Thursday, February 28, 2008

refinancing the house

Yesterday, The Husband and I met with our financial advisor from Primerica. (If you haven't had a professional create a financial plan for you, get to it!) The purpose of the meeting was to discuss refinancing our 1960 rancher, which has, to my delight, gone up quite a bit in value in the four short years we've owned it (or, in our case, paid a mortgage payment to a bank). Spurred by the interest rate drop that's all over the news, we thought it would be smart to at least take a look at our options. But as we discussed things, it seemed there were a ton (a plethora, if you will) of options out there, besides the basic, refinance-for-a-lower-payment idea. I'm enthusiastic about the prospect of possibly doing some home improvements with our built-up equity, like replacing the 1960s-era windows, repaving the driveway, or (oh, how I wish it were possible) remodeling the kitchen. Suddenly, our little house has so much more potential.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

so long, linus and lucy

Our two foster pups, Linus and Lucy, were adopted today. These are always bitter sweet days for me, as it's usually difficult to say goodbye to dogs who have made such an impact on my daily life in the short amount of time they live under our roof. But at the same time, it's great to see them go to loving homes (not to mention we get a rest from the constant cleaning and house-training). This particular adoption was especially exciting for me because the two men who adopted Lucy just fell in love with Linus and couldn't leave him behind. So they adopted both puppies! I'm thrilled that brother and sister will stay together and be spoiled rotten on a 14-acre property! If you'd like to get involved and foster a dog or cat, contact City Pet Rescue.

I snapped the above photo of Linus the week before his adoption. I'll never forget him.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

another swoon-worthy photograph

I just can't get enough of this photograph by Raydel Shanks. (It's available on Etsy for $25.) I'm loving the concept of vintage-style photographs lately. I think what appeals to me about this one is the figurine in the picture is a vintage item itself, giving the photo an even more retro feel. And anything with a deer in it appeals to me, really.

Friday, February 15, 2008

a horse is a horse

Take a gander at this fantastic photograph by Alicia Bock. (A print is available for purchase on Etsy.) It has such a soft, vintage feeling. Alicia comments on her Etsy site, "These are not perfect, sharp images but instead highlight the dust, scratches, and interesting bits that make vintage photographs so charming." It's a bargain at only $35. Take a look at her other items for sale. They inspire and delight me every time I visit her shop.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

a gorgeous birthday weekend

I awoke on my birthday (this past Saturday) to beautiful blue skies and 70-degree weather. With a February birthday, it's inevitable that the majority of my birthdays are gloomy, gray, and, quite often, rainy. As a child, my birthday get-togethers were mostly skate parties and movie nights, things you could do indoors. But it was a gorgeous day in the Dallas area, which lifted my spirits quite a bit after an emotionally exhausting week.

The Husband surprised me with a very pretty diamond necklace set in white gold, which he designed himself with the help of a jeweler. Then it was off to the movies to see the very beautifully shot but oh-so-sad Atonement. The evening was spent at Hatties, one of my favorite restaurants in the Bishop Arts District. The decor alone in this restaurant is enough to make a girl like me pass out from sheer happiness, but the food is a wonderful combination of Southern comfort and casual elegance. A glass of Cabernet and a heaping plate of fried green tomatoes was a fantastic way to end one of the best birthdays on record.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

things i discovered in nyc: vol. 3

While on a quest in SOHO to find The Husband the perfect beige button-up, I stumbled upon Muji. And I was so glad I did. Selling clothes, bedding, and even stationery, this little Japanese shop right on Broadway is its first U.S. store, and it's so neat and tidy that I felt compelled to just live there. Pack a bag, move in, snuggle up between the shoe section and a rack of pillows and just meditate. It's a fantastic place. Truly. The shop was also having a 70% off sale of which I took firm advantage. I'm loving my purchase, a too-cute knit bag with an adorable button closure. It's so delightful, I just want to eat it! Grrr.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

things i discovered in nyc: vol. 2

Those who know me well are aware that I'm a fan of all things tea. Hot tea, chai tea, loose-leaf tea, iced tea, tea cake... TEA! Renee was kind enough to suggest we visit teany while in Manhattan. Located on the Lower East Side and owned by Moby, this tiny shop offers 98 varieties of tea! I was in tea heaven. We enjoyed ours with an afternoon slice of cake. My vegan strawberry shortcake was huge, and I devoured the whole thing. I also left the shop with a tin of loose-leaf white peony tea. I enjoyed a spot of it this morning.

things i discovered in nyc: vol. 1

Renee and I found ourselves in New York City over the weekend during a torrential downpour. This, after a planes-trains-and-automobiles-esque day that began at 5 a.m. on Thursday. I won't go into the absurd details, but we started the day with little-to-no sleep (try sleeping the day before a NYC getaway!) and ended it with less-than-stellar chicken pot pie in a Times Square pub. Sprinkled between these events, we flew through a rainstorm, almost crashed into a runway, missed a connecting flight, and endured a three-hour flight delay. It took us more than 12 hours to reach Manhattan, and we fell asleep at 9 p.m. We awoke Friday to pouring rains, insane winds, and 30-degree temperatures. But we weren't about to let it ruin our trip. After purchasing two over-priced umbrellas from the hotel gift shop, we high-tailed it to the Guggenheim where we witnessed the installation of an incredible exhibit by Cai Guo-Qiang.

Despite the awful weather, I did discover something quite amazing in New York on Friday: Pinkberry. Made from REAL yogurt, these frozen concoctions are incredible. Renee enjoyed hers with raspberries and almonds, and I opted for the smoothie. I thought we were going to die from the creamy goodness. Oh, why, Pinkberry, must you be so pretentious as to only have shops in New York and California? Give us Texans a break and head down south. Will you, please?