Our First Real Home

After nearly a 5 month search, we bought a loft/condo (i have no idea what to call it).  We didn't tell many people, but Greg and I started looking for a place to buy in Atlanta a month or 2 before Thanksgiving.  Yes, normally one would get engaged or married before purchasing a home together... but the timing was right and everything fell…

Holiday Gift Guide: Girl

Holiday Gift Guide - Girl | Vanilla & Velvet
  1. A massage or pedicure to help them unwind and relax.
  2. Bobbi Brown, Pretty Pink Ribbon Lip Gloss Collection - I received a similar gift several years back and I put one of the mini lip glosses in my bag, in the car, at the office etc. and used them for years.
  3. Another Feather, assorted stack of rings.  My favorites are the dart ring and curve ring, in gold.
  4. Scenario Home, Brandi Fox Fur Throw - Copper - an awesome throw to add texture to your sofa and to snuggle up in on cold nights
  5. Rifle Paper Co, Rosa Notebooks - adorable notebooks to start 2015 off with a bang.  Rifle Paper Co also has adorable calendars, stationary and more great gifts.
  6. Fitbit, Charge- Slate - the perfect gift for runners and walkers.

My 10 Tips Before Looking to Buy a Home

My 10 Tips Before Looking to Buy a Home | Vanilla & Velvet Greg and I have decided to invest in a home. We recently totaled up the money the two of us have spent on rent over the last few years and realized it was an investment we should make. I don't think we are quite ready for all the work that comes along with a house so for now we are in the market for a condo or town home. This is a completely new experience for us and we have already run into several set regulations and processes.  In case you are thinking about doing the same I wanted to share a few of tips we have picked up so far.
  1. Credit Score: This is the reason why you spend years keeping your credit score pristine.  It's never to soon to start working on improving your credit score.  I am fortunate enough to have an amazing father that made sure I was building good credit score by age 18 - thank you dad, you are amazing.
  2. Start Early: Get your ducks in a row early - Don't wait until your lease is up in 2 months.  You will feel rushed and stressed.  And it's not something you want to rush.  Our lease is not up till June so we have given ourselves 8 months.
  3. Lender First: Before you even begin looking at houses - meet with a lender or two.  Don't risk finding a place you love without your financials in order.  Write down a list of questions before you meet - and make sure it is someone you can trust.
  4. Wants List: Sit down and make a list of the "must haves" and "would be nice to haves" for your new place.  If you are purchasing with another person make sure they do the same and talk through your list in detail.  Communication is key.
  5. Identify Areas: Scope out areas and neighborhoods - see what kind of place you can afford in each neighborhood.  Does that make one more appealing than another?  What type of development is happening in the neighborhood in the next few years?
  6. Meet Relators: Similar to a lender, you want to trust this person.  Look online for ratings and review and ask for referrals from family and friends.  Find a relator that specializes in the area you are looking at and who is experienced.  And make sure you like them - you will be spending a lot of time with them.
  7. Scope Out: View a few homes and reevaluate your list of wants.  Has anything changed?  After Greg and I looked at a handful of places we realized that a few of the items on our list changed.  Has your price changed?
  8. Communication: Communicate with your relator - if you change your mind about anything make sure to tell your relator.  If you keep your opinions hidden they will not be able to narrow in on your dream home.
  9. Control Emotions: Don't get overly excited (I am guilty of this one).  If you are searching in a competitive market it is easy to let your emotions grab hold of you.  Don't let this happen or you are just setting yourself up for disappointment and a lot of unneeded stress.
  10. Have fun: Have a positive outlook and enjoy the process.  It's a big purchase!
Let me know in the comments section if you have any other useful tips!

Our Home: Kitchen

Not sure why I haven't shared photographs of our kitchen earlier - It's looked the same for about a year.  I wouldn't call it my dream kitchen, but its great for a rented space -- with a functional, open concept design and great working appliances. There are a few things I have learned from this kitchen that I will take with me when looking to buy/renovate:…

Our Home: Pantry

When we moved into our new space the one thing it was missing was kitchen storage - and for someone who stock piles food (me) a pantry is a must.  We did have an awkward nook between the laundry closet and kitchen so we decided it was the perfect place to install a few shelves for a homemade pantry.  It takes discipline…

Office Pegboard – DIY

I am still adjusting to being a remote employee, so its important that I have an inspiring and organized space to work from at home.  I grew up with pegboards in the garage so I know how great they can be for organizing tools and I quickly fell in love with the concept of dressing up the pegboard for inside and hanging office and…

Our Home: Bedroom

Still a lot to do in the bedroom, but I was so excited about our new art that I had to give you a peek. The bedroom has come together very slowly (ahem we moved here in June).  And it is not complete- notice we have no night stands, Greg is actually using a tv tray with a towel on…

Our Home: Updated Bar

My love for our bar has grown deeper with the additions we made over the last couple months. Two years ago I inherited several great items from family and friends to help kick start my first apartment.  I have now been trying to mix those great pieces with new items - toying with the  fine balance of modern vs vintage.  I really…