Friday, March 31, 2017

Happy 1 year of being homeowners...The story of how we bought our home.

Last year, exactly 1 year ago we did the single most adult thing you can do, we bought a house! Living here in Southern California we never thought we'd be able to achieve this due to how crazy expensive it is to actually purchase a home here. But even knowing that we so badly wanted to set down our roots here, create a home base for us with all the chaos and last minute changes that always happen in my husband's job. He wanted me to have a safe place to land, a place all ours. We had been renting an apartment and I have to say it was hard leaving that space. 



  

I loved where we were renting, I loved the whole vibe of our apartment and the fact that it did feel like home to me made it hard to leave it. I knew with buying a home that there was so much responsibility that comes along with it and that scared me. If something went wrong we couldn't just call the manager and have them come fix it, nope, this was all ours, we owned it. And as so many people will tell you that buying a home is not only the single biggest purchase you'll ever make in your life, but it will also be the most stressful one too. Because we had never been homeowners before we thought they were just saying that to scare us into staying renters at our apartment, because buying a home is a huge responsibility, so we shrugged them off. 

In the end they were completely right! The stress we dealt with in trying to buy a house was ridiculous. And mind you I was the one doing all the work, going to all the open houses, and working with our realtor because my husband was usually out of town for work during all this. So it was up to me to find the house of our dreams, easy right?! No pressure, right?! 

So many homes we had loved and put offers on fell through and I felt very discouraged. After a year of looking, putting in offer after offer, I had all but given up hope when our realtor called with a house she wanted us to see. She told us that it was not yet listed but that it would be going on the market that afternoon and she wanted us to be the first to see it. She had an in with the sellers realtor so she pulled some strings for us. After all the disappointments we figured what would it hurt going to see this last house because we didn't have much hope that it would be the house for us. 
As we pulled up the first thing I noticed was the beautiful front yard, green grass. Now for all of you that don't know this, I grew up in the midwest and I'm used to having a huge green yard. I never thought we'd ever get that out here, people don't have grass. But that was on my dream list. Now, you'll hear me say "Dream List" throughout this post because I had made a list of things I would love to have in a house but didn't necessarily need. And a yard with grass was on it. It may seem silly to some of you to want grass, but like I said people don't really have grass out here because of the drought. So when we pulled up and saw the front yard was real grass, my heart skipped. 

The house was everything I'd wanted and more. Perfection. 

The house was old, late 1950's but had been flipped so it was updated and beautiful. It was a clean color pallet of greys and white, for this neutral loving girl it was heavenly. There was also a nice surprise of an addition on the back of the house so that mean't we'd have both a family rom and a living room, that was also on my dream list (because I grew up with both) The family room (the addition) had so much natural light from the skylights in both family room and kitchen. The natural light that filled the house was what Andrew noticed first and was one big factor in him falling in love with the house. 

The Living Room/ Entry Way.  
These are all the BEFORE photos. 
(all these images are from the realtor website) 






I am a lover of all things Mid-Century. It's due to the fact my grandparents house was full of danish mid-century furniture that was so beautiful to look at. The 60's is my all time favorite time period for everything from interior decor, to design, architecture, and music. So the thought of owning a mid-century home was always what I had wanted to have. 

This house was perfect in every way, the perfect clean pallet for me to design the space I knew I wanted and had dreamed of. So we put an offer on it. And 1 year later we are still in love with her, and everything that I had written down for my "Dream List" I got in this house. I have both a family room and a living room, a fireplace AND a wood burning stove, the large open kitchen perfect for entertaining and cooking, the subway tiles in both bathrooms, huge closet in Master Bedroom, the backyard we can design how we want it, and the front yard with the green grass. It's all ours and it's completely perfect down to every little detail. It's funny how God works, we had all but given up hope in finding our dream house but than the most perfect house got dropped in our lap. It's all about timing, and this house was perfect timing. 

The Family Room. 



The Kitchen. 




The Dining Space. 



Master Bedroom. 





Master Bathroom. 





The Backyard. 







My first project, painting the brick.
#DovesRenovate 

 




Our family room after we moved in. 




Setting up the gallery wall in the dining room. 
With the help of my parents and my Grammy. 


Marley immediately felt at home here. This is her favorite spot to sun. 







**I will be doing more updates on our house very soon as much has changed with the decorating. I'll be starting a series on this blog called #DovesRenovate so be sure to keep an eye out for that here and on my instagram. My IG handle is @LITTLEDOVE 









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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Super Bloom.

I've been hearing all about the Super Bloom and how this year was supposed to be one of the most epic blooms we've seen in over 10 years here in Southern California. So after seeing so many incredible posts on social media I knew I didn't want to miss this.


So last week Andrew and I decided to wake up at 3:30 in the morning, drive 2 hours through the mountains and down into the desert to be able to catch the Super Bloom at sunrise. It did not disappoint. Although the drive to the Anza-Borrego Desert was terrifying with driving in the pitch blackness, in the mountains, on one of the windiest roads. We stopped at one of the most remote Starbucks I've ever been to on the drive out. We needed caffeine if we were going to drive those crazy roads. So with finally being caffeinated we continued our drive to the desert.

We were still high up in the mountains and you could already smell the incredible scent of blooms in the air. The air was thick with the perfume of the Super Bloom and as we made our way down into the desert we saw the first blooms. Gold was the color that covered the sides of the mountains and down onto the desert floor. It was sight that's hard to describe because of how stunning it was, it was a flurry of sensory overload. The conditions weren't completely ideal while being out there that early in the morning. The wind was so strong that it was difficult to get shots of the blooms because nature never cooperates when you want it to (haha) The blooms bent and swayed in the breeze so i had to sit next to the flowers and wait for the moment when the wind would die down for just a second to try and get the shot. In the end even though it was frustrating, the experience of being out there with Andrew as the sun was rising, the smell of flowers in the air and the mountains as our backdrop, you you couldn't ask for a more perfect scene.

At the beginning of the year I wrote down my goals for 2017 and one of them being to go on more adventures and explore more of the areas around us. I couldn't pass up the chance to see the Super Bloom and how fun the trip to get out there would be with Andrew. He's my favorite person to adventure with. Here are some of the incredible shots we got while exploring the Super Bloom fields.















iPhone shots 
















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Friday, February 19, 2016

How to stay motivated.



I have to admit, staying motivated for me is super hard. Hi, I'm Samantha and I have a problem staying motivated and staying on task. Let's all say it together, Hi Samantha.

Let's break this down a bit shall we.

In the beginning of a project I'm super motivated, I get the ideas flowing and I'm excited. I have the type of personality that when I get an idea, I need to do it immediately. I usually don't sit there and think about it for long periods of time. Which is why it's bad when i want to get another tattoo, I think of the idea and I book the appointment. Boom, done. I don't suggest doing this by the way, it can lead to regrets in the end. Case in point, my first tattoo. But that's a completely different story for another day.

See! I can't even stay on topic. Wow, I need help.

Back to the topic at hand.

For me, I need to be doing something or I get board. I get board very easily. Which is why it's sometimes hard for me to keep up with my YouTube channel or this blog for example. I get super excited in the beginning and then nothing, blank. Does that happen to anyone else or am I alone in this?! Raise your hand if you ride the struggle bus with this!

For me to stay motivated I need to write things down. For some reason seeing it written down is what focuses me to stay on task. Which is why I never use the reminders app on my phone. So many people have these really cool apps that help them stay on task for the day and they make lists and so on. But for me, there's something completely satisfying about writing it down in my planner. I see it, I do it, I check it off at the end of the day and really feel like I've accomplished something.

I also find that keeping things on the calendar for future posts or videos or whatever task you need to do helps to keep you motivated. At the beginning of each month I spend time filling out my calendar for the whole month. I ink it in there so when it comes to the day I know what to expect. Another example for this is working out. I can't tell you how much I dislike to workout. I always feel like there's something else I could be doing, like the laundry or being outside. But if I take the time at the start of the month and get it on the calendar, I'm more likely to actually do it.

I recently took the plunge and ordered the Get To Work Book. If you have not heard of this, where have you been?! It was created by a fellow blogger who also lives here in Sunny SoCal. It's a game changer when it comes to keeping your life organized. I LOVE to organize and make sure everything is all together. It motivates me :) See what I did there? This book makes it so much fun to plan out your days and months. I won't go into too much detail because Elise has many videos on this book on her blog. Check it out here: gettoworkbook.com
But basically, you need this planner in your life immediately. In fact I won't get my feelings hurt if you click over there right now and order one of yourself. I highly encourage you to do so.

It's so easy to get caught up in everyday life and things we all need to accomplish, but just take it one bite at a time. Like my husband always says to me when i'm feeling really overwhelmed, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. " It's like that in all things, take on each task at a time and at the end of the day you get the satisfaction of checking that off your list.

So what motivates you? How do you stay on task? For me, it's all about writing it down. Set goals for yourself, both long term and short term. And lastly, just start! Get your butt in gear and start checking things off your lists. Hope this helps all my fellow procrastinators out there. You're not alone :) XO

XO
Sam.
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Friday, December 18, 2015

Let's talk about eye creams.....


I decided to dedicate an entire post on eye creams because I feel like it's the one product that doesn't seem to get much hype. And why is that?! We know that using an eye cream can do amazing things for our under eyes. So why is it that it's the one product people feel so indecisive over? They either use it but aren't married to the product or can't find one that blows them away so they switch all the time, or there's the group of people that don't use one at all, they feel it's not really necessary in their skincare routine.  I'm going to try and convince you otherwise. Wish me luck.

Let's talk about why they are such an important step in your skincare routine.

1. Your under eye area is usually where the first signs of aging begin to appear on our faces. Dare i say crows feet, fine lines and sagging?! These are the swear words of the skincare world.

Showing signs of aging is one of a woman's biggest fear. I feel like even at a young age we watch either our mom's or our grandma's putting on the face cream in the morning or at night. It's engrained in us to start using anti-aging products early on. Have you ever heard "It's never too soon to start using the Anti-Aging creams" It's a scary thought, but it's true. Woman in their 20's are now beginning to use anti-aging products. It just goes to show that we don't want to grow old, or at least show it on our faces.

2. The skin under your eyes is THE most delicate skin on your face. It is very thin which is another reason it's the first place woman show signs of aging. So if you're not taking care of it and keeping it hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using a product that's nice and moisturizing, it will show signs faster.

3. Which brings me to the most important point.
DRINK YOUR WATER!!! I cannot begin to tell you how important being hydrated is in your skins condition. It can make such a difference if your body is properly hydrated.

FACT: Not all eye creams are created equally.

Going into Sephora or Ulta can be super intimidating when hunting for new skincare in general, but trying to find your perfect eye cream is worse. Do you get one that's for firming, de-puffing, brightening, moisturizing, hydrating, replenishing, smoothing, cooling, etc. OR do you need one of night time, day time, or both? Do you want a gel formula or a cream? The possibilities feel endless when trying to pick out the one for you and your needs.
I'll admit that I hate shopping for a new eye cream for all of those reasons. It's confusing.
I usually research and read loads of reviews before I commit to making the purchase. But I will say this, I truly feel very passionate about good skincare and good ingredients that go into them. If you have good skin then makeup becomes less important. Instead of covering up you'll want to highlight to bring out the beauty. You only have one face, you cannot replace it so that's why it's so important to take care of it and invest in some awesome skincare products. They are worth the money!

Here are a couple new products I've added into my routine.




The first one we have is by a brand called Farmacy. I stumbled on this brand while browsing the Sephora website and I'll admit that I was drawn to the packaging. I am such a sucker for amazing branding. And Farmacy does not disappoint. 



Not only is the packing creative and beautiful, but the product inside is equally as beautiful. 
Here's what Sephora says about this eye cream.

"Eye Dew aids in reducing the appearance of dark circles and brightens the under-eye area. It also moisturizes and helps firm to restore the appearance of elasticity to the skin around the eyes.  The formula contains Echinacea GreenEnvy™, a unique, patent-protected variant of echinacea purpurea that contains the highest known concentration of cichoric acid, which helps protect the skin by supporting natural collagen. Naturally high in vitamins A, D, E and F, baobab fruit oil supports cell membranes and provides antioxidant properties to help fight signs of aging. Ribose supports natural cellular respiration, increasing the appearance of skin elasticity, smoothed wrinkles, and enhanced complexion. Strelitzia nicolai seed aril extract helps illuminate the complexion while also minimizing dark circles and puffiness under the eyes. Rose hip extract combats signs of aging with antioxidants and vitamins, and chamomile and calendula extracts reduce redness and soothe the skin. The result is soothed, smoother-looking skin and more even pigmentation around the eye area for a more rested and youthful appearance. 
Good stuff, right?!

The next one is a night cream and is by one of my favorite skincare brands, Ole Henriksen. I already use their Sheer Transformation moisturizer and LOVE it. So i knew this would be a good go-to. 



This is their Ultimate Lift Eye Gel, the night version. And it's a really unique product because it's a night cream that's a gel formula. Most night time eye creams are a thicker lotion formula. Also, this product smells so amazing. It's very fresh smelling. 

Again, here's what Sephora has to say on this product:

"This new and improved formulation features 30 percent more peptides, 600 percent more botanicals, and an enhanced silky texture. Wake up to younger-looking, refreshed eyes. The cooling eye gel instantly soothes and de-puffs the undereye area with cucumber and algae extracts while Ole Henriksen’s ultimate firming complex—a proprietary blend of bio-peptides and hyaluronic acid—helps to lift, firm, and diminish the appearance of crow’s feet and wrinkles. The unique formula works around the entire eye area, from the undereye to the eye lid and upper browbone for unparalleled results. "

Skincare doesn't have to be a scary thing just pick products that will work for your specific skin type. Or if you're really stumped just ask on of the girls in Sephora, they're there to help you and make your shopping experience less stressful. 
If you're younger than look for products that are lightweight and hydrating, something that you can wear during the day that will look great under make up or can be worn alone. If you're older then look for one that's thicker in consistency, that uses words like anti-aging, lifting, firming and moisturizing. 

So hopefully I've helped in making the eye cream experience a little less intimidating and maybe even given you a couple ideas of products to try out. If you have any favorites i'd love to hear about them, so feel free to comment or tweet me :) 

Until Next time loves......

XO 
Sam. 

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

29. A birthday post.


Today i am 29. 

The last year before I turn 30 and start a new decade. 
So, with that in mind I decided to do something a little unconventional. 
I wanted to write a letter to myself. What 29 year old Samantha would tell the past 28 year old version. Sounds weird I know, but i find there's healing in writing it down. So without further ado, my Birthday Letter to my 28 year old self. 



Dearest Samantha,

I realize this past year has been a tough one, but you've come out on the other side victorious. I know that you've dealt with many heartaches and confusion and that finding out endometriosis could be a possible battle you'd be faced with was the hardest blow of all. But take courage dear heart, you are stronger than you realize. You can fight this and overcome and you will be a mother in the end. People always say that things may not come to you how you think they will and I think that maybe in this case that might be true. But don't be afraid, the blessing is coming. It's on it's way. 

I'm so proud of you that you branched out of your shell and formed new and wonderful friendships with some amazing girls. It was scary for you, I know. You tend wear your heart on your sleeve and expect people to treat it with love and understanding. Who would have thought that'd you'd finally find some genuine souls that you could connect with and call your friends. That are genuine and true. I am so happy for this, they came into your life when you needed them most. Funny how that happens isn't it. 

You've experienced so much healing this year, mostly in your heart. I know that was hard to let go of, you've been carrying it for so long. But it was never your fault to begin with, it was never your burden to carry. But you being you, took it on yourself and kept it close because it had become a familiar friend. But the healing is truly in the release and the true forgiveness is what follows. I feel like now you can take a huge step forward into all that God has for you. 29 is going to be your best year yet. 

Don't lose sight of your dreams, Samantha. Don't get discouraged when things appear to not be going your way. You will look back on this past year and remember that God is always faithful. You are an overcomer! You are strong and confident. Don't be intimidated by others. Keep dreaming, keep running after what you want. You are enough. You are brave. 
I can't wait to see what this new year brings for you. 

Happy Birthday!!! 



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Monday, December 7, 2015

A letter to my husband on our anniversary.



Today is our 8 year Wedding Anniversary and I decided to do a little something special. I always feel like getting a thoughtful letter is better than receiving an expensive gift. That's probably because one of my top love languages is Words of Affirmation. *Side note: For all you marrieds out there that haven't read The 5 Love Languages, read it! It will change your marriage for the better. Enough with the bunny trails and now let's get to the letter.

*This post is dedicated to my wonderful husband*


To my forever man crush.

I wanted to get you something special this year, but since it's another anniversary we have to spend apart I thought I'd express my love in a different form and write you a letter.

8 years has flown by so fast. Looking back, we were babies when we stood at the alter and had no idea what was to come in the years following. We were young and in a deep love and thought we could take on the entire world.

Who knew that we'd be spending half our marriage away from each other. It was hard for me sending you off to Boot Camp. I was scared that I wouldn't know how to function alone. I was scared to be without you. Who knew that I would embrace that time and grow and blossom into a strong and confident woman. And then the biggest challenge came when I packed up our home to move across the country away from everything I've known and everyone in my life to make a new home in a new state. Again I was so scared but I knew that as long as you were by my side I could take on any challenge and overcome it.
You push me and challenge me to be a better person, you believe in me and encourage me when at times I feel like I can't do it. You have made me a better person.

I know there are times when I get on your nerves and my sassy self comes out, and there are times when you annoy the crap out of me lol But then you say something funny and make me laugh and we both snap out of it. I love that we can be so silly and ridiculous together.

I feel the most alive when we are together. You make me come out of my shell and try new things and overcome fears that I wouldn't have dreamed I'd ever do. You took this midwestern girl, who hated the outdoors, who is scared of heights and bugs and made me confident enough through encouragement and believing I can do anything, and helped to bring out my true self. Going on adventures with you is one of my favorite things. Who knew I'd love hiking, rock climbing and being in nature. (my mom sure didn't lol)

You knew I could do it.

You encouraged me along the way even when I'd get scared and didn't think I'd be able to climb that mountain, or move across the country, or overcome the fears and the pains of infertility. You have always been there by my side. You truly are my other half and i am made better because you are in my life. I can't thank you enough for believing in me and always knowing I could do anything. Thank you for being my strength when I felt I couldn't stand on my own, for being the voice of reason in times of chaos and for being my comfort when times have been so hard. You are the greatest love I've ever known, this is true. I am beyond honored to be your wife and to get to be a witness to your life. You are the man I dreamed of and the man I prayed for. There is no love like ours and there never will be. I love you now and forever.

XO
















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