Happy Halloween!

My Halloween in a nutshell – Ryan is still in Cape Town surfing with sharks and penguins. My Mom, Nour, and I went out and celebrated on Saturday night!  Nour and I carved a pumpkin while she was here visiting. Tonight we dressed up my black cat Onyx like a pumpkin!  He didn’t like it so well. ;o)

Happy Halloween!

 

WooTrip!

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Ryan and I are an ocean apart for a week!  I miss him already, but I’m SO excited he gets this awesome opportunity. He’s currently in Cape Town, South Africa on a “work” trip.  I put work in quotations because it’s mostly play when the Woo ninjas get together.  ;)  (Last year they went to London).  They deserve it though because I know they all work really hard!  Ryan has had many, many long days lately.

I’m envious of his adventure, but I’m not sure how I would do with the 24 hours of flights! I will be experiencing his trip through his photos and stories. ;) I’ve already seen a few of his photos and the beauty of South Africa is unreal! Plus the villa on the ocean isn’t bad either. ;)

See what I mean?

Don’t party too hard, WooThemes. ;)

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. :)

The Happiest Place on Earth

Another “first” to mark off my list.

Go to Disney World ~ Check!

It’s just one of those things you have to experience in your life – “the Happiest Place on Earth.”  Even though I wasn’t really looking forward to going, once I was there for the first time ever it was like I was 10 years old instead of 23.  All of a sudden, I wanted to wear Minnie ears and skip around singing Zippity-Do-Dah.  In fact, Ryan and I did buy the bride & groom Mickey and Minnie ears.  I couldn’t resist!

I don’t like theme parks because I don’t like the sensation of rides spinning, dropping, speeding, or tossing me around.  However, even I was able to participate in a lot of the rides at Magic Kingdom.  Of course, I left Space Mountain to Ryan.  The Pirates ride was thrilling enough for me!  (I admit that I screamed at the teeny tiny drop.)

One of the best parts wasn’t even the rides, but the fireworks and electrical parade after dark.  As cheesy as it is, it was truly magical.  Oh and right before we left, we got to meet Mickey Mouse.  At that point, Ryan was Disney-ed out, but he had no choice but to go along with it anyway.  Poor guy.

My advice?  Wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and stay for the nighttime activities.  Oh and it was hot at the end of April, so I can’t imagine going in the summer.

Here’s a little video we made to document our day. To see more photos, go to our post at Two Are Better.