Archive for August, 2012

Bathroom Facelift

August 22, 2012

Moving into a new place and making it our own is always something that I’ve enjoyed but since we’re renting our condo instead of owning it we’re forced to make the best with what we have. Luckily our landlord has given us free reign to paint whatever we want so after giving the entire living area and kitchen a new coat right after we moved in we finally got around to tackling the bathroom.

The walls were a nasty beige color with plenty of grunge while the ceiling had been half painted making the whole space look unfinished. I knew that simply painting the walls white would lighten everything up and make it feel cleaner but I wanted to do a little more to make the room seem larger…horizontal stripes to the rescue!

Taping off and painting the stripes was really fun, especially the tape removal step; pulling off all of the tape afterwards and seeing those crisp, straight lines magically appear made the whole project worth it. Here are a couple before and after photos…

If we owned this place we would have taken down the glass shower door the day we moved in and put up a tall shower curtain to hide that dark line of tiles at the top…they’re so ugly. Aside from the shower door I love the bathroom now, it’s so bright in there even without a window. My intention was for the stripes to be very subtle. The colors were so subtle in fact that when I had the paint mixed I almost had the guy darken the blue color because I couldn’t see the difference when the cans were sitting next to each another. I’m glad I didn’t though because once the paint was on the wall and dry the contrast was perfect.

As a part of this bathroom facelift I also made a little shelf to hang above the toilet. I bought a few pieces of weathered hardwood from a guy I connected with via Craigslist, grabbed a couple shelf brackets from the HD and threw it together after cutting the board to size. Right now it’s holding a few mementos from Hawaii {shell necklaces, lava rocks and sea shells} plus a free print of a shell I found online and a faux starfish.

While on my weathered wood scavenger hunt I found a piece of large baseboard that I thought could be fun to turn into a mason jar masterpiece. These DIY vase/candle/trinket holders are all over Pinterest and all you need are wide mouth pint jars, some hose clamps and a few screws.

The whole piece is 24 inches wide and is hung above our sink in the kitchen. Inside the jars are some tea light candles sitting on top of the sand that we brought back from our honeymoon.

I wish I could just make a living off of building things like this and selling them to others, I had so much fun doing it. Maybe someday :)


Leaving the Past & Looking Forward

August 20, 2012

In August of 2005 I knew exactly what I wanted to be; after my first few weeks of architecture courses I was hooked and completely in love with the idea of becoming an architect. My degree was very challenging in many ways and I had to work harder than I ever had for anything else before to earn it.

But over the years this shining goal that I was striving for became tarnished, bit by bit, by some hard facts:

– Becoming a licensed architect takes about 8 years, similar to becoming a doctor, and they don’t earn as much as they should.

– Architecture is a project-based career meaning lots of long hours to meet deadlines and constant stress.

When I think about fact #1, a couple thoughts come to mind…I consider myself to be an efficient person and I personally can’t justify spending so much time, money and effort working towards a career that isn’t going to pay me back. On the other hand if I truly love architecture, shouldn’t it be worth it regardless of compensation? Do I really love architecture as much as I thought I did in the beginning of undergrad? Am I just using this as a reason to quit because I’m lazy and I don’t want to put in the hard work required to become licensed? Or am I just afraid of failure?

Fact #2 is probably the most important one to me…not long after beginning my first semester of undergrad I met Mark and little did I know then but having him in my life would significantly alter what I deemed important. Jump ahead to the present and the top of my “Life Priority List” looks something like this: our future family, our marriage, family and friendships. This is my core. Everything else including money, careers, material things and social status fall below those top items and are in the peripheral. The last thing I want is a career that competes with the top of my list, penetrates my core, steals time from my family and causes me to be stressed.

I worked for a couple of years in a project-based environment and I would find myself thinking about the work I had yet to do when I was at home, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I didn’t wanted to spend time outside of work with my coworkers because they never talked about anything besides the ongoing projects. Their work literally consumed their entire lives and I never ever want to see that happen to me.

It’s not easy for me to come to terms with the fact that I don’t have a life-long career plan. It’s not easy for me to see my friends graduating with their masters degrees and going on to become architects. It’s not easy for me to explain to my parents why I’m not utilizing the degree that they paid for. It’s not easy for me to hold back the tears when I’m innocently asked if I’ve applied for any architecture jobs lately. It’s not easy for me to go to job interviews and explain why I’m pursuing something outside of my degree. It’s not easy for me to swallow my pride and work at an $8.25 an hour job, knowing that I’m capable of much more.

All of these thoughts have been stirring in my heart for a very long time now and it’s something that I’ve prayed about incessantly. In the end, there’s no short answer as to why I am no longer pursuing architecture. That’s why I have written this out; it’s the long answer. Getting all of this off my chest is therapy for me more than anything else; keeping it all bottled up inside for so long was beginning to tear me down.

Basically, I’ve decided to put this behind me and start looking forward. I may not know what my next job will be or where I want to be working in 5, 10, 20 years but I do know this…that I want to be the best wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, cousin and someday mother that I can be. As long as I am doing my best to be those things, I will be happy and I hope that I can continue to trust God and his timing with the rest.

– Afterthought –

Mark and I were talking the other day about how we each came to the decision to attend Texas A&M versus any other school. I realized that I chose A&M for it’s top 10 architecture program; I didn’t even apply anywhere else. Architecture brought me to A&M which led to Mark and I finding each other…if that was the sole purpose of architecture in my life, then I’m OK with that :)

New England 2012

August 1, 2012

Vacationing in the northeast is always such a treat; we get to spend time with family, relax on the lake, celebrate the 4th of July and eat ice cream every single day :) This year my parents joined us as well for a few days, it was great to be able to share our fun traditions with them.

Our first full day was all about farm tours. We visited Cider Hill Farm again just as we had done two years ago except this time we got a personal tour of the entire 100+ acres thanks to Grandpa Rand’s connection with the farm’s owner. Here we all are at the top of a hill near the apple orchard overlooking the rest of the farm.

Their farm store {once again} did not disappoint; they had tons of fresh produce, other local food items and wares as well as their delicious apple cider donuts.

Our first ice cream stop of the trip was at Hodgie’s and it was just as yummy as I had remembered. I had warned my parents ahead of time about the amount of ice cream we’d be consuming on this vacation but I still don’t think they really knew what they were in for!

Classic Mark.

The second day we stopped at Marty’s Donut Land in Ipswich which just so happened to be established in the same year that my dad was born. The coincidence merited buying a t-shirt for my dad and a few donuts for the road.

One of my favorite things about the northeast in the summer is the amount of flowers in everyone’s yard. Our theory is that they spend so much time indoors during the long winter that they are super excited to get out and do yard work once spring rolls around.

We visited Crane Beach and walked along the sands for a while. It was pretty cool to dip our toes in the Atlantic knowing that we were just near the Pacific a day earlier.

The next morning we drove up to Naples, Maine to celebrate the 4th and meet up with Mark’s parents at camp.

We watched the parade coming down the main street in Naples from the second story deck at Rick’s and did a little shopping at the boutiques around town.

My dad brought a washers set up from Texas so we could play a few games in the side yard. I think this will become a go-to fun thing to do around camp in the future.

Mandy and I got our Pinterest on with these white chocolate dipped strawberries. They were incredibly easy to make and I’ve already used this idea a second time for an Olympic ceremony watching party that we went to last week.

With the threat of thunderstorms and rain on the night of the 4th we opted out of watching the fireworks from the boat and instead enjoyed dinner all together at the Freedom Cafe. The rain cleared just in time for the fireworks display to begin and we had great seats on a patio overlooking the lake. Of course, we couldn’t pass up some Dairy Bar and their red, white and blue sprinkles!

The next day we all went to Bob’s Lobster Pound for a lobster lunch complete with corn on the cob and sweet potato fries.

My mom had never tried lobster before and my dad hadn’t had it in quite a while so it was a fun treat. I myself have only eaten lobster a few times, trying to limit myself to only having it in Maine or in really nice restaurants. A whole, red lobster always looks so pretty and perfect, it’s almost a shame to crack into it, haha.

After taking my parents to the airport the next day we headed back up to camp with Logan in tow. That afternoon Pat, Mandy and I made a trip to Freeport, the home of L.L. Bean, for some outlet shopping; we just so happened to be there during the celebration of L.L. Bean’s 100th anniversary and the entire town was having a huge party with tons of street vendors and live concerts. It was a fun place to be!

Our remaining few days in Maine were spent on the water. It’s kind of hard not to when the weather and scenery are as beautiful as this.

We had fun playing with the leftover sparklers on the dock at sunset.

One full day was spent cruising on the boat along the Songo River, through the lock and on to Frye Island on Sebago Lake for lunch. On our way back the boat decided to quit on us so we had to be towed back through the lock and the river; it was quite an experience but we made the best of it!

Mandy and I both tried our hand at fishing on Brandy Pond this year and though we both ended up catching one fish each, they were a bit too small to keep.

On our last day in Naples Mark and his dad played a round of golf while Pat and I did some shopping in Bridgeton. We met up with them for lunch afterwards before heading back to the Boston area that afternoon.

I can’t really explain why I’m so in love with this place…it must be the perfect combination of family, nature, sunshine, water and ice cream :) I can’t wait to go back next year!