trying to be a bit more green.

Every time I read about people going green, half of me rolls my eyes while the other half aches to hug them. Do you know this feeling? It’s like “stop using buzz words to fit into a special niche” but at the same time “thank you for your efforts”. 

When I first moved, there were spiders throughout the-entire-home. It was terrifying. I can squish spiders just fine – but how do you squish the ones on the ceiling without risk of it falling on you? Potential solutions: get a tall husband, get a long handheld vacuum, or work on perfect aim. I got two out of three, so I am doing my part.

I posted a message on NextDoor to see if anyone had any pest control recommendations. I was met with my own neighbors telling me to trap the spiders and release outside, spray rosemary oil around the house as it is a spider deterrent, and/or leave them alone.

HOLY BLUE STATE.

Tania 2.0 decided not to respond for a bit – let the words sink in for 24 hours as to limit gratuitous rage while trying to make nice with new neighbors. The next day, a delicate butterfly of a neighbor kindly told me that everything we do in our area gets fed to the bay. The bay. MY bay.

So here I am, trying to go green.

I bought all these houseplants – and I am obsessed with all of them. As someone who hates trinkets for the sake of ‘décor’ without real meaning, my style has always been bare. Large furniture + the three trinkets I find as I travel whose value is strictly tied to memories. It turns out, plants can double as décor – so I bought them all.

The last one is my prized possession - the fiddle leaf fig tree - and I have been crazy-plant-lady indecisive in finding its forever pot. I was worried it was slowly dying but found out, not one hour ago, that it's actually thriving. Look at that little leaf coming out on top of the bud! 

It is a difficult thing to balance my love of functional decor + zero clutter. As I am typing this, I am tracking a small planter's arrival for the flower shaped snake plant I'm getting for the bedroom. All the while trying to figure out where to place the four pots of herbs I'm growing in the kitchen.

I read somewhere that NASA recommends an air purifying plant in at least 6” pot for every 100 square feet. Not sure how effective it is, or if it really matters since the bay has little to no pollution and I open my windows every afternoon – but I’m almost to hitting that goal.

I am trying to take it a step further by looking into more natural cleaning products. I have seen the full spectrum between “chemical free, environmental friendly” cleaners to using vinegar and water. I did a bit of research and learned that vinegar water needs to soak the item for a solid 15-30 minutes to only be 80% effective. I am sad to say that I will not be joining the vinegar water party as I am in a deep love affair with bleach.

I'll keep you updated on my enthralling domesticated life.

Sincerely, Tania

getting a dose of positive energy.

Earlier this month, I went to Sedona for the first time.

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I haven't heard much about it, until the week before I told other people I'm going to Sedona. Then everyone talked to me about it. I heard it is the center of positive energy - with vortex areas randomly dispersed throughout. I am not sure how to think about that - but Chris seemed to love the area the last time he visited, and I trust his judgment.

First off, I haven’t been in Arizona (outside of driving through to get to the bay from Dallas) since I did a family trip back in 1998. We went straight to the Grand Canyon. I set my expectations low because anything compared to the Grand Canyon is just trash.

Amazingly enough, Sedona IS full of positive energy. We didn’t visit any spas, healing centers, psychics, or even found a vortex. But the red rocks are incredible. It was searing hot, and I constantly checked the weather back home to remind myself that I paid actual currency to fly into this oppressing weather – but the vibe is worthwhile.

Yes, the sun sears your skin. Yes, the air is so dry I almost thought I was having an asthma attack. Yes, I was bloated the whole time from the heat and plentiful salty foods.

Maybe it’s the combination of natural history and quiet that makes me love it. Or, the cute town similar to something out of Flintstones. Or, the fact that it’s Grand Canyon Lite. Whatever it is, I am definitely returning.

Sincerely, Tania

Sincerely, Tania

the first normal.

I want it on record that June 23rd was the day that my life went back to normal.

 the view from our Sunday hike.

the view from our Sunday hike.

Ever since the house purchase, every weekend was spent renovating, cleaning, scrubbing, painting, and taking out trash. If not doing that, we’ve been entertaining house guests – which is great as it forced us to get our shit together faster. But after a while, I started dreading the weekends. Not because I resented the house, but because I work very hard to keep my weekends mine. As two adults without kids, we take life seriously. We like to get up and decide what to do the morning of – brunch? Sure! Kayak? Sure! Weekend at Tahoe? SURE!

But lately, weekends have been planned way, way ahead of time. One weekend we tore up the overgrown vines on the front yard. One weekend we unpacked the bathroom. Another weekend we unpack the kitchen. Another weekend we buy curtain rods for the house.

Every weekend was planned.

Until this past weekend. The last couple of months I was in some sort of work overdrive. I wanted to perfect the things I’ve learned for my role while learning new things. In addition, I had my first work party to plan – for executives, no less! All that stress paid off. My boss was incredibly happy with my work – and gave me the following Thursday and Friday off. 

 the view from my impromptu day off.

the view from my impromptu day off.

It turns out having days off without a plan is the best vacation I can ask for. I spent the days slowly unpacking more boxes, cleaned all the dishes, washed all the laundry, and other general chore-like activities. But it was different. I didn’t have a timeline this time. No one was coming over. No end goal. It was just me, making my house a home.

Two days of that changed everything.

On Saturday, we woke up and went on a nice family hike. Followed by a late breakfast/brunch. Followed by Yogurtland - yeah, I’m back to being less than 10 minutes away from one because #obsessed). Followed by a drink while watching a movie and small errands. Followed by a late dinner.

 this happy, tired face when we reached the top!

this happy, tired face when we reached the top!

On Sunday, we did the same damn thing.

AND IT WAS HEAVEN.

Bonus points that Chris found out our backyard is 20 degrees cooler than the front living room because it’s covered by a large ass tree made of angel wings. Obviously, this led us to take the TV outside.

Finally, a normal weekend.

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 commute.

First day commuting from the new house, and I was greeted by stomach knots. I know the bus stop location. I know the route. I know the departure and arrival times. I just hate trying new commutes. There is really no reason for it. I hate it so much, I always over prepare.

This morning was no different.

I don’t know why I hate new commutes so much. I know how to pay easily. I know where I’m going. More importantly, I love change! My whole life is about getting to a place where I’m comfortable and then changing it all up because I want a challenge.

I walked with Chris and Layla to my bus stop – only to realize it was the wrong stop. Thankfully, we caught it in time – and the right one was literally across the street. It was a breezy four minute downhill walk to the bus stop overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Every morning, I walk alongside mountains and water. The only way that walk could be any better is if someone carried me from my home to the bus.

It turns out, my bus is a temperature-controlled, cushion-seated bus with free Wi-Fi. I sit in disbelief for 20 minutes before realizing the opportunity I am gifted every morning – 50 minutes to meditate and prepare myself for the day ahead.

After months of stressing over finding a home, winning a home, paying for a home, preparing for the move and actually moving, this is exactly what I needed. I sit and remember how lucky I am to be here – how lucky I am to be able to buy a home in my dream area – how lucky I am to find a fulfilling job with great coworkers (and boss!) – and how lucky I am to find a very supportive husband. It brings me back to a moment of gratitude and living in the present.

I hope every morning starts this way.

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!

MiraVista.JPG

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