5 House-Buying Thoughts…

Despite all of the stars aligning to get us this house, we’ve been hitting speed bump after speed bump…all of which has been more or less out of our control. And while I have a feeling some of what we’re experiencing is unique to our situation, holy moley Joe and I are both at the “literally can’t even” stage of all of this. I like to think that I (generally) have a positive outlook on life…heck – I joke that my mantra is Hakuna Matata – but lemme tell ya – there is nothing Hakuna Matata about buying a house.

Anyway. If you know me at all, you know I love my phone’s Disney GIF keyboard app. It just makes everything better, kind of like ice cream. Or wine. So of course as I was contemplating a house-related blog post (a grumpy one, at that) – I knew including Disney GIFs would keep me from getting too cynical about the whole ordeal. Here goes nothin!

1. Is it really that hard for our realtor to hit ‘reply all’ ?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind texting Joe (or vice versa) any time we hear back from the guy but come onnnn. We put each other in the CC box for a reason.

2. Well, I just got a nice new car. Maybe we can live in that for a while.

I guess maybe a cat, senile hedgehog and two humans might be a tight squeeze, but it is an option. (Kidding.) But really, there aren't even any other houses on the market right now that we like. We're absolutely between a rock and a hard place.
I guess maybe a cat, senile hedgehog and two humans might be a tight squeeze, but it is an option. (Kidding.) But really, there aren’t even any other houses on the market right now that we like.

3. Trying to focus on work things when shit is hitting the fan is hard.

Definitely doable. But hard. Gotta put my Anne Hathaway *focus face* on.

4. Can the owners of our current home just make a decision?

They’ve gone back and forth a handful of times now and it is not helping stress levels. “Sign this lease increase and extension by June 1st or we will assume you are finding somewhere else to live” okay looks like we’re staying put for another year “loljk the owners are thinking of selling the house” well shoot. oh but the berkley house is available again? cool beans! “Oh btw, you need to have the house clean and ready for showings in 5 days” well, we’re gone for 2.5 of those days, time for some speed cleaning “loljk they’re not going to sell it” at least now we have a clean house…?

5. Do the sellers even care about our well-being?

You're probably thinking "duh, Claire" - but really. We already offered to pay for most of the wiring/electrical issues on our own (still knob and tube) - the LEAST y'all can do is save me from having to inhale mold spores while I sleep.
You’re probably thinking no, Claire they just want to make money, duh – but really. The kitchen needs a remodel and we already offered to pay for most of the wiring/electrical issues on our own (still knob and tube set up) – the LEAST y’all can do is save me from having to inhale mold spores while I sleep.

Buying the Berkley house isn’t completely off the table. We still have to be out as close to the end of July as we can, which makes things difficult, but unless the sellers do a complete 180, we’ll probably have to start all over. Sigh. (Heck, we would probably be okay with just meeting somewhere in the middle!) I think it’s safe to say that we will both be consuming nice, cold, tall glass of…something with alcohol during Finding Dory tonight. Sheesh. Have I mentioned how great the Alamo Drafthouse is before? That’s another story for another day.

Surprise! Cute Baby Dory 🙂 Gotta end my grumpy post with something adorable.



The One That Got Away…

I’ve always thought people were joking when they say ‘it’s the little things that get to you’ when talking about their homes (rental or otherwise) – but Joe and I have been experiencing that first hand in our cute, but far too compact house here in Kzoo. We can’t both cook in the kitchen together, the bedrooms are tiny, the upstairs is pretty much unusable if it’s below 50 degrees outside…I could go on. Anyway, as much as I’d reeeeally not like to move all of our stuff again, Joe and I have been looking at places to move to once our lease is up…which unfortunately has been pretty unsuccessful; the vast majority of leases around here are a “private space” in a large house filled with college students. No thank you.


As strong as my feelings are about not moving all of our stuff again, my feelings about continuing to rent were even stronger for a variety of reasons- even if that does mean we’re praaaactically throwing money away.

Enter: our dream home.

For kicks and giggles I decided to look at houses for sale in the area, basically since all of the rental options were just so disappointing…and holy moley I found the absolute perfect house. 2 stories, amazing backyard, all new appliances, a farmhouse sink, island and ample storage space/cabinets in the kitchen, more than one bathroom….perfection, really.

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Anyway, I sent the link to Joe, which began a very quick but well thought out discussion of “would this be worth it…” resulting in a resounding yes. What? We’re both actually okay with starting the process of buying a house? (Of course, it’s not all sunshine and butterflies – the house is in a terrible school district.) So, I promptly emailed a realtor to get the low down on the house…only to learn that it sold yesterday.


It was only up for sale for 3 days before selling. It had 10 showings on Wednesday, which resulted in multiple offers and a successful sale. We’re actually both super sad about it – we’re very picky about what we want in a future house, and this one had literally everything – for an incredibly fair price. (But we definitely would have been doing some repainting. So much green!)

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Amazing, right? I’m really not surprised it sold so quickly. It was a great dream for all of…5 hours, and got the conversation started – maybe buying a house in Kzoo isn’t such a bad idea after all 🙂

Plus hey, now we have a good ‘base’/checklist for our future house hunting endeavors. We know what we want, and can compare back to the features of this house to make sure we’re not shorting ourselves on anything important.

(But really, that kitchen space though. Sigh…)


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wellllll, after being woken up for a yummy Valentine’s Day breakfast (Raspberry Lemon Dutch Baby – Parents Magazine) and selfie stick (!) (and pretty flowers/bottle of wine) I gave Joe full control of the Apple TV remote – quite a thoughtful gift, right? I thought so 😉 His first choice was A Faster Horse – a documentary on the creation of the 2015 Mustang that we actually saw in a Dearborn theater courtesy of Ford, but it was still just as interesting 🙂



Before he started on breakfast, Joe called a local restaurant (Rustica) that has a ‘day-of’ reservation policy, and set up dinner plans – and although that means getting out of leggings, I’m super excited!

Speaking of leggings…I got the comfiest pair of leggings EVER a couple weeks ago from the outlets outside of Grand Rapids…for $7!! So I decided to see if American Eagle had any more – and lo and behold, they were still online! $9 instead of $7, but considering I’ve been wearing these leggings after work basically every day since I got them, an additional $2 was totally worth it.

I’ve also been talking about replacing all of my bras, since I’m pretty sure the newest bra I’ve purchased was at least 3 years ago, but I’m thinking closer to 5? Either way, my bra-selection is in dire need of an upgrade, and what better day to buy new bras than on Valentine’s day?! I ended up getting 4 bras for only $16.50 each – it doesn’t get much better than that.

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treat yo self.

Anyway, Joe is taking a well-deserved nap and I’m catching up on Dance Moms while trying to figure out what disaster has struck my personal/graphic design website. It has resorted back to the “website” I made when learning HTML, and the email associated with that website hasn’t worked since February 3rd. Sigh. Hopefully I can get it figured out sooner rather than later, but at least I’m not applying for jobs/relying on my website right now!! We’ve got an hour to figure out what to wear to dinner tonight…the 7 degree real-feel temperature is not really working in my favor…brrrr.



A Very Naughty Nighttime Kitty.

cat mom
ick sorry this is so lo-res.

Well, I guess we can’t call her naughty, she’s just getting used to the lay of the land/our schedule, but regardless – Barb was a nutcase last night, resulting in not the most restful of sleeps.

Including, but not limited to: a kitty cannonball from the top of our headboard onto my sleeping body, and a spider plant crashing to the floor (in a ceramic planter that miraculously didn’t break) at 3am.

It only took one night for us to change our minds about letting her into our room, even if that means sacrificing a plant now and then. Instead, we’ll be trying out a few internet suggestions to keep the incessant meowing at our door to a minimum. Yay, kitty parenting!

Such a cuddly and innocent kitty during the day!
So cute, cuddly, and innocent during the day!

Well that’s that. Here’s hoping we’ll get a restful night of sleep sometime in the near future 😉


Meet Barb!


Barbra Streisand.


Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Barbra Ann.

Or Barbie if you wish, but I think I reject that. She’s not a Barbie. There are so many better options; Barbecue and Barbra Streisand being personal favorites.

If you follow me on basically ANY form of social media (Snapchat followers got the brunt of it this past weekend,) you’ve probably learned by now that we rescued a 1 year old kitty named Barb (yes, we’re keeping her name) from the shelter on Saturday and we couldn’t be more excited! We’ve both already determined that while we’d be significantly more tired, a baby would probably be easier than introducing a cat to a new house. She flip flops between being incredibly mischievous and “omg wait I’ve actually suddenly decided that thing is terrifying,” but I suppose that’s to be expected.

Trying to get into our bedroom. She’s been successful twice when we didn’t close the door quite fast enough.
Felted catnip wine bottles are her current toy-of-choice.

Barb was 4 months pregnant when she was found outside and brought to the shelter on Halloween of 2015, so obviously we’re making up for her not so great start to life by spoiling the crap out of her! 🙂 So many toys, nose boops, probably too many treats, and as many pets as she can handle.

She’s scared of the TV (but slowly coming around with help from catnip and treats,) is really interested in going basically anywhere we don’t want her to go (our bedroom and the basement,) and pretty much flat out refuses to wear her super cute “Jedi in Training” collar, which she manages to chew off within 1 minute of us putting it on, without fail. She’s not a biter, and basically only takes her claws out to play with toys or knead a rug….though she did stick 3 claws directly into my underboob on Sunday. Joe said I made a very unique sound when it happened. It hurt.

Joe's been calling her a "pointer kitty" - she likes sitting with one paw up in the air.
Joe’s been calling her a “pointer kitty” – she likes sitting with one paw up in the air.

Anyway, she’s also recently discovered she can jump up onto the credenza (with some vintage German bar-ware, and a precariously stacked set of Uncle Goose blocks,) and that if she reaches her paw in just right, she can touch Poppy. Apparently Poppy’s spikes aren’t particularly threatening. We got a spray bottle at Target last night to try to avoid such mishaps.

I'm obsessed with this picture.
I’m obsessed with this picture.

When we aren’t home, she has full run of the spare room…we feel bad sectioning her off for now, but she gets lots of lovin’ when we’re around, and she has everything she needs – including a window looking right out at a bird feeder. Pretty good (temporary) set-up, I’d say.

We gave her free, unsupervised roam of the house for 10 minutes (Joe was going to trivia, I was coming home from Bent 9) and of course she decides to just chill in front of the TV she's scared of. Sigh.
We gave her free, unsupervised roam of the house for 10 minutes (Joe was going to trivia, I was coming home from Bent 9) and of course she decides to just chill in front of the TV she’s scared of. Sigh.

Since I began writing this post (Monday afternoon) she’s gotten more and more comfortable with everything…the TV isn’t quite as scary anymore, and her feline tendencies are revealing themselves – poor BB-8 on a stick has already seen better days. We’ll probably fully kitty-proof the rest of our house by this weekend (see ya in a while, fancy German barware) – I think she’s begun going a little stir-crazy in the spare room/needs more space!

I had an early morning. She was making all sorts of noises.
I had an early morning. She was making all sorts of noises.

So…that’s Barb! Joe and I are both totally in love with her – crazy antics and all. I also think it should be mentioned that I’ve had Barbra Streisand by Duck Sauce stuck in my head since Saturday.




Bonus "me after 5 seconds in the kitty room" photo. Pure joy.
Bonus “me after 5 seconds in the kitty room” photo. Pure joy.

New Family Member Alert!

No, I don’t get to park in the “expectant mothers” spot that’s super close to the door at work, nor do I get to put my small collection of baby clothes to use (4.5 more years, people.) However Joe and I are journeying to one or two shelters tomorrow to try and find a kitty cat to add to our household! We’ve gotten all of the “cat basics” – including some very perfectly awesome Star Wars cat toys. I’m pretty sure Joe is more excited about the BB-8 on a stick than the actual cat (just kidding, but BB-8 is prettyyyy cute.)

Petco wins the toy game. We also got a cute Yoda collar.

Now don’t get me wrong, we still love Poppy the hedgehog and Agnes the frog, but we’re ready for an animal that will be just a bit more responsive/affectionate throughout our day to day lives…and before you say “just get a dog already!”, it would be selfish of us to add a dog to our little familia right now – we work a lot and go out quite often, not to mention traveling/going to the other side of the state pretty frequently (where a dog would not be welcomed.) Not about that doggie daycare/boarding life right now. Sorry, not sorry.

And surprisingly, there are a lot of those. Sorry us getting a cat doesn't align with your personal views? Idk.
My sincerest apologies that us getting a cat doesn’t align with your personal views/preferences? Idk.*eyeroll.* 

Anyway, moving on. We’re going to be super picky, and if we don’t find “the perfect cat” tomorrow, we’ll just go to another shelter next weekend and continue til we find our new bff…but let’s be real: I just love animals, and get on particularly well with stray cats.

stray cats
meow meow meow.

Hooray for new adventures!

Do any of you have any cat-owning tips we may not have thought of/known off-hand? I/we would love to hear them! 🙂


Happy Happy New Year!


If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

This question has been asked time and time again, from elementary school when everyone would just choose their favorite animal (a sheep…?,) to job interviews when you’re caught off guard and stutter for a few minutes before again, choosing your favorite animal and coming up with some BS reasoning (an owl…,) to most recently, an art school course, that actually required some thoughtfulness to be put into the answer.

From planning a wedding, road-tripping to Florida with 3 out of 4 of my bestest CCS friends, to graduating and going to Paris for a week, and Vermont a week later, to getting a new car, getting married (and everything that went along with that), honeymooning and moving to Kalamazoo…to getting new jobs and taking an impromptu weekend trip to Disney in December…it’s pretty safe to say this year has been QUITE the whirlwind adventure. Oh, and to add to it? We got Joe’s new car today, which required 8 hours of driving. Whew. I’m pretty sure we couldn’t have squeezed more in if we tried.


Joe and I have probably had one, singular free weekend since a month or so before our wedding. I wish I was exaggerating. But honestly? I’ve loved every single minute of it, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Throughout that school project I bounced around from animal to animal, tossing out idea after idea during many critiques…until landing on the perfect animal: the hummingbird. 

The hummingbird symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being. They are constantly on the move, enjoy the sweetness of life, lifting up negativity wherever it creeps in, and express love more fully in their daily endeavors. This fascinating bird is capable of the most amazing feats despite its small size, such as traveling great distances or being able to fly backwards. By affinity with the hummingbird, encouraged to develop their adaptability and resiliency while keeping a playful and optimistic outlook.

Thanks to both of us now working full time, there isn’t too much planned for the upcoming year, but I’m sure we’ll soon be filling it with lots of weekend trips. We don’t do “nothing” well.

Here’s to an excellent 2015, and many hummingbird-y years to come 🙂

Happy New Year!




Wedding Day – Photo Collection/Overview!

I decided it’s time I make a more expansive wedding day post, since our photographer (Molly Grunewald Photography) documented it so well! I somehow managed to narrow it down to 21 photos, and I captioned (almost) all of them with more information! Overall info (dress, venues, etc) will be at the end of the photo gallery.

Continue reading “Wedding Day – Photo Collection/Overview!”

Photo A Day – “Around Me”

Continue reading “Photo A Day – “Around Me””

honeymoon part 4

Saturday through Monday mid-afternoon was spent at Morgan’s Rock, the definite splurge of our honeymoon. We paid for the all-inclusive package: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, 2 beers and 1 bottle of rum per person per day, and a tour/excursion each day. Our bungalow, situated in the jungle, looked over the ocean, and despite the 15 minute trek up from the lobby/restaurant, it was amazing and beautiful and everything we could have asked for – at least until it got dark.Bungalow View

After getting picked up from Hotel con Corazon Saturday morning, we arrived at Morgan’s Rock in the early afternoon…and after the first 15 minute trek up to our bungalow (the farthest away – oh well, we could use the exercise), we got lunch (complete with our first 2 (smallish) bottles of rum) and went down to the beach, fresh juice (and a bottle of rum) in hand. There were SO many hermit crabs on the beach, I can confidently say there were tens of thousands – as well as larger crabs that began coming out of their holes around dusk. After one of the most beautiful sunsets ever, we began the trek back up to our bungalow to get ready for dinner, and it was at this point that I began to understand why we were given so much alcohol for the duration of our stay. Me!Nicaragua Sunset

The crabs all over the pathways and stairs on our way up to the room didn’t bother me too much. The cute leaf bugs on the suspension bridge were pretty cute, actually. I read plenty of reviews that made note of the wildlife you would run into, and would maybe make its way into your bungalow. Whatever, I’ve been camping, I got this. Or so I thought. Crab

Jeebus. I was way wrong. I had a full on anxiety attack about 10 minutes after getting back to our bungalow. Joe went to use the restroom, and while I was beginning to get ready for dinner I saw something bright orange out of the corner of my eye, and watched a large crab scuttle under our bed. NOPE. “Uhhhh…I need help…” is what Joe heard as I clambered into the middle of the bed…only to be greeted by a giant grasshopper. NOPE. Joe, being the good new hubby he is, got rid of the crab and smushed the grasshopper quickly – I thought at that point I’d be safe to take a shower to get all of the sand off of me. Hahahahahahaha. Wrong. Thankfully a minute or two later, Joe had gotten rid of the spider crab, spider, and grasshopper that had decided to make the shower their home. I rinsed off, and lo and behold, there was a stupid praying mantis on my towel. And on the sink faucet. And another grasshopper on the floor. (Note: I allowed the praying mantises and green leaf bugs to live. They’re cool.)

Praying Mantis IMG_0903

I had been trying hard to keep my composure. I had to keep reminding myself: This is the special part of our honeymoon, everything was so beautiful during the day, they’re just bugs. Buuuut it got to be too much and I completely lost it. I was miserable. Bawling my eyes out, on our honeymoon, at the place I was most excited to visit. Ugh.

After a good cry session, a reassuring pep talk from Joe, and slathering myself in the provided natural bug repellent lotion (it smelled quite good,) we finished getting dressed to head down to dinner (it helped that he gave me his super powerful flashlight to take along. I was gripping that thing like my life depended on it.) Dinner was good (all of the meals at Morgan’s Rock were beyond delicious,) I ordered 2 glasses of wine even though they weren’t included in our plan, and had my second beer with dessert (I had the first with lunch) – and as I went to grab my drink, I noticed that there was a grasshopper on the glass. Sigh. By this point I was slowly coming to terms with all of the bugs, and was able to chuckle a little before flicking it off.  I also made friends with a stray cat at dinner, and tried to bribe him with pieces of my steak to come back to our bungalow to protect us from the bugs. He didn’t follow us. Bugs

Despite the bed being incredibly comfortable, I couldn’t sleep for the life of me the first night. What if bugs crawled in my ears? (I ended up getting my headphones out and putting them in my ears) What if a crab manages to crawl in through the door and onto our bed? (At this point we realized there was a huge gap between the wall of our bungalow and the sliding door – how the crab got in earlier. I switched sides of the bed with Joe.) Soon enough, it was morning and all was right with the world again. We were woken up by Howler Monkeys (so cool) and the ocean waves crashing on to the beach, and we were ready to enjoy the day, complete with a horseback ride on the beach, through the jungle, and up to a lookout point. Everything about the day was perfect, and I handled the nighttime a lot better too (still gripping tightly to the flashlight at night for the sake of my sanity.)CabanaHorseback

Monday morning we were up bright and early for breakfast on the farm (Morgan’s Rock is an ecolodge and is completely self-sufficient.) We milked a cow, using the milk in our coffee, picked our eggs from the chicken coop, and made tortillas to eat with our meal. On our ride back to the hotel part of the property, we saw howler monkeys, a scarlet macaw, spider monkeys, a black iguana, a few different hawks, and super cute squirrels.

We arranged to be brought back to Granada around 1:30pm, so spent the rest of the day enjoying the beach! Joe saw a marlin, I caught (?) a sand dollar, and almost stepped on both a manta ray and large crab before heading in for one last lunch, which of course was delicious. Sand DollarMe!

I probably just made Morgan’s Rock sound entirely miserable, but I promise it wasn’t! We had an amazing time and would definitely consider going back should we ever find ourselves back in Nicaragua (which definitely isn’t out of the question.)

The last part of my honeymoon recap will come soon – and be much shorter! We added a last minute trip to Masaya Volcano 🙂