Homeownership project #4, Part 1: Guest bathroom remodel

Alright people.  We're finally doing it.  This is THE project I've been waiting for.  The guest bathroom remodel. EEEEEKKKK!!  I can barely contain myself!!!!

Here is a little refresher of what the bathroom looks like currently:

I REALLY dislike this bathroom.  There are so many things I could point out that bother me, but I'm sure you can figure it out just by looking at it.  So, we're basically gutting the entire thing except for the tub since that's still in good shape.

I had such a time trying to find a contractor.  I finally signed up for Angie's List, and that was a really great decision.  It wasn't that expensive at all for a year membership (which will come in handy when our tenant in the townhome moves out and I need someone for repairs) and I would have never found some of these people on my own.  I sifted through lots of reviews and looked at lots of photo galleries of work and narrowed it down to three contractors. I liked the first guy I met with, the 2nd guy was nice but a little soft spoken (he was from the #1 rated contractor) and then I really liked the 3rd guy I met with - I felt most comfortable with him and I liked that he brought some ideas when we were chatting about what I wanted done.  Tyler and I have a max amount that we wanted to spend on this project.  When we got the first estimate it was about $2k over what we wanted to spend, and we still had to provide some of the materials. We thought, well shoot, maybe this is what its going to cost to get this bathroom updated.  Then we got the 2nd estimate from the soft spoken guy and it was $6k over what we wanted to spend, but we didn't have to provide any of the materials.  But it was totally outside of our budget regardless, so that one was a no-go. We finally got the 3rd estimate from my favorite contractor, and it was $600 under our budget!  Yay!  There were some things that Tyler and I can handle like painting, and doing some of the minor demo line items, so with those revisions, the estimate comes in at $1k under our budget. That's perfect because we will use that money to purchase a new vanity, toilet, fixtures, etc. We will finalize the contract early next week, and demo will probably start the following week. I'm so excited! Are you ready to see what our inspiration photo is? Here you go -

Can't wait to get this project started!


Puppy Life

The life of a puppy is pretty breezey if you ask me.  Stella gets up around 7:30am each day (every once and a while she still needs to get up around 4am to go outside, that's Tyler's job), and then we have breakfast and playtime until around 9:30.  Right around that time she gets sleepy, so she naps from around 9:30 to 11:30.  That's when I take advantage of my free time and shower, get caught up on emails, play with Max, clean the house...important stuff like that.  Then Stella gets up and is STARVING, so we have lunch, and then have some more playtime.  I've found that I've started to DREAD rainy days.  It makes playtime much more confined to the house, and when she goes outside, she tends to get her pretty white feet very, very muddy.  Not to mention she thinks it fun to roll around in the one little mud spot in the yard, or play hide and seek behind the bushes, especially when its raining. She also really dislikes baths.  We might have the only dog in America that doesn't like water.  That'll have to change! Playtime ends around 3:30 and then she's ready for another 2 hour nap.  I continue with my house chores, run errands, etc. at this point, and then she's ready for dinner at 5:30 which then turns into playtime with Tyler because at that point I'm exhausted because I've been running after her all day.  She can literally run back and forth sprints about 20 times with no sign of tiring. I think I'm more exhausted after a day with Stella than a day working at the office.  But its fun!!

Sometimes we'll have fun things to do - we'll go visit Meagan and Dixie in Aledo, and Dixie and Stella will run around the yard like wild manjees, and then sometimes we have a vet appointment to get shots (not fun for Stella) but its good to get her out.  She always gets lots of "Ooooohs" and "Aaaaaahs" by the nurses and other pet owners when we're there.  We try to not let it get to her head. :) Her last appointment she weighed in at almost 19 lbs.  Her heart murmur is gone, her ear infection is cleared up, and she's overall a healthy little pup.

Sundays are fun, because Tyler and I will go to lunch at our new favorite spot (we're officially regulars) called The Lunch Box, right by our house.  They have the BEST chicken salad sandwich and chocolate pie.  O.M.G.  Then after lunch, we take Stella for a car ride around the neighborhood, since she's still too little to go to the park, or in the front yard. We roll the window down and let her put her head out in the wind, and then slow down whenever we pass other dogs or people so she can check them out. She'll get her final shots in April, and then FINALLY we can take her out into the world!  Tyler and I CANNOT WAIT.

Here are some pictures of Stella's life the past few weeks.

Sleepy bear
Sunday car ride

Who, me?

I love to chew!

Sometimes you just wanna lay in bed!


Hide and seek

I <3 sticks! The bigger the better!
Just waiting for Dr. McNeal at the vet

I love Daddy!

Stella's little life is pretty stellar if you ask me!


A day in the life..

The big Hispanic man working the cashier at Sally's Beauty Supply asked me why in the world a little white girl like me would need "weave glue" before he would check me out.  He just stared at me when I explained that my new puppy was teething so I needed to glue her ears down so they wouldn't permanently be set back.  "THAT'S a first," he said.  Sigh.


Winner winner chicken dinner!

So I've been trying to start the year off right by making an effort to decrease the amount of carbs we are eating, while increasing the amount of veggies. The problem is that we love anything made soley of carbs - pasta, stuffing, rice, potatoes, bread.  So, instead of doing away with them completely, I'm just limiting them at night time - I'm not sure if Tyler's noticed, but its made preparing dinner very hard!  I just want a big bowl of spaghetti!

I made two of Tyler's favorites the other night - Asian drumsticks with brussels sprouts.  The drumstick recipe I found on one of my favorite food blogs, SkinnyTaste. The blogger, Gina, always has some really yummy recipes and Tyler never has any idea that they're actually good for him. The brussels sprouts recipe is pretty basic - brussels, garlic, and bacon!  Both recipes are super easy, and super yummy!

Asian Glazed Drumsticks (via)

  • 8 medium chicken drumsticks, skin removed
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

In a heavy large saucepan, brown chicken on high for 3-4 minutes with a little spray oil. Add water, balsamic, soy sauce, agave, garlic, ginger, hot sauce and cook on high until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. Remove cover and bring heat to high, allowing sauce to reduce down, about 8-10 minutes, until it becomes a thick glaze, turning chicken occasionally. (Keep an eye on glaze, you don't want it to burn when it start becoming thick). Transfer chicken to a platter and pour glaze on top. Top with sesame seeds and serve.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Garlic

  • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, cleaned
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Chop Brussels sprouts while bacon cooks in a large saucepan.  Pull bacon out of saucepan after completely cooked and chop into little pieces.  Leave saucepan coated with bacon fat, but drain excess and dispose. Put minced garlic into the saucepan and cook for a minute.  Then add Brussels sprouts and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Add chopped bacon back to the pan and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.