things to do. and done.

October (and half of November already) flew by.

It has been a mad dash to finish projects and buy extra items we needed to prepare for Thanksgiving.

Quick Recap:

October

  • Executed Halloween in the office. Huge. Ass. Deal. Literally the reason why October ran away from me. (more on this later)

  • Long weekend in New York. You guys, I don’t hate it! (more on this later)

  • Removed all wallpaper from the hallway.

  • Mud the hallway as it was just plain drywall behind the wallpaper.

  • Primed and painted the damn hallway.

November

  • Long weekend in Big Sur. (more on this later)

  • Re-plumbed the kitchen sink.

  • Installed water line to the fridge – thereby opening up a great amount of fridge space taken up by a water filter.

  • Installed BRAND NEW WINDOWS in the living room + one of the two in the bedroom. This was a 7 month battle.

  • Ordered and arranged the new bed frame for the guest room.

  • Peeled the wallpaper of the guest room.

  • Removed the built in desk of the guest room.

  • Swapped the old AF ceiling fan of the guest room.

  • Bought ALL Christmas gifts (yep, all) for our adopted families and toys for tots.

  • Bought supplies to wrap them. Individually.

  • Bought new grown up bedding for the guest room. The old one was bought on the cheap for a home staging for when we rented out our Dallas house. Scratchy AF.

  • Contacted Restoration Hardware to resend our master bed replacement part. They sent it to a very old address.

  • Bought a new rug for the master bed and rug pad.

  • Bought a new rug for the guest room.

  • Ordered new dishwasher.

 Double-pane, tinted picture window up front - FINALLY.

Double-pane, tinted picture window up front - FINALLY.

Weekend Before Thanksgiving

  • Paint the master bedroom

  • Swap the ceiling fan so there is an overhead light.

  • Dismantle and rebuild the bed with the replacement part.

  • Lay out the new rug pad and rug.

  • Lay out the new rug for the guest room.

  • Install the curtain rods for both master and guest.

  • Get the damn curtains for the master bed.

  • Install the new dishwasher.

  • Put on a glass opaque thing so people can’t look in from the weird back room.

  • Reorganize the back room for consignment as there are TWO couches in there for sale.

  • Organize the study as it’s a hot mess.

  • Hang up 8 frames.

  • Mat the leftover 2 frames and hang.

  • Put things on Craigslist to unclutter.

  • Paint the doors and rehang.

  • Oh, also polish the door hardware are they are originals and we want to keep them.

FYI for the friends I’ve ignored on social media, text, and real life. Maybe, just maybe, I will have more of a life in December.

Sincerely, Tania

goodbye, dallas.

We sold our Dallas dream home. Like, yesterday.

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I actually loved that home. It was the peak of my Dallas life. 3-minute drive to the most coveted street of nice restaurants. 8-minute walk to the second most coveted street of nice restaurants. 9-minute drive to my office downtown. 3-minute drive to Whole Foods. 8-minute drive to the best grocery store of 18 different types of apples, all the organic veggies you can imagine, and random seasoning/sauces/spices that I cook with.

My life in Dallas was actually amazing. We found our absolute dream home with an unobstructed view of Downtown Dallas from the rooftop patio. I drove an adorable Mercedes that had the same energy as a yoga studio. I had an incredible group of strong women in my circle.

Then, we were given the opportunity to move to San Francisco - for a second time. During the first opportunity, Chris’s company had an opening to transfer. We visited. We pretended to be residents. We looked at multiple apartments and homes in and out of the city. During our weekend of research, I remember coming out of Starbucks only to have a pigeon fall and split open literally one foot away from my face.

I could not deny that kind of an omen.

At the time, we just bought this condo – living inside it for all of 2 weeks. Our savings were depleted. Our debt was high – furniture, extra fees, adjusted living costs, etc. The decision felt rushed. I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity so we mulled it over for a couple of days before deciding.

Then, we said goodbye to San Francisco.

I shed real tears and closed that potential chapter of my life.

Almost two years ago, my company had a transfer opening. I thought to myself, “Okay, we tried this before. Let it go. Your Dallas life is wonderful.” Our life in Dallas IS wonderful. It’s safe. It’s calm. It’s comfortable. Most of the time, I wake up so happy that I have to exercise to get all the energy out. It would be crazy to leave for a city where 70% of the residents are struggling to make ends meet.

But I couldn’t shake it off.

I talked to Chris and applied. One full month goes by with no response. During this waiting game, we had no reason to be down in the dumps because our consolation prize is that we get to stay in our cushion life. In the meantime, Chris and I started a pros and cons list. There were so many more pros to stay in Dallas, but if there is one thing I love about our partnership, it’s that we have the same mindset, goal, and expectation out of life.

We didn’t want our life set in stone at the age of 30.

We peaked in Dallas. All our goals were realized. Now, we are to sit here and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Except, that’s not our personalities at all. We always have a goal in the back of our minds. We always have things we want to accomplish, experiences we want to gain, and objectives we want to meet. We are not the type to settle down, raise kids, and continue the normal cycle of life.

So we made the jump. We played it ‘safe’ and told each other that we will return in 2-3 years and continue our happy life. But we didn’t expect the level of happiness that the Bay Area gave us. Now I know that I felt contentment in Dallas, but I feel true joy in San Francisco.

When we bought our current home, we knew we wouldn’t return to Dallas. It didn’t feel real until yesterday - until we sold the last legal tie to Texas. Now it’s legitimate. And it’s kind of sad. But also freeing. But also so, so sad.

This chapter is fully closed.

Sincerely, Tania

it's coming from inside the walls.

We took a wonderfully long break from doing any home repairs the past couple of months.

What started as a race to finish our forever home, turned into a slow and steady pace to the end.

You know when you get a new toy and you get obsessed with it? Maybe not. But I do. I get a new book and I’ll baby it to make sure the corners stay straight. I get a new bag and I’ll condition the leather and make sure it is kept out of harm’s way. Fast forward 3 months – I shove the pristine book into the new bag that I smack pedestrians with as I walk out of the train station.

The house is like this – except I still take great care of it. I realized that if we didn’t have this house, we would be living in our 650 square feet, second floor apartment with old carpets and a kitchen the size of our current bathroom. Being in my current home is a gift in itself, no rush to perfect it. We have a long time before we can pay off the mortgage anyway.

The next project is removing the wonderfully horrendous wallpaper in our hallway and second bedroom.

 the beautiful hallway wallpaper.

the beautiful hallway wallpaper.

When we moved in, we were greeted by a musty smell from random parts of the home – makes sense since the house is 90+ years old. What we didn’t realize was that the wallpaper is the culprit! As we peeled off layers of wallpaper, fresh whiffs of the smell came back. Delicious, right? I’m just glad we’re physically removing the source of the smell now.

We took half a day to start part one. We would’ve done more except we found some water damage under the second bedroom’s window so we had to pause and get someone out for that repair. Next weekend, we’ll put some joint compound over the now-naked drywall. The weekend after, we’ll prime. The weekend after, we’ll paint.

AND – we cleared off the front yard! We had this dense clump of juniper bush that spiders love to start families in. We also had this psychotic wrangle of vines that broke our shovel. And these beautifully dead rose plants under the window. Well, everyone’s been evicted. The front yard is butt naked. We’re going to treat the dirt to prepare for planting later in the fall.

Slow and steady.

Sincerely, Tania

bathroom /// version 2.0

Whoa, this is a reveal that took way longer than necessary, no?

Remember when I posted about our very exciting bathroom demo and then never followed up?

I got sidetracked trying to tackle the living and dining room walls – and searching for the perfect shower curtain (the struggle is real). Then got sidetracked looking for a new laundry basket. Then got sidetracked looking for the right art to hang. Then got sidetracked looking for a towel bar and hand towel ring. Then I never found the right towel bar and ring, so I just gave up entirely for a solid three months.

Here it is – FINALLY.

This my most beautiful vanity. We found it at the Restoration Hardware outlet with matching sinks – but without the granite or hardware. After 9 months with a beautiful Carrera marble countertop, we decided we cannot own anything more high maintenance than my hair on a humid day. If you have not tried the beauty that is Carrera, you need to learn that it takes on EVERYTHING you leave on it. If you put on makeup around it and drop a few speckles of powder or liquid, it will stay there FOR LIFE. To that, I say GTFO Carrera.

I got the mirrors at Wayfair. It was important to me – in the most first world problem ever – that I have two separate mirrors with rounded edges. Then of course, my industrial aesthetic love affair continues with the overhead lights.

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You didn’t think I would post a photo of my toilet, did you? But I did. Because it is new and beautiful. This is my most prized possession because the old one was from like 1900s with a wood seat and you can never get clean. I would rather pee outside than on that. 

Look at the art though! I wanted something neutral that is mostly warm gray to tie in our cool gray floors and warm greige vanity – yeah, I have great taste – and found this random piece while shopping for planters. I do want to talk about the elephant in the room – that is, I didn’t mean to make a statement placing Dallas above the literal shitter. I wanted to have a Dallas tribute somewhere in the house. It just so happens this matched the bathroom.

We originally had a very cramped elderly friendly shower tub thing. We started the demo with full plans to keep a shower, but my fantastic MIL said that if we were ever to have kids – don’t even ask me as I have the magical IUD powers for the foreseeable future – they will need a tub. We were going to do a tub and shower in our future master bath, but she reminded me that I would definitely not want my sticky screeching kid using my beautiful freestanding bathtub. She was right.

So we moved the wall to make room for the only tub that will fit in this space. We are extremely happy about this. I didn’t want a soap dish hanging out, so we had this nook put in that fits everything perfectly. We also brought up the shower head to 7 feet because of my amazon husband. My shower curtain has a removable inner liner that I can wash – which was EXTREMELY important to me. It also has a sheer portion on top so you can see through it, but since I had to get an extra tall version, I can’t reach it anyway. So it serves for someone to see in – lmao.

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The original towel bar was behind the door – which always makes me think of apartments – so I got a new one to fill in this open space above my hamper and scale.

I know what you’re thinking. Are there two doors to the bathroom? Yes, there are. The previous owners extended the house in the back and found this to be the only solution to gain access. We are eventually closing out the sliding door in the back next to the toilet since that will be our master suite.

Next update will be of the living and dining room – fingers crossed in the next month!

Sincerely, Tania

so my life is a mess.

So the past two weeks has been a crazy blur.

I had a birthday in between – which was not as exciting compared to our BATHROOM REMODEL.

The before is a hot mess of poorly laid tile, old countertops, shiny salmon-y walls, warm color scheme, walk-in accessible shower, and an old smelly toilet. Every time I go in, I cringe. I clean it up and down and cannot get rid of the gas station pee smell. So, so gross. I think it’s embedded into the walls at this point.

So we aggressively shopped for bath tubs, toilets, vanity, countertop, mirrors, lights, etc. Demo day was Monday of April 9th. Finished date is expected to be tonight or tomorrow.

In the meantime…

I had a pre-planned trip to Chicago with my mother-in-law the weekend before taxes were due. The trip was amazingly relaxing. We both have been to Chicago so it was more about getting away and connecting – a weekend of spa treatments, eating, and shopping.

Then more scrambling happened since taxes were due Tuesday.

Then another round of scrambling because I had to file my oath and bond to become a notary before my commission expired.

Then a third round of scrambling because we had to register the car since our Texas registration ended in March.

Now here we are – after our first free weekend together to smooth out our crazy living and dining room walls. Finally, one of our DIY projects is almost complete. We’re 75% finished smoothing before we start priming + painting.

Fingers crossed that I have my life together by the next post.

Sincerely, Tania

the first weekend.

We moved!

Somehow, it went smoothly. You know when you pack and you think, “Oh, it will be quick. We don’t have a lot of stuff.” This time, it was true! With San Francisco’s premium on space, Chris and I really think hard whether or not we need something. Combined with my minimalism mindset, we are champs at assessing the value of everything prior to purchase.

Now that the move is done, my living arrangement is crazier than ever. Because we want to smooth out the living room and dining room walls, we kept both rooms pretty empty. So, we have most of the furniture tucked away in the crazy back room that is pending legalization. Because we plan to remodel the bathroom asap, we couldn’t fully unpack bathroom items – so it’s clumped together in the second bedroom. Because the fridge didn’t arrive on moving day as scheduled – this was the one snafu – we couldn’t fully move the kitchen.

It really is a crazy mess – but whatever, I am moved!

The first weekend was spent going back and forth Home Depot. I really think I spent more waking hours in Home Depot than in the home. Like I mentioned before, we want to smooth the walls. I don’t mind the regular orange peel texture that most modern homes have – but these walls were crazy clumpy. It doesn’t show on the photos very well since there are no close ups, but it’s like an exterior texture.

Here we are, two crazy kids with no experience in DIY anything sanding a quarter of one wall before realizing there might be lead paint behind there… so we got lead/asbestos masks.

We got one portion of a wall done with the first layer of joint compound. Since we didn’t know what we were doing, we stopped to reassess – and I think we dig it! Fingers crossed we get the living room smoothed by next week so at least one room is completed.

Sincerely, Tania

the first headache.

We haven’t even moved in yet and already I’m overwhelmed by the amount of hurdles I have to leap to remodel this home.

We bought this home because of hilltop location, school district, rising value, and potential in room rearranging. The old owners attached an addition to the back of the home that was completed with (some) permits. They installed a large fireplace that is more than likely load bearing, and enclosed the space. It ended up being this covered family sunroom. We saw this space and thought, “Oh shit, this would be a stellar master suite.”

*yes, that is a large cow cutout left by the seller.

Like any aggressive personality, I emailed the city for guidance – who said I needed to submit blueprints for our plans. So I contacted the contractor – who said he doesn’t do this and I will need an architect. So I contacted an architect – who said they can draw up blueprints but will need a structural engineer because we have to proof the load bearing structures are sound.

After all of this, the city came back and said the office in the front left of the house is considered a bedroom due to its large size. If we work on our master suite, it will create a ‘fourth’ bedroom which means we have to show that there are covered spaces for two cars in the garage. We technically have two spaces, but one has been converted into a workshop – that we will later convert into a little gym. To circumvent all of this, we can either work on the kitchen remodel first – that will expand into the office – or apply for a conditional permit which costs more money and requires a public hearing. Because hiring a contractor, architect, structural engineer, and potential mechanical engineer wasn't enough money to spend - oh and the raw materials.

Y’all.

I am proud to say I did not have a meltdown.

Instead – I started the most epic of all Type A plans to figure this out because if Joanna Gaines can do it, I can do it.

The silver lining is that we found out the solar panels attached to the home are fully functioning! Turning sustainable has been one of my ‘maybe one day’ life goals so I’m super excited to be able to do this soon!

Sincerely, Tania

so we bought a house.

Life happened very quickly between Thanksgiving and the first quarter of 2018.

I moved to a job where I felt valued with a direct line for potential advancement. From this job change, life felt very different. I feel like I actually belonged in San Francisco. Prior to this, I always felt like I was on borrowed time – that every day is a vacation and not “real life”. We felt like the area is so expensive, we will eventually move back to Dallas. Maybe not next year; maybe not for the next 3 years; but definitely move back to a more reasonable city.

One day, we went skiing in Tahoe. We woke up early to make the three hour drive. After skiing all day Saturday, we decided to head back early on Sunday and rest. On a whim – and because it was on the way – we stopped at a few wineries in Napa. That was the weekend of February 3rd. The weekend I decided I wanted to start blogging again so I can remember great days such as this. The weekend we knew we couldn’t leave the bay area and be this happy. The weekend we started looking for homes more aggressively.

I am happy to share my new adorable Spanish style 1920s home by the bay!

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I am terribly in love. We have so many ideas for this home, I have a hard time focusing on one project at a time!

I wanted to start this blog as a diary where I basically talk about my life, activities, thoughts, hopes, dreams, etc. The day after I prepped the blog, we won the bid to this house. With this property being a fixer upper in need of cosmetic updates, landscaping, and creating a brand new master suite, this blog might be like an episode of HGTV for a little bit – or a lot of bit since we have champagne taste with beer money.

Sincerely, Tania