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My favorite things about Fall

I love Fall.

Do you call it Fall or Autumn? I never say Autumn but I like how it’s spelled. Either way, it’s one of my most favorite times of year.

The only bad thing about Fall is that it means Winter is just a little bit closer. But, except for the snow/ice hazards and the extremely bitter cold days, I have learned to appreciate that season more as well. But let’s not jump the gun. I’m here to talk about Fall because it’s what’s almost here!

I started this post about a month ago when we had a break in our seriously hot weather. But then it got hot again and didn’t feel like the right time to be talking about Fall just yet. Even though it was 94 yesterday, it seems that the cooler weather is just about here to stay and it is almost October so I did not want to delay any further!

I’ve also been thinking about Fall a lot because I work on a college campus and once the semester finally started, the students came rolling in and the restaurants and coffee shops went back to their normal hours (read: later than 2 p.m. and places that have been closed all Summer are finally open!) and there will be other exciting events going on here between now and the Christmas break.

Most days, the mornings have been on the cool side, cool enough as my friend Carrie said “to have a cup of hot tea in the mornings again!” She’s right about that. It’s also been darker in the mornings when I go out to walk Suzie and it’s been getting darker earlier at night. As much as I do love my daylight, it’s sort of cozy when it gets dark early and that makes me want to go to bed earlier, which is a good thing for me.

I have been feeling inspired 🙂 Change is good.

Fall means a lot of things to each one of us. But I think we can all agree that it’s generally a fun time of year. Now I just thought I would share a few of my favorite things about Fall with you 🙂

1. P-U-M-P-K-I-N!

Seriously, as soon as I see this stuff, I’m stocking up again! It’s been too long!

My pantry last Fall

I like to bake with it, put it in my oatmeal, make soup with it, pumpkin dip with ginger snaps, you name it. I’m also excited about pumpkin spice tea and pumpkin flavored coffee (not the syrup but the actual coffee flavor) and anything else coffee shops, cafes  or companies come up with to entice me into trying something. If it says pumpkin on it, I will probably at least give it a second look.

2. Art fairs, charity walks, outdoor events, etc.

Such as the St. James Court Art Show!

St. James is the event that really kicks off the Fall for me and it’s just a little over 2 weeks away. It also has the most unpredictable weather! I believe this picture is from two years ago, while last year we were in shorts! You just never know 😉 But I’m kind of hoping for a chilly morning this year, just not too cold!

The Louisville Walk for Farm Animals

I am one of the co-coordinators of this year’s Walk for Farm Animals (Farm Sanctuary)  on October 22nd and I am really excited about all that we have planned! Last year, we had a decent turnout and raised a good amount of money through our walk and a bake sale that we had beforehand. I’m looking forward to topping all of that this year! If you would like to sign up to walk or donate to my walk page, click here (thanks!)

Mighty Kindness Harvest Hootenanny

The Hootenannies take place in the Fall and in the Spring (on Earth Day) and it’s another time of rather unpredictable weather. Last year’s Fall Hoot was absolutely freezing and then the Earth Day hoot this year kept a lot of people at home because of rain/storms. Hopefully this time we will have a better day. I will be working at the Louisville Vegetarian Club booth this year and I hope my friend Kristin (pictured above in the hat and sunglasses) is there selling her goods again too 🙂

Fall Road Races!

While I haven’t decided to run any races this Fall (yet), I am going to be supporting my friends Farrah (pictured above on right) and Chloe in the Louisville Marathon on October 16th! I know it sounds corny but it’s long been a dream of mine to be on the sidelines cheering for someone else 🙂 This will be the first marathon for both of them and I can’t wait to see them cross that finish line!

3. Haunted Houses and horrors!

Courtesy of Nightmare Forest Louisville

I don’t scare easily but I do tend to jump at loud noises! My husband and I love the Halloween season. Soon we’ll be busting out our collection of horror movies and lining up on a Friday night to go through some scary forest, hotel or whatever attraction we choose to visit this year. We are also big fans of the Danger Run, even though we usually end up arguing and get lost at some point. All in good fun!

4. Football (sigh…)

I'm bummed he's not playing 😦

Never in my life did I think I would include this on a list of my favorite things about Fall. But the truth is, I do enjoy watching some football. It gets overwhelming when there are several games on in a week or when my husband is in the basement yelling at a particular team and I can hear him two floors up.

He’s not the only one who does this, but I just don’t like it when people get so mad about a game that they say terrible things to a team they claim to be a fan of and they just plain ruin my good time! But most of the time, it’s enjoyable to root for your favorite teams while spending time with family and friends over some chips and salsa.

We used to host Monday Night Football at our house every year but since we just moved and aren’t quite unpacked and my husband’s work schedule is a bit unforgiving (he wakes up at 4 a.m.!) we have decided not to do it this year. I kind of miss it already but hopefully we can get some people together for a game sometime this season!

I’m sure there will be some other adventures that I’m not even aware of yet but I will leave it at that for now. We are still settling into our new house and hopefully someday I will finally sit down and do a before and after post on some of the rooms we have redone and how the place looks now that we actually live here 🙂

What are you looking forward to this Fall? Anything not on this list that I should check out?

The house that almost wasn’t

Hi friends! Sorry I have been away from the blog for a while, it’s been crazy on my end. We are moving into our new place this Saturday and it’s all so overwhelming. But we’ve had some amazing help from family and friends and I pretty much just apologize to my husband at the end of every day because I know I must be driving him crazy.

Anyway, we are very happy now with our new home and how it is coming along now, but it was a long, not so pleasant road to get here.

Just a few months ago, we weren’t even looking for a house. We thought we would stay in our apartment for a couple more years, save up some more money and then start looking. But one fateful night, my husband was checking a realty company website and a condo in my parents’ neighborhood popped up. It was exactly what we wanted: a 2 bedroom townhouse with a basement and in the same neighborhood as my parents? Yes, please! The price was also good so we immediately scheduled an appointment to see the place. We also looked at another place in the same neighborhood but it was smaller, more expensive and had no basement (my husband wants his “man cave” and we would like to have one since we have tornadoes here sometimes).

We went to see the place and it had a couple of small water leaks but other than that the place was in great shape and the owner had done a lot to fix it up and make it look really nice. From the surface, I fell in love with the place. It was cute, had great space and in a perfect location. This was our first time in the whole home buying process so we didn’t know what we were getting into. We made a low ball offer to the seller to get things started and he was so irate with us that he countered above his original asking price and had some words for us with his agent who passed along the message. I was pretty hurt (I’m too sensitive) and got mad at Josh because this wasn’t even on my radar before. And now I was crushed.

But after some tears and deep breathing, we did some more calculating and decided to go back and check the place out again just to see if we really wanted to walk away or try to work with the seller. Turns out he was a house flipper trying to make a big profit. When we got there, the 2 small leaks had become huge and we noticed a lot of other things that looked good on the surface but as my dad said: “He sure did shine this place up really nice.” We had removed our beer goggles so to speak. This place would be problematic for us, the romance was gone.

In a bizarre twist of fate, another condo on the same street was about to go up for sale but hadn’t yet been listed. Our agent asked us if we wanted to take a look at it and I reluctantly agreed. At that point, I felt defeated and just wanted to go back to reality in our apartment and revisit this discussion at a later date. It was almost the same condo, only much more lived in. It belonged to an older lady who had lived there for almost 25 years before moving to a home. It needed a lot of updates and work. At first, that felt like a major drawback but then I realized it was our opportunity to make it our own. So we went for it.

Working with this seller was so much more pleasant. Instead of a house flipper, this person was trying to help relieve a family member’s financial burden and so he was very motivated to make a deal. After some bargaining, we agreed on a great deal we were all happy with and we were one step closer to owning our first home. Our loan was approved, inspection appointments were made and everything was falling into place. I finally quit worrying and starting embracing that this was going to happen this time.

The home needed some repairs per the inspector but everything else passed and then the appraisal was completed. Have I told you how much paperwork we had to sign in all of this? Sheesh! We were scheduled to close the week before Memorial Day!

Then came yet another fateful day, Tuesday, May 17th, a week before we were supposed to be closing. Josh was off that day so I decided to take a day of vacation so we could spend some time together. It was a fun day! We decided to go to Home Depot and price some things for the house and get some ideas of things we wanted to replace and look at paint colors. After this, we went to the movie theater to see Thor. As we were waiting outside the theater for them to clean, Josh’s phone rang. It was our mortgage broker. It was bad news.

I still don’t know what went wrong and for a long time I wanted to blame someone, but somehow EVERYBODY missed the fact that this particular “phase” of this condo association does not accept FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans. So basically, we never should have gotten as far as we had. Our stuff made it all the way to the underwriter before this little oversight was caught. What choices did we have now? None, unless we could suddenly come up with 20% to put down for a conventional loan without any of it being gifted to us.

Being on the other side of that phone conversation was awful. Watching Josh’s facial expressions alone made me realize what was happening. He didn’t even have to tell me. We left the theater, got a refund for our tickets and made the long drive back home (10 minutes felt like an hour). It was over, again. The first place didn’t work out and then we found something else and now it was pulled from beneath us too. I never really got mad or felt like God or the universe was against me, I just felt so severely disappointed and frustrated, especially with people. This never should have happened. And again, this wasn’t on my radar a month prior, why were we doing this to ourselves again?

A few days went by and I was pretty depressed. I really wanted this place and there was literally nothing we could do. We looked at a few other houses online but nothing we felt good about and so we decided to just keep looking but go ahead and have our landlady write up a new lease for our apartment. I prayed a lot, did a lot of yoga and had some amazing friends lifting me up and things got better. I was ready to move on and put this behind me.

…To be continued…

I love Mondays

Yes, you read that right, it is not a typo or even sarcasm. I really do appreciate Mondays more than the average person.

Courtesy of Google Images

It’s kind of funny to read Facebook posts on Monday mornings. People recovering from a busy weekend and heading back to work are groaning and complaining that Mondays are the worst days ever. While I was pretty busy myself this weekend and had to get up for work this morning too, I still find myself inspired and excited about Mondays.

For one thing, Monday is the day I feel most motivated to work out. I tend to indulge a bit on the weekends, not just with food but with relaxation and naps. So on Monday it’s time to get back to the grind, either outside or in the gym (90 degrees outside today = gym for me). Starting a new week off with a workout means I am likely to keep it up the rest of the week and feel really good about myself too. Today, I plan to hit the stair master for a bit and then perhaps do some weights or an ab workout.

I also tend to eat the healthiest on Monday. After a weekend indulgence, my body craves fresh, whole foods and lots of water, which is exactly what I give it. I also like to spend more time cooking dinner on Mondays because I don’t have anywhere to be that evening, unlike Tuesday – Thursday evenings and most of the weekend. Tonight, I will probably make a standard Monday night dish for me of whole grain pasta with organic garden sauce, add some veggies, chik’n strips, nutritional yeast and have a salad on the side too. Sort of like this one:

I also like Mondays because it’s one of the only evenings during the week that my husband and I spend the whole time together. We usually have dinner and then watch a movie or catch up on some tv shows we’ve recorded on the DVR, then flip over to WWE Monday Night Raw and watch as much of that as we can stand before having to call it a night because we’re old and have to go to bed early, ha ha.

What about you? Monday fan or not?