Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Waiting for a client thoughts.....

So this isn't about "waiting for a client"....that's just what I'm doing right now :) I just needed to express how absolutely EXCITED I am to move into our new house! The previous owners (since we are the actual owners now and they are technically renting from us) are closing on their new home that is just being finished at the end of May....and as of last night we are set to do the final walk through at 10am on June1st!!! And after that, the painting begins!!! I am so excited to be a homeowner again...this time with my sweet hubby! What's kinda funny to me is that growing up in Virginia (where there are townhouses everywhere!!) I always wanted to live in a townhouse (I liked having different rooms on many different levels)....well, my parents always bought SF homes, but now Julian and I own a townhouse! And I'm still super excited about the whole levels concept!! I know, I know, I'm going to get tired of walking up and down the stairs all the time, but for now I'm all about bringing on the exercise!!!

That's all for now.....clients are waiting!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Whew! After a looooong/short-feeling last 2 months I decided it was about time to re-venture into the world of blogging! A LOT has been going on since I last blogged -- good stuff, just majorly time-consuming.

My favorite news? We're buying a house!

Julian and I had been talking about the long-term possibility of buying a house in this area.....but figured it would have to be awhile because housing prices in this area are SO expensive! As a comparison, my parents bought the house I grew up in (in Fairfax, Virginia) for $115K in 1985. When they sold it in 2003, they listed it for $399K and accepted a bid for it at $408K. MAJOR price change! The house was a good house, but nothing new, not as big as many of my friends' parents had......and it sold for over $400K!!!! Looking at home prices in this area (Annapolis, Arnold, Crofton, Edgewater -- all areas surrounding Annapolis) we were coming across old, run-down homes listed in the low $300K's.....and on up from that. Nothing that we were interested in.....especially since it would be our first home together (and my wonderful hubby has zero experience doing home maintenance, yard work, etc......not to mention that he's trying to finish his book by the early part of next year and doesn't have much spare time to tackle "home projects.").

We decided that a good first home for us would be less than 20 years old, minimal maintenance, minimal yard work.....a good opportunity for us (Julian, mostly....since I owned a home 4 years ago in Lubbock) to get our feet wet with as little fear as possible for the outcome! We were both sick of the rent we were paying -- I'll be transparent about this to give you an idea of apartment prices here.....we pay $1935/month for a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment with a garage. EEK!!!!! We wanted to be putting that money toward something useful. And even though the plan for kids is to NOT have them for another 3-4 years......I have made it very clear to Julian that I don't really want to have them while living in an apartment....especially since we're now both in our [early] 30s.

So.....we started looking at homes the first weekend in February (after I had been on the online hunt since last fall....just for fun!) and I started falling in love with some townhomes in Edgewater. It is a small community named River Oaks with townhomes built in the early 2000's. There was one in particular that I LOVED -- beautiful interior, entering on the ground floor, 3 floors total, hardwood floors on the middle level, 3 of the 4 rooms were pretty small, but very do-able, beautiful decor, etc. So we looked at it and put a bid in that night....only to find out that we did not get the house. Yes, there were a few negatives -- the 2 bathrooms were both on the 3rd floor (with the master bedroom and bedrooms 2-3). There was a room on the ground floor that had plumbing for a half bathroom.....but just the plumbing, nothing completed. But we LOVED the townhouse! But....apparently it wasn't God's plan for us!

So over the next few days I kept my eyes pealed for any other homes in the area to pop up on the market. Some of them were out of our price range, but some were close enough that we hoped a lower bid with no counter offers would keep us in our range. Low and behold....several days later another house popped up.....with even more to love! 3 full bathrooms, hardwood floors throughout, a sitting room with a fireplace on the middle floor -- BEAUTIFUL! Not really our colors and brass fixtures (we like stainless steal or brushed nickel).....but those can be changed! Well knowing how quickly that other townhouse was snatched off the market, Julian and I discussed the situation and agreed that if I liked it when I went to look at it (on a Wednesday morning.....he couldn't go until Saturday), I would put a bid in and he would see the house that weekend. A few counteroffers later....and a bunch of stress I might add (it was my extra stressful time of the month and I am not the most patient person already....and I really loved the house and wanted us to be able to get it).....and we got it! We close on it next Tuesday! We won't move in until June because the current owners are having a house built that won't be ready until then....and they're paying us rent for the next 2 months so we could lock in and close with our wonderul 5.0% mortgage intact!!

Many, many more details about this could be shared......but I better stop and get back to work......and post a few more photos of our beautiful soon-to-be new home!!
Master Bedroom
(the right side of it....it has the same amount of space for a sitting area on the other side!!!)Master Bathroom
(soaking tub separate from shower)

Backyard/deck/area outside of the backyard

3rd floor hallway from Master bdrm to bedrooms 2-3 and guest bathroom

Sitting room -- next to kitchen
(2nd floor)

Nursery/Bedroom 3 (it will be a nursery when we get to that point)
(3rd floor)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Do you need a personal assistant?"

That was the question my friend/neighbor asked me on the way to Pilates class tonight. Ummm....YES!!!! What a week -- MANY clients, so ready for Friday. I love what I do, I love the variety -- I love the teens and young adults who need someone who believes in them, I love the anxious kids who need something to make their tummy aches go away -- love it all (well, most of it!)! But sometimes I just run out of energy and my brain seems to be lagging behind! I managed to vacuum tonight.....so that when Ericka (my friend/neighbor) comes over at 6:30 tomorrow morning to start our step DVDs she won't leave with a bunch of dog hair all over her shoes and step (really, it's not THAT bad.....but come on, I have labs. Enough said!).

So this is my Valentine's Day present for my sweet husband! I finished it tonight (just in time for the 25% off all photobooks sale at Shutterfly). It is 100 pages of our eharmony profile information, emails to each other during the "getting to know you" process (72 pages of emails!!), and pictures from the first time we met through the Christmas just after we got engaged in 2006. I LOVE that we have a record of what we were finding out about each other during that initial connection process. It is amazing to me how it just clicked with both of us that God brought us together -- having designed both of us individually with characteristics that were such a unique fit. I can't wait to give it to him!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration -- from the perspective of an Annapolitan

It kinda feels like yesterday was the start of another new year. When I was finally able to sit down and watch President Obama's inaugural speech last night I was really inspired. I have such great hopes that there will be more care and concern on the part of our generation to step up and be a part of this nation. I have heard repeatedly from teens, college students, and young adults in general in the past few years that "it doesn't really matter what happens in DC or with government or what has happened in the past in history. It doesn't effect me." When Julian moved here from Orange County, California in October, 2005, he was shocked to find out just how much people in this area were aware of government activities. Sure, not everyone is involved, but there is more exposure and news overall (after all, "local" news is "national" news). Having grown up in Northern Virginia (yes, we kind of act like we're a separate state from the rest of Virginia), I feel like I have always been exposed to government. My family and I went to the inauguration of George H.W. Bush in 1989 -- it was incredible! I felt like such a part of history! For senior year Government class we were required to campaign for the party of our choice and put together an extensive project on the impact of those for whom we campaigned and their desired role in the government. Even though I've recently pulled away from Republican party affiliation and become more Independent, I was heavily Republican at the time and I remember campaigning for Tom Davis of Virginia. It really made me feel like I was a part of things. Then I move to Oklahoma in 1996 for college and I feel COMPLETELY clueless about what is going on in the world. It was just a bizarre feeling after living around the DC metro area since 1985. The same experience continued into grad school in Abilene, TX, then in Lubbock, TX. CLUELESS about government, not as easy to be aware since I'd been spoiled with local national news. Yes, I could still have sought out information....but that was a little too time-consuming while reading EXTENSIVELY for school.

So back to Julian. He had TREMENDOUS culture shock when he moved from Hollywood-infatuated Orange County to the Government/PC-infatuated DC area. It was really neat to see him start learning more and more about the dynamics of this presidential election, the electoral college, the various regional viewpoints, and the particular ballot initiatives for Maryland. Yes, he became quite harsh and forthright at times.....even downright offensive at times. It was still exciting to see him stretching his political wings, though :) Both of us were inspired by yesterday, though -- really wanting to become more involved in local service to the community and government activities, wanting to take more ownership of the economy and its effect on our bank accounts and future goals.....really wanting to move forward. It's nice to feel a part of things and inspired.....I guess I didn't expect it to come from the inaugural speech from our new President.....but God really can work in mysterious ways!

So while I didn't go to the inauguration it was still nice to be so close to it! This week I've had TONS of clients (which is a good thing)....just a little overwhelming as it makes me feel like I'm completely zapped at the end of the day (which, if it's Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday ends at 7 or 8pm) and I'm not worth much of anything to my sweet hubby. I'll write more about that later :)

Back to our new Pres......here are a few of my new favorite pics :) Enjoy!

LOVE this pic! LOVED her dress!!


Already working hard. I'm excited about his new government transparency initiative
(to include transparency about salaries over $100K!)

And now back to work....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Enchilada Chicken

I just had to do a quick post on Julian's and my dinner tonight.....Enchilada Chicken, straight from The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook (with one thing added). So lately we've been trying to eat more healthy, include good fats (like those from almonds, olives, dark chocolate, avocados, etc.). I've been trying to really watch our portion size, up our intake of veggies (our fruit intake has been great for awhile now). All of that to say.......Enchilada Chicken was a big hit. For anyone who is interested, here's the recipe, with 4 servings (I halved it so that we could try it but not be stuck with the leftovers in case we didn't like it):

Enchilada Chicken

4 (4-ouncse) trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 teaspoons salt-free Mexican or Southwest seasoning (they suggest Mrs. Dash Southwest
Chipotle....but Safeway didn't have it so I used Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy and it was great!)

Olive oil spray

4 tablespoons mild, medium, or hot enchilada sauce (we used hot......my husband grew up in New
Mexico.....I've gotten used to hot :)

2 ounces (1 cup) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese (they suggest Cabot's)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (I probably used 2 tablespoons on our 2 chicken

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Season each chicken breast evenly on all sides with the seasoning.

Place a large ovenproof nonstick skilled over high heat. When hot, lightly mist with the olive oil spray and add the chicken. Cook, turning once, for 1-2 minutes per side, or just until the chicken is golden brown on the outsides.

Remove the pan from heat and top each chicken breast with 1 tablespoon of the enchilada sauce, followed by one-fourth of the cheese and one-fourth of the cilantro. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 4-6 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside and the cheese is melted (I cooked ours for 10 minutes).

Nutritional info per serving: 162 calories, 31 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 71 mg cholesterol, trace fiber, 230 mg sodium

* I added 2 teaspoons of sliced olives to the top of the chicken (on top of the cilantro, so that we'd be getting some good fats -- and because I knew Julian would like the inclusion of black olives to make it more enchilada-ish).

The result: A WINNER!! We both loved it and it was extra flavorful and healthy! We added 1/2 cup cooked wild rice (not mixed with any other rice, just straight wild), a tossed salad and green grapes as sides to round it all off.

Also, a special thanks to my awesome friend Stacey for her 3 cheese spaghetti recipe (that I added spinach to), that was also a big hit. We had that on Friday AND Saturday nights (and will probably have it again tomorrow night!).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009......"Year of the BIG D"

Ahh.....2009! It doesn't feel like we've started a new year -- 2008 flew by way too quickly! I've been TERRIFIED of this year for a while now.....because of the big D. No, not divorce.....DISSERTATION. You see, I MUST finish (write the proposal, fly to Lubbock and propose, collect data, write up the data, fly to Lubbock again and defend) this dissertation by the end of the year....October, to be exact, in order to graduate and not use the credits I've completed toward my Ph.D. Knowing myself, I don't doubt that I can do this -- after all, all the papers I've ever written for school (high school, college, and grad school) have been completed "procrastination style"....which actually works well for me! I get the assignment, I think about it, I collect resources, I think about it some more....and then I write it the night, day, or weekend before it is due. I actually work best this way.....but I scare myself every time! My dad was actually in this position with his Masters Thesis....which he did not complete. Oddly enough, the topic of the thesis was Intelligence in the U.S.S.R.......which I remember him working dilligently on.....until he stopped......and then a year later the U.S.S.R. crumbled! Who knew?! So the pressure is on extra hard for me to NOT follow in his footsteps. I know he is very worried that I will carry on his legacy......just another reason to FINISH!

I'll write more later on in the week about Christmas and New Years.....I just needed a little pep talk to myself (still haven't picked up the articles to start reading again.....but thinking about it is still good, right?!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas! I'm trying to finish packing and shake my recurring "travel mood"......in time to get a few hours sleep, wake up at 3am, and leave at 4am for the airport! We're headed to Alamogordo, New Mexico, where Julian's mom and stepdad live. It honestly doesn't feel like Christmas Eve to me right now.....probably because our Christmas Day is going to be spent in airports, in the sky, and then in a rental car as we drive 1 1/2 hours from the airport in El Paso to Alamogordo. We're going to be doing "Christmas Eve" on Saturday, after Julian's sister and her husband arrive from California, then doing Christmas the next morning. Hopefully those days will feel more "Christmas-y."

Poor little Eden has been having a few diarrhea issues...so I've been trying to feed her some apples and get her to drink water a little more than she wants to right now. I really hate having to leave her tomorrow morning.....but thank goodness she's in the capable hands of Ericka, my downstairs neighbor/walking & pilates buddy/friend. It's still hard to leave the girls, though.

I'm really looking forward to keeping up with this blog on a regular basis.....and I'll hopefully have lots of fun stories from our trip to write about once we return home on New Year's Eve!