House Hunting

Ryan’s been in this apartment since last September (I’ve been here since January) and by the end of July, we had to decide if we wanted to renew our lease for another year. Things were crazy around that time with wedding planning, so thinking about moving by the end of September was a little overwhelming.  We kind of went back and forth on what we should do. We tossed around the idea of buying a house, not even knowing if it would be an option.

We liked the idea of putting money into a house that we could get back when we sell it (as opposed to renting when you feel like you’re wasting money). Renting in this area is so expensive that we would be making lower payments on a house, which would be great!  Also, the idea of getting our own place and making it our own, with a yard, not having to pay a fee to have cats, etc – all sounded wonderful.

We found it would be possible for us to buy a house so we really started thinking seriously about that option. We weren’t sure where to start, but we ended up starting with a company that only sells new houses. Turns out, we didn’t like the idea of buying a new house in a “production neighborhood.” You know, the ones where you pick a floor plan and your house goes up so quickly that you wonder if they’re using quality materials. Plus, the lots are super small. It just didn’t end up being our thing.

Instead, we found an awesome realtor and started looking into pre-existing houses. We ended up renewing our apartment lease for 3 more months, so we have until the end of December to find our house.  Our wedding kind of put the house hunting on hold, plus we filed an extension on our taxes so we had to get those done as well to continue the process.

Things are finally moving along now! We’ve been looking at houses in “rural” areas around Indy so we can get a USDA loan. It’s perfect because 1) there’s no down payment and 2) a low fixed interest rate. Also, we aren’t stuck to one part of Indy since we both work from home so we are flexible with where we live.

I’ve been house hunting online like crazy and we’ve finally been able to get out and look at a handful of houses.

Here’s what we’re looking for in a home:

  • One that is move-in ready, thus doesn’t require any major work
  • 2-story would be ideal, to help separate our office from our bedroom and/or living room area
  • 3 bedrooms – one for us, one for the office, and one for a guest room
  • Lots of windows to let in light
  • A nice sized yard and quiet neighborhood – preferably with lots of trees.
  • Open floor plan
  • 1 car garage
  • Bonuses – fireplace, hardwood floors, patio or deck, front porch

So far, we have found one home we both really, really like. It has a big front and back yard + a covered front porch and a patio out in the back. It has nice hardwood floors, a fireplace, 1 car garage with extra room for storage. It’s split level, and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs, and then one extra room downstairs. The master bedroom has carpet, a large window, vaulted ceiling, and the bathroom has a separate shower plus a jacuzzi tub. The living room, dining room, and kitchen are on the main level and it feels very open. It was built in 1960.

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Our realtor is going to find out more about the home and we’re going to look at a few more houses. I think it may be hard to find another house that compares to this one now. I’m really excited to see where this goes – maybe we’ve already found our house!  :)

I’m A Vegetarian

I never thought I’d say this, but I became a vegetarian! This has evolved since the springtime, ever since Ryan and I watched the documentary “Forks Over Knives.” I say evolved because at first we were more like “flexitarians” (Ryan was much better than me). Eventually, I cut out all meat from my diet.

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Yes, the documentary is that powerful – or at least to us it was. (Funny side note – our good friends Todd & Carrie watched the documentary the same week and also made a diet change.)  You need to watch it if you haven’t!  It’s not as scary as Food, Inc. if you’ve seen that one. It shows a lot of evidence and data that meat (and dairy) is not good for us.

To sum up my main reasons for not eating meat: it’s what I think is best for my body, it’s disgusting how most animals are raised before they are slaughtered, and eating lower on the food chain is environmentally friendly.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I made this diet change. I was never a great meat eater – I would easily get grossed out by it. However, I did become obsessed with Chick-fil-A when I moved to Indy and thought I wouldn’t be able to give it up. BUT – the cravings soon subsided.  Now I crave Pad Thai from Noodles & Company… mmmm!

The fun thing about being vegetarian is trying out new things and being more creative when it comes to food. It’s a fun challenge since most of America thinks every meal should be based around meat. That’s how I grew up too!  Some vegetarian dishes we’ve made: spaghetti squash, chickpea + avocado salad sandwiches, vegetable soup, vegetarian chili, stir fry (veggies, rice noodles, rice), spaghetti, veggie burgers, veggie pizza, breakfast burritos or bean burritos. Notice a trend? In the process of not eating meat, you eat more VEGGIES, which we all need more of! We also have a juicer so we can juice fruits & veggies.

The challenging part?  Finding vegetarian options at restaurants, especially on the road when you want something quick. Our go-to places have become Noodles & Co and Qdoba. We also have a few favorite local restaurants that have delicious veggie options (Three Sisters Cafe and Bagel & Deli). There’s always pizza too; my favorite is pineapple!

Unfortunately I haven’t lost any weight with this new eating habit. I’ve gained at least 5 lbs in the past year (ugh, can’t gain anymore, I’m only 5 foot tall!) I guess that’s because I’m still addicted to almonds. ;)

Disclaimer: I can’t say that I am a 100% perfect vegetarian. Sometimes we have to eat meat if means food or no food (like at wedding receptions when we’re shooting photos or video). Or if I get the craving once in a blue moon, I’ll allow myself. (Usually it’s not as good as I think it sounds though). I also don’t want to get snobby about it and in turn, feel or act superior to others. :)

New Hair!

In October of 2009, I donated 10 inches of my hair for the first time. After enjoying it short for several months, I started growing it out. At the time, I didn’t know when exactly I was getting married, but I figured I should let it grow for my future wedding. I knew I wanted my hair down and curly for my Big Day. Then it became a joke before we were engaged that, “My hair is getting long, Ryan…” Just another hint for him to propose (poor guy). Eventually we really did get engaged and married (good thing!) and my hair was long, just like I wanted!  (Oh yes, it’s been that long since I’ve blogged.  I’m now married!)

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Now that it’s been three years of growing it out and our wedding has come and gone, I was more than ready to cut it and donate it again.  Funny thing is, looking back at my post from 3 years ago, it was almost 3 years to the day that I donated it the first time.

I got it cut on one of our (many) trips back to Missouri.  I figured my hair stylist, who has done my hair forever and styled my hair for my wedding, would enjoy cutting it after practicing the waterfall braid a million times over on it.  ;)

Here’s before….

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And after…

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Ahhh… so much better!

This time, my ponytail was 12 inches.  I love my short hair!  Next spring, I’ll probably get it cut even a little shorter – but for now I want it to cover my neck for the winter.

Two Summers Ago

Recently I was looking through some older photos (while working on our wedding website – coming soon!)… and wondering what the heck happened?!  Two years ago I was a little skinny mini compared to now.  The difference is very noticeable.

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Oh that’s right… I didn’t eat a pound of almonds every week back then.  I’ve probably gained 10 lbs since then!  I now weigh 115, more than ever, and I haven’t grown any taller.  Yikes- I really shouldn’t gain ANY more.  I could lose a good few inches off my waist too.  I know some people laugh because they think I’m so tiny and petite, but really, only my hips are small.  When I went dress shopping, I don’t think they believed me when I said I wear a size 8 or 10 dress. It’s true!

I know I’m not overweight by any means, but I’d like to be fit and healthy!  Agh… not even my upcoming wedding is enough motivation for me.  I HATE working out.  Go figure.

Sole Hope Ambassador

I first heard of the organization Sole Hope through Ashley, who hosted two shoe cutting parties that I attended last year.  We all gathered with a bunch of our used jeans, and traced, cut, and pinned all night!  Then, those shoes would be sent to North Carolina, Uganda, and Zambia for sewing the soles on and making a complete shoe.  In the process, Sole Hope is providing jobs to the impoverished and unemployed by teaching them the trade of shoemaking.  Finally – those shoes would reach the feet of children in Africa – who need shoes to protect their feet so that they may live healthier lives.

Isn’t that an awesome process?!

It’s been about a year since I attended Ashley’s shoe cutting parties.  I have since moved to Indy and I couldn’t come back to Missouri for the last one.  However, I haven’t forgotten about Sole Hope.  Ashley is now their first ambassador, which basically means she is a dedicated volunteer who is helping them from Missouri.  She is also in charge of the parties now – which is really neat!

I noticed on Facebook that they were looking for an ambassador in the Indy area.  I thought hmm… specifically Indianapolis?  It felt like the post had my name written all over it.  I had recently been thinking about wanting to volunteer my time or skills after hearing the Steps of Justice speak at Church one night.

So – I emailed Sole Hope and explained that I live in Indy, but I know Ashley very well!  :)  I ended up meeting Dru, the executive director and the founder’s wife, while he was in Indy for a conference the other day. It’s funny because he said they used to live here – and now they live in Asheville, North Carolina- where Ryan and I are going on our honeymoon (and may live someday!)  Small world!

Now one of the first things I am going to do is work with Ashley to make a couple videos for Sole Hope.  One will be a “how-to” on hosting a shoe cutting party and another will be an interview with her son.  Then from there, I’ll be having a shoe party myself and who knows how else it will evolve.  Their ambassador program is new, and they are looking for other ambassadors to represent them across the states.  I’m excited to start volunteering!