how my taste always seems to go. But we wanted it. Roll the dice, right?

So... we bought it. haha What?! We aren't 100% sure we'll still be here in this area by the time summer rolls around, but we put down earnest money and signed a contingent contract that will let us walk away if we do get relocated in March. I don't even want to think about losing that deposit, but sometimes you just have a feeling, you know? I can see our little babies in there already. ;) We're set to close in May, so it's going to be a long six months.
Can't you see little kids playing in this yard??
But for now it's full steam ahead with options-- wood flooring, tile, facades, lighting, paint, bathtubs, oh my! I'm a woman on a mission. I can't wait to share more with you here, but until then here's a link to my Making Our House a Home Pinterest board. I'm always looking for more inspiration boards to follow, so I'd love it if you left the link to yours!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pinterest Project: Washi Tape Clipboard

I spend a lot of timing browsing Pinterest for inspiration. Middle of the night insomnia? Check Pinterest. Can't decide on paint colors? Consult Pinterest. Looking for a unique gift idea? Yup, Pinterest. How on earth do I style my new boots? Again, Pinterest for the win. It's seriously like having a network of expert girlfriends who are always on call. 

However, I'm sure we've all seen the popular {and often funny} Pinterest fails too. So one of the things I want to do here with my new blog is share the ones that have actually been successful. One of my favorite Pinterest projects to date is this cute washi tape clipboard. I tend to get caught up in the details and want everything to be absolutely perfect, so I wasn't sure how this one would go. I went in without a roadmap, but actually love the way it turned out.

The Scotch Expressions Tape was easy to reposition, so I was able to play with it quite a bit. Didn't like the way it went? Just pull it off and try again. 

They've come out with new color options since I made mine, so I'm seeing a repeat project in my near future. These clipboards would make great gifts for your child's teacher this holiday season too. I love to give teacher gifts that are personal without breaking the budget. Handmade items and a thoughtful card go a long way!

You can head over to this Pinterest search to see many more washi tape clipboard options for more ideas. Here are a few of my favorites though. I'd love to see your results!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

If you give Christi a pair of boots...

Things in my life have a tendency to spiral. I blame it on my perfectionist side and it happens so quickly, sometimes I don't even realize it until I'm already down the rabbit hole. I compare it to the picture book series, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. For example, last Christmas, we bought a new chair for my office. Then I needed all new furniture. And a new color scheme. And art. "Good enough" is rarely actually good enough when it comes to me.

The same thing happened this weekend. I finally gave in to the tall boot craze that's sweeping Pinterest. I did my research and settled on a bourbon color that would pair well with both black and brown. Bonus points because they were on clearance at Nordstrom. If I'm going to take a risk, I tend to take a discounted one. Case in point: the ridiculously expensive Frye cowboy boots I bought this summer that are still in the box with tags. Don't worry, I wore them for 30 seconds when I tried them on. ;)

Anyway, my new boots arrived and I savored the unboxing. I have a bit of an online shopping problem, obviously. I like to savor them before jumping right in. Would they fit? Would they be too tall? Could I actually pull it off? Finally I gave in, ran upstairs, and hid in my closet to try them on. Perfection! Skirts, dresses, black tights, oh my! It was love. 

But then the spiraling happened. I needed tights in a multitude of colors. In comes and I now own more tights than there are days of the week. Hooray! 

After that, Pinterest pointed me to boots with jeans-- so cute! Problem: I don't own a single pair of skinny jeans. My legs are not that skinny and I am definitely not that trendy. I tried all of the tricks in the book to tuck and fold and imprison my flare jeans into those boots. I was left with nothing but a pair of bunchy knees. Not cute.

So Saturday brought a trip to the mall, determined to find a pair of skinny jeans that were actually not that skinny. Jeggings are not happening over here, people. After trying on several styles, it was Old Navy Flirty to the rescue. And the miracle of all miracles, I will actually wear these with my Tieks too. I'm going to rock a skinny jean, friends. What?!

Of course, I also had to buy a dozen other pieces because if I'm going to Old Navy, I'm coming out with an armful to mix and match. I've been all about the lace lately {see my Stitch Fix post and enter to win!} so I grabbed this top

I also grabbed a sheer polka dot top. I'm eager to wear this one over skirts, dresses, and leggings since it's a high-low.

But my favorite is probably this simple black and white skirt. I have tons of these for summer, but this one is thicker and more woven. 

I got to test out some of my new pieces at the Jamberry regionals leadership reception on Friday night. I went with a funky "shine bright" metallic shirt under a cardigan I already had. I was worried about breaking in the boots, but they were actually really comfortable, no complaints at all!

Who would have known one new pair of boots would have led to all that? ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November Stitch Fix: It's All About The Layers

I'm sure many of you have heard of Stitch Fix by now. I have to confess, I was hesitant to jump on board. I love online shopping, but having someone else pick out the clothes for me? I wasn't so sure. Would they fit? Would I even like them? I've heard they're kind of expensive too. But ultimately, curiosity got the best of me. I'm so glad it did!

First of all, the box! So much anticipation in there. I actually waited to open it instead of tearing into it right away. I wanted to savor it, just like I do with my Christmas presents when I try to open them without ripping the paper. Once I finally got inside, the directions were easy enough. Exactly what I had signed up for-- no catches.

My stylist also wrote me a little note to describe why she picked out each piece for me. She had visited my Pinterest style board and really listened to the form I filled out when I joined Stitch Fix. She noted my love for layering and chevron perfectly. The pieces aren't designed to be worn together, but instead mixed and matched with things you already own. But as you'll see in my fix, many of them would actually work together too this time.

Then it was time to dive in. Eek! My eye instantly went down a few layers to that gorgeous teal polka dot print.

But first up was this Britt Ombre Chevron Infinity Wrap Scarf. I love wearing scarves because they can be dressed up or down so easily. With a million combinations and different ways to tie them, I get a lot of different looks out of each one. This one was a nice size; not too thick and not too sheer either.

Next up, an edgy piece. It's a faux leather trimmed cardigan by Sherwood. Initially I thought no way I'd wear it, but I actually really liked it once I put it on. It was a little too long in the arms and baggy around the waist though. If it had been a little bit more tailored, I would have snatched it up in a heartbeat. And I think this is why I wanted to try Stitch Fix afterall-- to try out new style I wouldn't pick for myself. 

Next up, the item I had my eye on from the start-- Jace Dot Print Fit and Flare dress. The fabric was perfect and the teal dots on dark chocolate could be dressed up or down. The length was great and it looked like it would have enough swing in it from the pleats to be fun and flirty. Except once I put it on, the pleats reminded me more of an apron by the way the front one fell. 

On to the next one, a Shaylin Lace Detail Sleeveless Blouse. Lightweight, dressy, and the lace detail? Oh my!

You have to see the lace up close. Seriously. The fit was great across the back/shoulders where the lace is and it will be a great piece on its own or under cardigans and blazers.

Finally, the fifth piece-- Pandora Stretch Sueded Leggings. Similar to the cardigan, I wasn't so sure. I'm just now jumping onto the legging trend and wasn't sure I could pull these off. But after locking myself in my closet alone, what did I have to lose by trying? =) On they went. And you know what? I liked them! My stylist, Cailey, was totally right that they'd pair well with the cobalt blouse or with the chevron scarf. Except they were a little too baggy around the waist and booty so the legging look wasn't so hot. haha

So what was my ultimate decision with my November fix? I decided to keep the cobalt blouse and send the rest back. I would have kept the scarf too, but already have one very similar. I would have also kept the leggings and cardigan if they had been a tiny bit smaller. The dress ended up just not being the right shape for me, it happens. 

The great thing about Stitch Fix though is that you receive your box for a $20 styling fee. This fee is then applied to anything you decide to purchase, so the shirt only ended up costing an additional $18. Everything else went back with a pre-paid label and we'll try again next month. Based on the feedback you give each month, the boxes get better and better too. You even get an additional discount if you decide to keep everything in your box. I'm already looking forward to my December fix. Why don't you give Stitch Fix a try? I'd love to see your results!

To help with your first one, I'm giving away a $50 Stitch Fix gift card. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Completely Christi?

Completely Christi has been the project picking at the back of my brain, keeping me awake at night, for weeks now. It started when I saw this picture on Pinterest. 
{source unknown}

Isn't that the truth? When I resigned from teaching this summer, I had a lot of people ask me if I was crazy {maybe}, but the truth is... I'm 100% at peace with where I'm at. What if we all could do that? What if we all lived life a little more free? What if we took more chances and did things that felt right for ourselves and our family without worrying if others approved? 

You may have followed me over from my education blog, so I have a feeling you will relate to what I'm about to share. For the majority of the last ten years, a large part of my identity was being a teacher. I worried about my students over dinner, stayed awake at night strategizing, and reworked lesson plans in the shower. Small pay checks  were stretched even further to get school supplies and books for my classroom, often at the expense of my own groceries when I first started teaching. 

But over the last year or two, something started to change. Maybe it was turning 30. Maybe it was the changing politics of education. Maybe it was the ticking clock of wanting to start a family. Maybe it was just me finally becoming me and realizing I needed more than my classroom to be complete.

Whatever it was, it became clear that I wasn't the same. My own small classroom was no longer enough; there was more I needed to do. 
So as our family's only income source (my husband is a full-time med student), I resigned from teaching to become self-employed full time. I wanted more time to create materials for other teachers to make their work lighter, more time to design blogs, and more time to just explore what the next step is going to be. 

At the same time, as women we are more than our careers. We are friends, sisters, mothers, daughters, wives... I have more to offer than lesson plans and digital designs. I love home decor, DIY projects, and fashion. From time to time I've been known to make a recipe or sew a baby blanket. I enjoy traveling and shopping and reading just because books. I'm bursting for an outlet for those things and Ms. Fultz's Corner isn't it.

Completely Christi will be my space for 
family, DIY Pinterest projects, sewing, home decor, fashion, beauty, recipes, and all the other things we juggle as women.  I hope it inspires you to put yourself back on the list too. You deserve it.