July 19, 2011

House Hunting...so far

So far house hunting has been a lot of wait and see because I currently have six months left on my lease and so I won't get into the nitty gritty of looking at houses physically until late fall/ early winter.

So I've worked up a list of things I need to do to prepare myself for a crazy few months.

Pay off the debt.
It's been tough but it's neccessary. The car accident didn't help either but slowly and surely, I'm getting there. I've designed a spending plan and I've had to make some sacrifices. So far it's working.

Get my research on.
You name it, I've looked at it. Trulia. Zillow. Movoto. MLS. Property Appraiser's Office. Tax Collector's Office. I've even looked at court documents. Bank sites that listed forclosed properties. I've seen so much and yet I haven't even scratched the surface. I'll be blogging about some of these sites later.

Decide on which neighborhood to live in.
I've made my decision, kind of. I've decided which side to live on. It took a lot of soul searching and talking to friends and family to realize, I need to be on the Southside. My family lives on the Westside and a thirty minute drive to visit them isn't bad compared to a thirty minute drive everyday from home to work.

If I want to remain in the career that I'm in, Southside is the place to be or at least in the Mandarin area. I'm looking to find a place that's a fifteen minute drive to work.

Talk to real estate agents.
Luckily my cousin went through the homebuying process a year ago, so I asked her for a reference. I also looked up another real estate agent. After talking to my cousin's agent, I decided to work with her. She has the energy I need and I researched more about her credentials and read some of the testimonials. But most important of all, I got a good vibe talking to her.

Talk to a mortgage lender.
I've talked to three of them so far. All of them were a wealth of information and I've been given a better picture of how much I'll need for the process. It's not just signing a contract and paying a down payments. There's appraisers, closing costs, there's opening utility accounts and moving vans and repairs. Ugh, getting a little winded just thinking about it all.

Move in with my parents.
I seriously don't want to go to my parent's house. It's that whole, you're under my roof, you need to follow my rules thing. The whole, I'm not going anywhere, I'm just getting my phone thing. Or the, Yes mom, I'm going to my boyfriend's house and I don't know when I'm coming back thing. I never thought I would have to do this again but I really don't have much of a choice it's the only way I'll be able to...

No matter how many spending plans I design, I couldn't figure out a way to save what I need to save with out living off of a Ramen noodle diet. I'm seriously considering getting catering gigs or seasonal work just to shorten the time at my parent's house.

Wish me luck.

July 18, 2011

Elisa and the Green Room III

It got busy at work and during my lulls I was looking at real estate. That will have to be another blog entry because that's a saga on its own.

A lot has developed with Elisa's room and there's still quite a few things that needs to be done but it's ever evolving and it's so exciting to help my little sister get her dream room.

I'm pretty sure if she really had her dream room, she'd have a big screen HDTV, maybe a new car attached to that room but of course mommy nor daddy nor big sis has that kind of money. Luckily a huge chunk has been done in room just in time for her birthday.

I taught her how to make a ribbon board to hold all of her pictures of friends and family. We went staple crazy to do this. A little too staple crazy.
This was an up-cycle. It was first discovered in a discount salvage with a beach theme painted all over it. She painted it black and a bunch of neon colors and was used to hold gift cards for her quinceanera last year. This year she painted it black but to simplify her decor in her room she painted the swirls with white. Love how it turned out, it's a lot more grown up but it remains fun. She now uses it for jewelry and mementos from school (love notes).

Elisa and I used painter's tape before she painted the black lines. A whole lot more mistake proof resistant with the tape.

My sister hates shopping especially in Wally World, but she found the canvas picture of New York for a bargain. The canvases were in her room before and she covered them in fabric that we found in a dollar bin at Joanne's.
In lieu of a huge dresser, we moved in a shelving unit that was in another room and used bins to hold her clothes. We went online before we went bin shopping but we still went store hopping just to get the right combination of prints and sizes.

There's still plenty to do. Including this jewelry board. She's working on getting some hooks into the board to show off some of her accessories. The hooks were brass in color so she painted them black. Paint on the plate was evidence of either her boredom or having fun with the excess paint on her paintbrush.

We "lost" the covers to all of the outlets and switches. Elisa is using zebra duct tape to decorate the covers that she's found so far.

The night stand, and the headboard is in desperate need of an up-cycle.

This lovely little dresser used to be mine at one point. The plan is to make it her own. Ideas to come soon.

What I've learned:
  • There's moments where you have to let go and let the little one prove that she can do it.
  • Teenagers have a short attention spans except when it comes to crazy colors.
  • Moms will think this is too busy but that makes teenagers love it even more.
  • No amount of organization is enough unless you're willing to take out the trash and give things a way.
  • Small prints avoids clashing with bigger prints.
  • Focal points pop with larger prints, accessories should have smaller prints to not compete with the point of reference.

July 1, 2011

Mourning the Loss of Garden Ridge

My town is losing it's one and only Garden Ridge and I just discovered that it's the only one in Florida! Soon Orlando will have one, that happens to be two hours away from me. In a year or so, they'll build a new one in Jacksonville. So not fair.

It's like that one friend that you never spend time with and realize how much you should have hung out with her when that person tells you that she's moving out of town.

Here's some of my great finds during my last visit.

Everything here under $60. The good part is that they'll have a 25 percent off sale on everything until the place closes. There's also rumors that I'll turn into a 50 percent sale soon. So I bought a couple things. Nothing too big, one's a gift for my mom. The smaller nightstand seems befitting for my sister's room as well as the green chair, perfect for reading next to the window. I think I would attempt the flower painting myself but I like the combination of colors. The ladies were seem relatives to another girl from the room that inspired my sister's.

Sigh. You'll be missed, Garden Ridge.