Sunday, December 28, 2014

Home Office: Days 3 and 4

I've had some successes and some failures over the past weekend. My successes are mostly coming in the form of furniture updates. After layering and scrubbing and peeling multiple different times, I finally have my wood desk all stripped down. It is ready for sanding and re-staining as soon as all of the chemicals and cleaner dry from the surfaces. I was very pleasantly surprised how the finish and the old dark stain came out of the wood using the stripping chemical that I found. I'm hoping it will make the rest of the process go smoothly.

I also have 5 shelves that I wanted to paint to match the new wall colors, and I am really happy with the color that is turning out. It's a process, getting as much painted as possible before I have to wait for them to fully dry. I think this was day one of four to complete the shelves, so there will be more days of painting to come...

Last but not least, I attempted to start the stencil on the office walls, but was very unsuccessful in getting anything that looked decent. I'm not sure what exactly I'm doing wrong, so I decided to see if pressing the stencil super flat for a day will help me get some crisper lines? I love the color and it has a shine to it, which is exactly what I wanted! I just need to figure out how to make it look right now.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas in the New House

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas cooking and enjoying our new house this year. The neighborhood and the house was quiet and peaceful, and we even got a little snow on Christmas! As with every other year, we missed our families and friends but we're secretly trying to plan a good time for some visits in 2015... Hopefully that will all come together some time soon.  :)

Christmas Eve was our italian feast, and we made stuffed pasta shells and lasagna this year. We made our own lasagna noodles, and quickly learned through mistakes why you shouldn't stack sticky noodles on top of each other after they're rolled out.  haha   Regardless of the mishap, everything turned out delicious. We made way too much food as usual, so we now have a giant refrigerator full of left-overs, but it will get us through the next week without having to do much cooking.

One of my favorite but oddest traditions we've created is to sit with some chocolate tequila and enjoy the movie "Bad Santa" every Christmas Eve. Not exactly your sentimental Christmas movie, but we laugh so hard and really enjoy ourselves.

For Christmas, I ended up having to substitute the smoker for our new crock-pot to cook our pork shoulder. I was sad, but the smoker just wasn't ready for cooking. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but the shoulder was just as tender and tasty coming from the slow cooker, and it was a delicious Christmas meal! I will happily use this as a substitute for making pulled pork any time now. So easy to throw it in and let it cook all day without having to deal with cleaning up charcoal and a grease filled smoker...

Our family and friends sent us so many amazing gifts, and this gift card is going to be put to good use as soon as I can get out of the house! Merry Christmas from Colorado.  xx

Home Office: Days 1 and 2

My project for the days I have off this holiday week was to finish my home office. There are stacks of books and file folders all over our guest bedroom, temporarily waiting to be put away until I had my office in a good place. And now that the snow is starting to come down in Colorado, we need that guest bedroom back! Our grand plan is to turn it into a rec room, so that we can use it more than just two or three times a year. We'll soon be on the look-out for a sleeper sofa that will be comfortable when our guests do come, but it will mostly be the home for our trainers and our older entertainment center. I'm excited to get both rooms to a functional place, so I got started as soon as I could.

Before I started, the room was pretty bland. Beige carpet, cream colored walls, white doors, white and wood furniture. It was functioning just fine for me, a decent space for me to work my multiple jobs and it was also serving as our exercise room.

Day one was mostly just a prep day. I took apart all of the furniture, getting them ready for a face-lift. I then taped off the room, ready for painting. It honestly took most of my time just to move all of the small items out of the room, but it was ready to go!

Day 2 was the day for painting the walls. I found a pretty colonial blue color that I wanted to use as the base color and got to work in the morning. Four hours and a gallon of paint later, I had blue walls and the biggest task checked off the list!

Day number 3 is going to be some touch-up work on the walls, and then I'm not quite sure which part I want to do next...  I'd wanted to start painting some of the bookcases, but I need to make a trip to the store for some different paint. And with the arrival of a Colorado snow storm, I think I might need to change that plan a little. More updates to come soon!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

My New Toy

My company was offering some amazing discounts for the holidays this year, and one of them was for some available Trek frames. I'd been in the market for a new bike for a while, so I did some research on the right size frame and was able to purchase one of the available options!! Unfortunately, only the frame and fork were for sale, so I'm now in the process of purchasing parts to build it back up. I'm guessing that I'll have a full bicycle ready to ride by the end of January. And then no more bringing that old aluminum "baby" bike to my races anymore!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Decorations

We haven't had a big Christmas Tree since we lived in Ohio, and I was so excited to put one up in the house this year. 7' tall and it looks beautiful. Since we don't have a dining set yet, it will live in the dining room this year for our Holiday Season. We might need to find it a new home next year, but we'll worry about that when the time comes!

The hubs and I poured some egg nog, turned on some Christmas carols and brought out the box of decorations. What had seemed like a lot of decorations in our apartments these last few years now barely seems to fill the spaces. But we have many years ahead of us to find some great seasonal pieces to transform the house. There is just so much potential, and I love it!

I missed my family a lot as I pulled out some old, special ornaments and pieces. I wish I could convince them to move out here to Colorado... there are a couple of available houses in our neighborhood!  ;)

First Thanksgiving in the New House

Last year, we tried to make Thanksgiving a more "formal" affair by setting up a table with nice place settings and silverware. It had been the first time we'd made the entire meal ourselves, and it was a huge hit!

For the first year in our new house, we didn't quite have the same nice set-up. We are still in need of a dining set, and I was suffering from day number 3 of jet lag after traveling home from Asia. However, despite the casual atmosphere, we still had an outstanding meal. The turkey turned out so much better this year, and we seemed to have the routine figured out a little better. I'm looking forward to many left-over meals ahead of us!

First Trip to Asia

My profession has always had a strong connection to manufacturing and building relationships with partners in Asia. I've worked with great companies in India, Korea, China and Vietnam throughout the last 9 years, but I never had been given the opportunity to travel across the world to see what it was all about in person.

My new job presented me with the opportunity to finally take this trip, and it was one of the most productive work trips I've ever been on. We had a really strong team with us, and we approved over 40 styles to the next stage of development! That kind of productivity is almost unheard of, and is especially difficult if you are not working in the factories, right in their offices. It was a huge accomplishment for my career, and I was so glad to have finally gotten that notch in my belt. The time change has been tough to over come since being home this last week, but I hear that each trip gets a little easier (which I'm glad to hear that there will be even more trips to come!)

Some photos from my trip: