2011 in review

Look at these kickass stats from 2011!  Happy New Year and here’s to a few more goodies to come in 2012!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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What….is your quest? Part Deux, Year 2, Paragraph 2, etc.

Stop!  Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.  What…is your name?  What….is your quest?  What….is the air-speed velocity of an un-laden swallow?

…African or European?

I love Monty Python.  Furthermore, I love that we totally stole the reference back in September of ’09 to plan out our house “quest” – i.e. trying to get our priorities in line so that we could actually get this house whipped into shape. The plan was to get it all completed for Christmas when we had a gaggle of family coming into town to stay with us:

Sorry, bros, but had to include you in on der blog-in-stein

Of course, nothing ever goes to plan, does it?  However, we have managed some pretty impressive remodels since Christmas in particular and have more or less completed our first round of changes!  You can actually click here to go back to the original post and click on the individual links back to all of the projects we’ve completed!  Honestly, I’ve gotta say….we have worked our @$$es off since a year ago and I’m pretty damn impressed with what we’ve managed to accomplish so far.  But it’s only just beginning…

So you’ve gotta be asking yourself, “Now what?!?”  Well, first of all, Lil’ Miss Impatient, just remember that we both work 40+ hours/week in Cubeland Jobs….they always get in the way of our renovating and blogging, but what’re ya gonna do?  We also have more gaggles of familials coming in throughout the month of August (and we can’t wait!!!!) plus a pretty significant amount of travel throughout the back half of the year and to top all of that off, we also adopted another dog!  Oh, I haven’t mentioned that yet?  Yup, we added another pup to our K-9 family – check’er out!

Her name’s Tiki, she’s a 4 year old smooth coat Jack Russell Terrier, and we are presently doing a pretty major DIY project to get her accustomed to our house, our routines, and our potty-training regimen – oh, how she likes to try my patience at times!  Have I mentioned that I hate carpet?

Needless to say we’re pretty busy people, so prioritizing and making lists makes our lives much easier!  What can I say?  I learned it from my mother, Organizing Fiend Extraordinaire.  I’m not nearly as OCD as my she (i.e. I do *not* P-touch label my linen closet like *some* people I know – love ya, Mom!), but I think setting goals for yourself is always a good thing!  Especially since we still have *so* much we want to do to this house, we really do need to prioritize so that a) we can budget for major and minor remodels without going bankrupt, b) we actually schedule some downtime so we can concentrate on the important things in life like each other and c) make sure we don’t over do it on the house remodeling so as not to price ourselves our of the market – we’re definitely not planning to stay in this house forever.  Without further ado, here is the Year 2 Quest.  It’s a little more vague this time around, but no less ambitious!

Decorating/Wall Decor: We are still suffering from a lot of bare-as-a-baby’s-behind walls in our house.  A lot of that has to do with the fact that we’ve just been working our little @$$es off trying to get the basics done around the house and this is one of those things that has just fallen by the wayside.  Le sigh.  And this is really L-blogger’s territory and not Dr. J’s.  Love ya, honey!  We’ve actually already started doing this a little bit (which we haven’t really detailed too much of here….yet!) and so I’m looking forward to sharing all of those good stories as well as taking on a few more DIY art projects to boot!

GET ORGANIZED!: Remember the P-touch comment from above?  Well, as much as I love to make fun of my Mom, we really could learn a few things from her organizing ways.

  • A big part of the organizing is purging, purging, purging! I can’t tell ya how many bathroom drawers, laundry cabinets (yes, we have those now!!!!) and closets are filled with unused beauty products, toxic chemicals (which I am trying to rid from my home altogether), ill-fitting clothing (or hardly used clothing), and/or just plain extraneous items that are un-used, un-loved, and unnecessary.  It’s time to clear out the closets (which I do every season change anyway), clear out the vanities, and just generally clear my house of unused things that would be better left to somebody else.  In fact, I may actually take on the “A Thing a Day” challenge for a set period of time just to really force myself to re-evaluate my possessions and clutter!
  • Get the garage in order! When you have no basement and no attic, everything, by default, moves to the garage.

Oh, how I wish this garage would magically be less cluttered!

Not only is our garage a storage menagerie for Christmas decorations, athletic gear, tools and spare lumber, it’s *also* our woodworking/recycling/gardening center, mud room and car workshop.  It houses our hot water tank, HVAC and four (yes, I said FOUR) city approved trash bins that per the HOA cannot be stored in sight.  Needless to say, this room wears a *lot* of hats and it’s further complicated by the fact that it faces the prevailing winds, serves as *our* main entry and exit point to the house and is almost *always* covered in a fine layer of sawdust.  Furthermore, I’d say that this room is one of the smallest “two-car garages” I have ever seen.  I think you could probably park two small cars in the garage, but then you might have to climb out the windows in order to get out, so I don’t know what the realtors were smoking when they advertised it as such.  So when I say this space is a challenge, that’s an understatement.  While it’s not as exciting as, say, a Laundry Room or a Guest Room it’s certainly no less important!

How the Room of Requirement looked back in December

As helpful as it was, the room has really become something of a monster ever since then.  We’ve actually switched things up in there considerably since then by banishing our old TV up there to be a video gamin’ machine and switching up the furniture arrangement quite a bit.  We have many ideas in mind for this room, but rather than tackle it all at once, we’re kind of taking it one item at a time.  We still have yet to paint this room and give it some life and vigor….so stay tuned for all of those changes!

Traveling: One of the big things Dr. J and I agreed upon when we got married was to incorporate as much travel as possible into our lives.  The back half of 2010 is going to be spent doing just that!  Unfortunately, we won’t be traveling to as many exotic places as we would like, but we are hoping to incorporate some  big ticket places into our future itineraries.  Nothing has been decided yet, but Hawaii, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and even Alaska have all crossed our minds.  Stay tuned for those details in 2011.  In the near future, though, expect some updates from the road as we make some pretty major trips at the back half of 2010.

Master Suite: We gave our Master bedroom a minor facelift this winter by switching out some pillows and brightening things up on the cheap with some happier accessories:

However….our bedding is seven years old and is, honestly, just a wee bit girly for me and WAY too girly for Dr. J.  We’d love to keep the blue-ish themes going on but just grow it up a little bit more.  We’ve recently purchased a new mattress, so new bedding is definitely in the works….it’s just a matter of finding it.

Another thing we need to tackle in our Master Suite is the bathroom.  Lord, it just needs help.  We have permanently etched/damaged marble top counters, black mold growing behind the caulk lines in our shower (which we have tried desperately to fix – twice – by digging out the caulk, bleaching it, and re-caulking to no avail).  Our shower is too small, the tub too big, and while I think we have plenty of storage, most of it is below-knee, which means I am constantly bending over every morning to reach simple things like lotions and sprays.  I’m kind of getting tired of it.  Soooooo…..we want to gut it…down.to.the.studs.  And, yes, we do plan to do it all ourselves!  But after our recent laundry room makeover, we definitely are taking a much-needed break.  So stay tuned while we build up the funds and work on our back muscles – you know we’re gonna need it!

So will we get all of these projects done?  I’m going for a negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full on that one.  I’m certainly hopeful!  But since nothing is “dire” and/or entirely functional (most of these items above are about getting things gussied up for the prom), we’re just taking a “one-thing-at-a-time” approach (with some more breaks and fun mixed in for good measure).

So that’s the Quest for Year 2!!  Now You Tell’Us!  What major renos/makeovers are you planning in your house?!?  We’d love to hear about them!  We’d also *really* love to hear about how you tackled them, too!  Send us a few of your renovations with pics!  Who doesn’t love a good before and after?!?

Blog-i-ver-sa-ry Week!

Can you believe it?! As of this Friday, July 16th, we have owned this house now for *one*whole*year*! And what’s even nuttier is that I’ve been writing posts on this blog for *one*whole*year*! Don’t believe me?! Check out this link for some cringe-worthy writing! Things have certainly changed in the one year since we moved into this house and began remaking it from top-to-bottom and we are uber-stoked to have come this far! So I thought in celebration of this mini-milestone that it might be high-time to sit down and do some reflection on der ol’ blog-in-stein and our dear chateau. So this whole week is going to be a party of sorts! Break out your party hats and sparklers and let’s have some fun!!

Picture courtesy of wikimedia.org

But first, I thought it’d be important to share a few bloggy milestones and numbers:

  • Over 122 (now 123!) posts since we started this here blog on July 16, 2009! Boy, would I love to write more – it’s that whole work thing…gets in the way… 😉
  • Over 38,000 individual views of this page since a year ago!
  • 331 individual comments posted to the blog (…but I could always use s’more!)
  • We’ve created 4 videos related to our home adventures, which you can watch here.
  • Our readership started with around 330 views/month in August of ’09 and has increased to a whopping 4,400 views/month in June, 2010. We’ve been really lucky to have a healthy increase in readership every single month since December of ’09! Whoop-tee-whoo!
  • We’ve been featured on lots of *other* design and home blogs throughout the interwebs, including this post, this one, over here, here again, and the big doozie of a shout-out on one of the top blogs in the world, according to The London Times, happened back in November and gave us a huge boost in readership that we’ve been soaking up ever since! Seriously, the day we were featured on YoungHouseLove.com, we received over 8,000+ views in one day! Talk about a serious boost in readership! I think the day before we *maybe* had about 30 views…? We were glowing for weeks after that one! Still are, actually…
  • Somebody (3 mysterious people) lovingly nominated us for Apartment Therapy’s Best Home Design blogs of 2009. I mean, for shiz? Seriously?!?! We were ver-klempt. And if you were a part of that lovely trio, a serious thank you goes out to you! *Blushes*. Of course, we didn’t win, but who cares?!? Being nominated was enough for us!

But most important of all, we’ve just had a ton of fun creating our own little niche on the interwebs! Probably a little more so me than Dr. J – I often have to drag him to the computer to write. But I’m a Chatty Cathy and could write for years without feeling the least bit bored or as if I’ve even got half of my thoughts on paper. You sure can’t measure satisfaction and pride with a yardstick, but if you could it would be at least THIS BIG! No, seriously – BIGGER!!! I love writing this blog and I love sharing all of our little mishaps and (mis)adventures with all of you glorious people :-).

And then, lastly, I just have to thank YOU…no, YOU! The one in the back….who hasn’t commented or said anything this whole time. The one with the funny hat! I’m talkin’ ’bout YOU! Hey, I love YOU, too! You’re the best! All of you! Thank you for carving out a few minutes of your day to read about the ramblings of a stranded Ohioan in the land of Oregonians. Thank you for giving me your support, your readership, and, most importantly, your inspiration. I can’t tell you how many blogs I have on my Google Reader (it’s a lot!) and I gobble them up each and every day like a kid on Christmas Morning! I am so inspired by all of the do-it-yourselfers out there who are just doing their best to make their homes magnificent on a dime. Keep the inspiration a’comin’!

But You Tell’Us! Tell’Us about your blog or just a little bit about who you are and why you’re here! In fact, here’s a little survey for ya! Just copy and paste this little form into the comments section below and tell’me a little bit about yourself!! Inquiring writers want to know!!

  • Who are you? Male/Female? Age? Homeowner? Renter? Married? Single? Any kids? Pets? Do you have a secret nickname?
  • What keeps ya comin’ back? Is it my quirky/wry/dry sense of humor? Pictures of Maggie? Before & Afters? Good ideas? Bad ideas?? Dude…why do you read us anyway?!?! I like my writing, but it’s probably because I’m a total megalomaniac…(don’t comment on that, please)
  • What are your favorite types of posts & why? Do you like the “It’s not easy being green” segments? What about Before & Afters?
  • What advice do you have for us to make Tell’er All About it even more delicious in year #2? More bacon, less fat? More fat and less bacon….dude, why would *any*body want that?
  • Anything else you want us to know, or just gotta share with the world? This is the perfect place to introduce me to your wonderful blog/website/Etsy shop and give me *more* delicious eye-candy to feast my eyes upon!

So stay tuned this week! We’re gonna do some reflection on where we’ve been, how we got here, and where we’re going! We might even have a little time for the big LAUNDRY ROOM REVEAL. I’m tellin’ ya, lots of anticipation on that one!!!

Gawk at this!

The big move was yesterday! It took about 7.5 hours and J was safely tucked at work in his cube – lucky guy! The guys at Priority Moving worked their tails off (with me sort of helping) and managed to get everything almost completely right. Unfortunately, our large Computer Armoire is in pieces in the garage – we tried to take it apart to get it upstairs and it just won’t go. We will have to get creative on that piece.

I did want to share a little bit of eye candy with you, though. Once this blog is officially up and running, this will be such a fun thing to look back on, courtesy of Gawker! Enjoy! More info on the how will come later!

First and Foremost….

It’s official! We are homeowners! Sort of….maybe….not yet at all, actually….*sigh*…


Even though we are “closed” in the eyes of our lender, our checks have been cashed, and the Escrow Company thinks we’re great, etc – the bank from whom we purchased our lovely Foreclosed property is not so keen. To protect the innocent, they shall remain nameless! Essentially, the Bank (current owners) forgot to sign some paperwork eons ago when they initially took possession of the property and, as such, we are waiting in limbo until “Bank time” catches up with “Teller time”. Not to be confused with “Miller time”, which is definitely what we will be having when we get the keys.

So for now, we are waiting. In limbo. Patiently waiting….