Greetings from Charlotte, North Carolinaaaaaaaa!

My ride for the week in North Carolina

While spending the week in North Carolina, I’ve tried to make constructive use of the free time that I have. I could spend this whole post talking about how much cheaper the cost of living is down here, or how we could buy a house built in 2002 for the same price we paid for our house built in 1952, but that wouldn’t be very productive. I’ve never been too crazy about the touristy stuff or the big city travel. For the most part, cities are generally the same all over this country. Unless you live there of course. What I’m more interested in is the day-to-day life, where people live and how they get by. Maybe our blog is a look into that aspect of our lives. I’ve thus far avoided Uptown Charlotte and instead ventured outwards to check out the suburbia and the sprawl. It’s interesting down here. There’s lots of new construction, but unlike in most parts of New Jersey, it is very modest. I’ve seen lots of town homes, smaller new style ranches and what seem like strangely self-contained planned communities. (Check out Ayrsley if you’re interested.)

Homes in NC vs. NJ

I think my point to all of this is that you live where you live for certain reasons. Maybe you think it will further your career, or you have always wanted to try something different, or maybe you just want to be somewhere to feel at home. In the case of our house, we’re kind of heading back home for me in a way. I would have never planned it like that, but that’s the way it happened. I bet you I could ask anyone here in North Carolina why they live where they live and I have a feeling they’d give a similar answer. We chose this house because of the area and in hopes that it would make our commutes a little easier. Also, there aren’t many other parts of the country that would be ideal for our careers. Not only that, but there are amenities out the wazoo. So maybe we’re making sacrifices with our cost of living, but it’s all worth it to be where we want to need to be.

We negotiated the price of our house from the beach in Ocean City. (Yes)! I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way for the two of us to make a real estate deal. There was some back and forth and we were nervous, but ultimately, not backing down or leaving our comfort zone paid off. For me, being somewhere very relaxing in an ultimately tense situation gave me the confidence to stick to our guns. So here we are, set to close and I can’t wait to get back to New Jersey.

Closing Time

It’s official…we’re closing on August 12th! It’s a good thing too because we’ve already started making big plans. We just bought a new comforter and ordered a duvet cover. We figured we needed to choose the design and color of our bed linens before we could choose a paint color for the bedroom. The comforter is by The Seasons Collection and we got it at Bed Bath and Beyond {we used one of those great %20 off coupons and some gift money we received for my bridal shower}.

Down alternative comforter

The duvet cover and shams are DwellStudio for Target. We love these light and bright colors and the funky, modern design. We had to order this set online because we couldn’t find it in the store. However, the set was already reduced and we scored a coupon code for $5 off $50, so the total was only about $60 after shipping. That’s super cheap compared to the likes of fancy schmancy stores like West Elm, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and even Bed Bath and Beyond had much higher prices (and way less style, IMHO).

Target orbits duvet cover and shams

So I’m no math whiz, but when you add that up we’ve got 1 FREE comforter ($100 value) + 1 $60 duvet cover and 2 shams = just 60 bucks! I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start in the bedroom. But here’s our predicament; which room is the bedroom?! If you remember the listing photos from a previous post about our new house, you may recall there were two bedrooms of about equal size. We really don’t know which one is larger and we probably won’t until we move in! Let’s break it down…

Bedroom #1

Bedroom 1

Again, ignore the ridiculously outdated look and old family portrait. *Side note – there was a giant cross-bow in that closet!

Pros to Bedroom #1:

  • Possibly the larger of the 2 bedrooms??
  • There are 2, count ’em, 2 closets {which we have huge plans for that we’ll discuss in a future post}.
  • That little alcove creates some extra space
  • There are 2 windows in this bedroom

Cons to Bedroom #1:

  • Although it has 2 closets, they are much smaller than the 1 closet in Bedroom #2
  • Our queen size bed might not fit int hat alcove!

Bedroom #2

bedroom 2

And here…please ignore the super inappropriate, lovers statuette on the dresser!

Pros to Bedroom #2:

  • This room is at the back of the house, looking out on the beautiful backyard
  • This room is closer to the bathroom and off a small hallway (Bedroom #1 is off the living room)
  • The closet in this room is much larger than either of the 2 in Bedroom #1

Cons to Bedroom #2:

  • There is only 1 window!
  • I have a feeling it is smaller than Bedroom #1, but I can’t be sure yet!
  • The ceiling fan in this room is much older and will need to be replaced right away

After hashing this all out, it definitely seems like Bedroom #1 is the best candidate for being the master. But will our queen size bed fit in that little alcove? As soon as we sign our lives away, we plan on getting to work, and we’re going to need the dimensions of these rooms in order to buy paint. Needless to say, we are really itching to get back in the house (and kicking ourselves for not measuring the rooms while we were there during the home inspection!

The next thing on our agenda will be buying euro pillows and shams that will go with the duvet set. Then we’re going to get a Lowe’s credit card to take advantage of their discounts for being a card holder. Stay tuned for a future post about the first big purchase we plan to make! I’ll give you a hint; it will live in the kitchen! Until then, enjoy the fact that Semisonic’s Closing Time is now stuck in your head and enjoy this little slice of the 90s. {I think this song must be about closing on a house, no? I know who I want to take me home?? We’re super nervous about our HUGE purchase, but we’re feeling strangely fine}. See what I did there?

Enjoy.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGytDsqkQY8]

First wedding-related post!

Andrew is in Charlotte, North Carolina on a last minute trip for work, so he still has yet to make his debut as an author on the blog. But with Andrew away, that just means I have more time to crank out a good post (mainly because I’m bored and the silence around here is already killing me).

I am so sick of all this house stuff, so I’m going to switch gears now and make a post about the wedding! We’ve got big DIY dreams for our house, but that won’t be our first time dabbling in do-it-yourself projects. The entire wedding planning process has been filled with DIY goodness. First of all, we did all the research and booked everything ourselves – no wedding planner(s). Our venue is The Smithville Inn. It’s an awesome restaurant in a little historic village near Atlantic City.

Historic Smithville Inn

Smithville Village

This pretty much sums the place up…

Smithville Village

Here’s the actual Inn all done up for a wedding…

Smithville Inn Wedding

The wedding date is September 30, 2011. Save-the-dates were sent out in March and the invitations were just sent out at the end of June. We’re well on our way. We had our good friend Matt LaRoche take our engagement photos for the save-the-date, so that was FREE! To create and print the save-the-dates thru Walgreens it cost about $40.00. We found some great invitations at Michael’s that we could make and print ourselves. We also got place cards and table numbers to match. For all of that, we only paid about $100.00 because it was all on sale. If you do some research online, you’ll find out that ordering custom invitations can cost almost $2.00 per person (or more)! At about 115 guests, the invitations alone would have cost over $200.00. I’d say we did a pretty good job. Here’s the save-the-date and a little glimpse of the invitation:

Save the Date

Wedding Invitation

Now that all the invitations have been sent, we’re starting to organize our tables. Another little DIY trick for you…we cut some little circles out of paper and got some little sticky tags to write names on. We created a sticky tag for each guest and started placing them around the tables. Now we can drive ourselves crazy, arranging and re-arranging the tables just by moving the sticky tabs around. Here’s a picture so you know exactly what I’m talking about:

Wedding Tables

Our tables look a little lop-sided, but we’re still in the process of receiving responses from guests, so we’ll have a little more re-arranging to do before we lock this setup off.

I swore this was a total wedding post, but just to keep everyone in the loop with what’s going on with the house – we’re sick of lawyers. Our attorney’s paralegal caused some issues for us and basically got the sellers p.o.’ed. Our realtor stepped in, made everything nicey nicey, and now the sellers have completed even more work than requested on the house! We’re also looking at having an earlier closing date. We could be in the house as early as August 12th at this point! We already started picking paint colors. Sneak peek! …

Paint Colors