Happy Monday – 7/25

Welp, we’re officially in the moving in stage of house things! Crazy. Exciting. Overwhelming. We have a lot to move before the end of the week…but right now the Bachelorette, a growler of beer from Gonzo’s, and enchiladas take precedence. Priorities. 😉 I don’t foresee the rest of the week being quite so relaxing.

Today’s post is just going to be all in photographs – hope that’s alright 😛

Super happy Monday! Now just wish us luck actually getting everything moved by Sunday o_O


Wanderlust Wednesday – 6/22

Ah, yes. Putting my graphic design skills to good use.
Ah, yes. Putting my graphic design skills to good use.

It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition; and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.

Or at least something very similar.

Scene: A dark and stormy night. Doors and windows open in a cute green rental home (which is surprisingly cluttered considering the house was just speed-cleaned in preparation for house showings.) Doors and windows open for air flow, because running the AC gets expensive.

Action: As the curtain rises, Chip and Joanna Gaines can be heard. Apparently it’s demo day. And yes, Chip, your hair looks great. Claire and Joe are sitting on the couch enjoying cocktails prepared for tomorrow’s Vökin Vodka post, and discussing what needs to be done to the Berkley house. Barb is hiding under the guest room bed, meowing at the thunder…and everything else. 

a ding is heard coming from claire’s computer, but demo day is more important so it is ignored.

Joe: Uh. Check your email.

Claire: checks email, and is immediately sent into a state of (calm) panic after reading that the sellers gave an ultimatum. Response by tomorrow at 9am, or the house is going back on the market.

Joe: So, are we buying a house?

joe and claire converse back and forth, text claire’s family for input, and pour some very large glasses of wine. 

Okay and to be quite honest I’m not quite sure how the rest of it all went, but the following was the resulting email back to our realtor, word for word. Still on an image from my travels though, because it is Wanderlust Wednesday after all 😉


So…yep! Cheers to that! (pending appraisal and mortgage things, but that’s kid’s stuff in comparison.)



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.



Bonsoir, Lundi.


Not that I have anything against Crocs. My snowboots are actually Crocs and they’re the best boots I’ve ever had. Anyway. Monday. Mondays after busy weekends seem to be especially rough. My friends from the other side of the state were here, and two of us accidentally (?) stayed up til 4am watching Meet the Robinsons (one of my favorites) and chatting. Totally worth it, but I’m soooo tired today.

Arg. Sorry some pictures are sideways. WordPress is being dumb and won’t post them in their correct orientation. I’m just going to leave it. Let you guys do a little critical thinking.

  1. See above. We went climbing Saturday morning and watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 at the Alamo in the afternoon, and then did a bit of brewery-hopping, meeting up with some of Joe’s coworkers at Arcadia. We love Arcadia, especially because of $3 20oz beers and Jenga.
  2. Our trivia team made it to the West Michigan League Championships! Whaaaat. Totally studying up on pop culture and geography before Sunday. Wish us luck!
  3. We put Frontline on Barb yesterday (for the first time,) went about our daily business, and then noticed she was drooling/kind of foaming at the mouth uncontrollably. Cut “cat-parent” freak out from me and Joe – frantically trying to figure out the cat equivalent of the Heimlich in case she was choking on something, googling the symptoms, and deciding if we should go to the vet…only to find out that that is a normal thing should they accidentally lick the flea medication, which is thankfully non-toxic. Phew. Crisis averted.
  4. The VP of our company is in Kalamazoo this week, and the kitchen is all decked out in kiwi birds, kiwi fruit, kiwi balloons, and fun facts about New Zealand. I was super confused when I went to get my second caffeinated beverage of the day, but upon getting my third, I made the connection that the VP is actually from New Zealand, and learned that we were throwing him a Welcome/Kiwi Party. I’m amused, despite his visit requiring me to get to work 2 hours and 15 minutes earlier than normal on Wednesday 🙂 Plus we got beer and sliders at the end of the day, so that’s good. (Not good? Eating sliders and guzzling a beer before Flex 2.0 – but hey, I survived.)
  5. My ColourPop order came today! Hooray for new lippies 😀 First discovered this brand when finding a lip color for my bridesmaids – super affordable and awesome. Huzzah!

Now to convince my brain to fall asleep at a decent hour tonight – I need my beauty sleep!


ps. Bonsoir, Lundi means Good evening, Monday in French. Just in case you were wondering. 🙂

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…)


It’s Oberon Day! And also Monday.

So if you’re in a part of the country/world that doesn’t have the yumminess that is Bell’s Oberon, you have no idea what I’m talking about. But in Michigan; and particularly Western Michigan/Kalamazoo, it’s practically a holiday. There are special donuts at a local donut shop, midnight release parties at various bars, and Bell’s was opening bright and early today – what’s better than a 9am beer?! (Certainly not this peach yogurt I’m currently eating with a fork, let me tell ya.) Oberon release day means summer is coming – despite snow being in the extended forecast… – and I suppose the fact that Oberon is tasty plays in to the excitement too 😉

  1. Perhaps most exciting of all (regarding Oberon day) is that one of my close friends from CCS designed a lot of this year’s Oberon artwork! Pick up a mini keg and you can see her work – I know I’m impressed! 🙂 Hooray for all of my CCS friends having jobs in our field; it’s not always that easy.
  2. Over the past few weeks I’ve been helping a friend plan an Amazing Race style birthday party for her husband, and it finally all came to fruition on Saturday! It all went off super well…except at Salvation Army where it was “all clothing is 99 cents day” – lines were outrageous. So a quick adjustment was made, and we continued on in our quest! I love planning things, and when that planning also includes writing out cheesy clues? Definitely a happy camper.
  3. I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually celebrated St. Patrick’s Day like a lot of other people do – it’s also my sister’s birthday, so until we both moved out of my parents’ house, that was the focus (plus I mean, we haven’t been 21+ for that long.) Last year I went to the bar next to school with one of my friends between classes and we got a green beer, but that was it. No going gung-ho with the whole thing – until this year. Being in a town with so many bars/breweries makes it quite easy to ‘celebrate’ – and that we did! Friday was a little bit rough, but it was definitely a fun night which culminated with games of Jenga and Uno at Arcadia. Come on, we’re not that crazy 😉
  4. I’ve been working my booty off between Newell and my freelance Vodka job, but it’s so exciting to see the Vodka company getting closer and closer to kick-off! I have a whole social media calendar created, and lots of photo equipment/props are coming in the mail – now we just need the government to approve the labels, and some actual product to consume! …I mean photograph. And then consume. It’s a good thing we have a pretty solid base of friends here – I’m not sure how much vodka Joe and I will be able to consume on our own!
  5. It’s Easter week! It’s still a little weird to me being home for Easter – up until my Junior or Senior year of high school, all Easters I can remember were spent at our Condo in Florida – I wish flights were less expensive so we could have taken a long-weekend family trip to soak in some Vitamin D! But a jelly bean hunt around our living room will be almost as good 🙂

Yay Monday! And DWTS premiere day! I usually only watch this on and off/if I’m bored, BUT my friend from the other side of the state is in Kzoo for work, so we will be watching it together since The Bachelor is over!

Snow-pocalypse Kzoo Edition

I was in bare feet loading the car on Sunday. Bare feet.

We were supposed to get “3-5 inches” of snow today when we looked over the weekend.


But instead, my car was covered with at least 1/8″ of ice at lunchtime, and 10″ of snow at the end of my work day. I’m ready for winter to be ooooover! Lucky for me, there were some new board books (for my children’s book collection) and my Madewell order waiting for me when I got home, as well as a full bottle of wine!

my 'treat yoself' purchases couldn't have come at a better time. Though to be fair, I got the books with "free" money.
my ‘treat yoself’ purchases couldn’t have come at a better time. Though to be fair, I got the books with “free” money.

The best part? My car was last in the driveway, so my car will be brushed off when I’m ready to leave for work tomorrow morning! (To be fair, Joe does that even when my car is first in.)

Hopefully everyone else won’t have quite as much digging out to do as we will tomorrow morning!


Monday, Monday, Monday.

There were shootings Saturday and Sunday night here in Kzoo...far too many sirens for one weekend. I can’t say I’m a fan, though I can’t imagine anyone would be. Hooray for a list of happy things; it is muuuch needed. I also have no fun pictures for this post, so instead I’ll attach my new phone backgrounds (lock screen and actual background) because I found them last night and they’re great.

  1. Joe is home safe and sound! That’s definitely a biggie. Lots happened while I was home alone this weekend – I don’t even think I’ve fully wrapped my mind around everything that’s happened, but I’m glad I have someone to snuggle up with again! Also, while I’m at it – thanks again to everyone that checked in to make sure I was alright – it means a lot!!
  2. We’re going back to GP this weekend, and my sister will be there too! Hooray for everyone being together…even if my sister will be a bit out of it due to post-wisdom teeth wooziness.
  3. I bought a pack of 6 white chocolate Reese’s Easter eggs at Target yesterday, and have miraculously only eaten one. I think that calls for a celebration. Hooray for self control!
  4. As you may know, I have a collection of kids books, and over the weekend I pre-ordered 3 new BabyLit board books: All Aboard: National Parks, a wildlife primer, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a faries primer, and Les Miserables, a French primerI’m sure there are better things I could be spending my ‘free money’ on, but where’s the fun in that?
  5. I’m not sure if this is a happy thing or a sad thing, but there are only 9 seats left on the flight Joe and I have been looking at for our hypothetical Morocco trip. We either have to bite the bullet and just book the trip, or….well yeah, we need to bite the bullet. I need to get my butt to Morocco one way or another. I am curious how I’ll handle two nights in the Sahara Desert though, just thinking back on my Morgan’s Rock anxiety attack experience. Ear plugs. I just need to remember to bring ear plugs. Scarab beetles can’t scare meeee (that is a lie. Maybe by December I’ll feel more confident hahahha.)

Aren’t they cute? I found them on Bando‘s website. Their stuff is all so adorable.

Anyway, it’s Monday and all is well, even if I did struggle getting into my pants this morning. Womp womp 😛





kalamazoo, kzoo

Well, last night was certainly an eventful one…and by that I mean I got home at 11:30pm and sat on my computer browsing Facebook for about 5 minutes before reading that there was a shooter on the loose in Kzoo, targeting random people. Oh, goodie. 

6 killed, 2 injured after Kalamazoo-area shooting spree

I’m a paranoid person as it is…without adding a shooter to the mix, not to mention Joe is gone for the weekend, sooo I promptly shut off all of our lights and ‘barricaded’ myself in our bedroom with a candle, Pretty Little Liars, and a heating pad (my shoulder blades seriously hurt so bad from my massage) for the rest of the night. I woke up to a barrage of texts checking to make sure all was well – which happily, it was! Definitely keeping everyone who was affected by last night’s tragedy in my thoughts.

I really appreciate everyone that has checked in – it means a lot!


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.