September 25, 2018

Dining Room Plans

We're still in the thick of painting and nowhere near actually getting furniture in here, buuuuuut I wanted to put together a little round up of what I'm hoping to do in the dining room! (Patience never was my strength.)

As a refresher, here is the "Before" shot of our dining room. (This is the photo from the real estate listing.)

And below is a roundup of my plans for this lovely room. The chandelier is definitely staying (link to a similar chandelier), and I've purchased the following:

A few notes on my design choices:
  • Paint: I wanted the dining room to be my "statement" room on the main level. Most of the house will be painted a light grey, but "Tornado season" will pack a punch in our dining room. We get a lot of great natural light in this room from those lovely windows, so hopefully it won't feel too dark. We've painted the trims white using this Behr enamel
  • Dining table: I wanted a dining table that was simple but attractive. And something not so trendy that it'll be outdated by next winter. AND I wanted to have a table that was expandable and could seat 10-12 when fully expanded. I'm thinking ahead here for holidays, family dinners, etc. (A few more thoughts on the table below.) I ordered the table over Labor Day weekend, but we won't get it until mid-October.
  • Dining chairs: To be honest, my ideal chairs would've been upholstered, but we plan to have kids someday and want to make sure our home design choices are family-friendly from the get-go. So we went with eight of these cafe walnut chairs along the sides and the two grey upholstered chairs for the ends of the table. Since we won't have the table for a few more weeks, it'll be a little while before I know if this will all work together, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
  • Rug: I chose an indoor/outdoor rug for the same reason I chose non-upholstered chairs: practicality for use with future babies. Outdoor rugs are (theoretically) much easier to clean. I also like the color and pattern the rug brings in to the room without being TOO busy.

*A note about the table:

After I ordered the table, I felt like I was seeing it everywhere, and I worried I had chosen a table that was already TOO trendy! Exhibits A and B:

From actors Bitsie Tulloch and David Giuntoli's home tour on Apartment Therapy
From LaTonya Yvette's home tour on Cup of Jo
But then I decided that perhaps this was evidence in support of my table choice! I love how both families have made the table their own and have created completely different looks/feels, just by having different dining chairs. So in ten years, when I'm craving a dining room refresh, I can switch out the chairs, and it'll be a whole new dining room!

Just for fun, here is how Emily Henderson used the same rug I chose for our dining room in a living room makeover:

Image is from this living room makeover
Now, we just need to:

  • Paint (ha.)
  • Find window treatments (I'm leaning towards sheer white curtains to preserve the natural light, but I'm open to other suggestions!)
  • Figure out a china hutch situation (I'd love to have a built-in buffet/hutch someday (something like this or this), but in the meantime, I might make over a hutch we already own.)
  • Decide what else will go on the walls.
  • Count down the days until West Elm calls to tell me my dining table has arrived.
  • The chandelier is attached to the ceiling within its own little recessed space (I don't have a good photo to show this right now.). If we're feeling ambitious, we've considered using this tutorial to do a little ceiling stenciling in that space. Maybe something art deco-inspired, like this?

If you happen to have any brilliant suggestions or tips, I definitely welcome them in the comments! 

September 19, 2018

Billy Idol Birthday Concert

Stephen's birthday isn't until the end of the month, but we started celebrating early at the Billy Idol concert on Monday at the Red Butte Garden amphitheater. It was our first time seeing a concert at this awesome venue (we've only been here for outdoor movies before), and we hope it won't be our last!

We made a mandatory pit stop at Thirst Drinks at the Heritage Center (the dining hall in the U of U residence halls, just below Red Butte) right before the concert, because A- Stephen loves Mountain Dew, B- He also loves winning prizes, and he won a gift card from Thirst in an Instagram contest.

We learned that for Red Butte concerts, people line up starting at 10am! We arrived about an hour before the door opened, and rather than waiting in line, we got ourselves a soda treat. :) We were still able to get pretty decent seats, since it was just two of us squeezing in. Lesson learned: don't arrive insanely early, unless you have a large group to find seats for. Instead, get a treat, and arrive right at 6pm when the doors open. Then, act fast to snag some lawn space! (Our tickets were general admission, so it was every man for himself on the lawn.)

It's been an unusually warm summer, but it got cool enough on this night that we needed some light jackets. It was wonderful! Fall is my favorite season, and I am excited for temperatures to cool down.

Of note: three songs in, Billy had taken his shirt off. He later threw it out into the crowd. There were several costume changes. It was all very interesting. Also, there were a lot of F words. I kept trying to make a video while he was talking but kept having to start over because I didn't want F words in my video. In the end, I got this photo and some video for Instagram stories (on my Highlights, under Concerts, after all my Taylor Swift posts!):

Can't wait to keep the birthday celebrations going this month! 

September 04, 2018

We have a house!

It finally happened: we bought our first home! (Well, technically, second for Stephen. ;) He bought our duplex before we got married, but this is MY first time buying.) We are so thrilled to have bought this home and are excited to get to work on it.

We actually closed two weeks ago and have already put a fair amount of work into it. (Let's just say we grossly underestimated how much prep work we'd have to do before we can even PAINT.) It's hard work, but we feel so grateful and so blessed to get to work to turn this house into our family's home. It's definitely much bigger than we need for just the two of us right now, but in buying this house, we've shared a part of ourselves with the world. At least it feels that way, since we bought this house with the dream of filling it with family, with friends, and of course, our own children someday. I hope for our home to be a gathering place, and for all who come in to feel welcome and loved.

I'll be sharing more updates about our home renovation process (and soliciting opinions on paint colors and home decor choices!) here on this blog and on my Instagram. And if you want a behind-the-scenes look at the "Before" of our home, check out the highlight on my Instagram Stories! (And if you're one of our friends in the SLC area and really love painting and renovating, come on over!)

August 31, 2018

Wedding Website Info (Getting to know The Chatwinners!)

Stephen and I made a wedding website before our wedding last year. It's still live on The Knot, but I don't know how long it'll live online. I wanted to preserve some of that info, juuuust in case it ever disappears, and I figured it would be a fun way for my RWL peeps to get to know The Chatwinners a little better. :)

Our Story
Once upon a time, in the year 1984, two little babies were born. Stephen came first, and Yándary followed 60 days later. 31 years later, it would take an iPhone, a Kindle, and a dating app called Bumble to bring them together.
As Stephen and Yándary got to know each other, they realized they had a lot in common and had actually had similar life experiences! Both of them majored in Political Science at the University of Utah. Both of them joined LDS sororities/fraternities in the fall of 2003. Both of them had spent time living in Yándary's favorite city, Washington, DC. It's a wonder their paths hadn't crossed sooner than the spring of 2016! In addition to their shared life experiences, Yándary and Stephen also share a love of thrift store shopping, cheeseburgers (even though Yándary is now lactose intolerant… sniff), all things Harry Potter, scoring good deals, winning online giveaways, and, of course, each other.

About Us

Stephen was born and raised in Salt Lake City. He served an LDS mission to Lansing, Michigan and then earned a B.A. in Political Science, a B.S. in International studies, and a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Utah. (He's an over-achiever.) While he was an undergraduate at the U, Stephen was a collegiate squash player and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He currently works doing data management for the Neurosciences Department at Intermountain Hospital in Murray (aka he is really smart and is good with numbers and Excel). In his spare time, he enjoys sunning himself, playing squash (he actually played in a squash tournament the night he proposed to Yándary!), rock climbing, thrifting, and trying to teach Yándary how to sit still. His favorite snacks include Cheetos, Mountain Dew, and frozen pizza. ;)

Yándary was born in El Salvador and raised mostly in Riverdale, Utah. She served an LDS mission to Oakland, California, where she got really good at walking backwards (she served at the Visitors' Center ;) ). She also earned a B.S. in Political Science at the University of Utah (she and Stephen overlapped a bit in their college years but never crossed paths!), and she went to graduate school in DC at The George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. She lived in DC for five years before moving back to Utah two years ago to work for the Utah Democratic Party. She now works doing Communications and Community Relations for the Salt Lake City School District. In her spare time, she enjoys thrifting, baking chocolate-chip cookies, running, eating delicious things,and going on walks with Stephen. :)

Fun Facts

We filled out a questionnaire for a bridal shower game and thought we'd share our answers to help you get to know us a little better!
ndary's Answers
1. What was your first job?
A: Baby-sitting (age 12) and Chick-fil-A (high school)
2. How many siblings do you have?
A: I'm the oldest of five kids. I have one sister and three brothers.
3. What's your favorite holiday?
A: My birthday!
4. How many languages do you speak? What are they?
A: 2.25: English, Spanish, and a little German (German was one of my college minors  the other one was Campaign Management  but I haven't used it since my study abroad in 2004!)
5. What musical instrument(s) do you play?
A: Violin
6. What is Stephen's best character trait?
A: He is so patient! Whether I'm running late (yet again), can't decide what I want for dinner, or am having an off day, he is so patient and loving and kind. (Also, he smells good!)
7. What is your favorite food and/or meal?
A: Pupusas!
8. What are your top three movies of all time, preferably in order?
A: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Legally Blonde
9. What is your "guilty pleasure" TV show to watch?
A: Right now? The O.C. with Stephen.
10. What is the best book you read in the last 1-2 years?
A: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
11. How long do spend getting ready in the morning?
A: At least an hour; maybe more!
12. If you had unlimited funds and could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Everywhere! But Thailand and Europe first.
13. What is your favorite midnight snack, if/when you get the munchies?
A: Frozen balls of chocolate-chip cookie dough, which are always in stock in my freezer. :)

Stephen's Answers
1. What was your first job?
A: Paper boy
2. How many siblings do you have?
A: Five (one sister, four brothers). I'm the youngest of six kids.
3. What's your favorite holiday?
A: Memorial Day, because I get a day off and don't have to do anything.
4. How many languages do you speak? What are they?
A: 1: LOVE (English)
5. What musical instrument(s) do you play?
A: None
6. What is Yándary best character trait?
A: Her niceness.
7. What is your favorite food and/or meal?
A: Pupusas
8. What are your top 3 movies of all time, preferably in order?
A: Willow, Thoroughly Modern Millie, What's Up, Doc?
9. What is your "guilty pleasure" TV show to watch?
A: The O.C.
10. What is the best book you read in the last 1-2 years?
A: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
11. How long do spend getting ready in the morning?
A: 10 minutes
12. If you had unlimited funds and could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Thailand
13. What is your favorite midnight snack, if/when you get the munchies?
A: Cheetos

July 23, 2018

Under Contract!


Just in time to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, we went under contract on our first house!!

The real estate market in the Salt Lake area is insane right now, with home prices, interest rates, and demand for homes on the rise, with no sign of letting up soon. Even though the market isn't favorable to sellers right now, we felt like we needed to be looking. We were in no rush, since we are just fine in our duplex, and we have a spare bedroom, which means we could even live here with a kid or two down the road. We set a deadline of July 21st (our one-year anniversary) and decided that if we didn't find a house by then, we'd take a break from house hunting for a while.

Well, we submitted an offer on Friday, we received a counter-offer on Saturday (our anniversary!), and we went under contract on Sunday. It all happened so fast! It's still not a done deal, of course, and we won't necessarily get the house, but we are excited to even be in the game, and I wanted to make sure I documented it.

Today, we scheduled a home inspection and found a title company we want to work with. Keep your fingers crossed for us during the next 30 days! 💓