Exactly two weeks from signing on the dotted line to close on the house, and just when moving and projects were starting to feel overwhelming.. the best possible things came in the mail:
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    When we got back to the apartment late last night we were both exhausted - moving ourselves while both maintaining jobs and working on projects in the new home has been tiring. Like, willingly having a bed time at 9:30 every single night kind of tiring. Exhausted as we were, we split up before heading upstairs with plans to meet up at the elevator [like I said, way to tired for stairs, even one floor]; I went to get the mail and he stopped to get the cart to use in the morning for moving boxes. Tyler heard me scream from down the hall, I had two huge envelopes and on was from the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners. I was tired, but I had suddenly gained a little boost of energy and ran to the elevator.
    Somewhere between the first and second floor, the envelope was torn open and thrown to the ground. Gently of course, I knew an envelope that size could only contain one thing:
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That's right, it's official. I'm a licensed Dental Hygienist in the state of North Carolina.
The next piece of mail?:
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Officially a small business owner. And just like that: Day. Made.
God is good.
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    Last weekend was our first weekend as homeowners and we started the process of tackling projects! Our first major project: storage and organization! Other than the master closet, the two other bedroom closets are fairly small and there are no coat or linen closets in the home. Just off of the laundry room was a rather large [5'x4'] "closet" with a blank slate:
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    ..the builder recommended it could be used as a small office, which we did consider, but with no window, no air conditioning vent, and our need for coat and linen storage, we nixed that and decided to make it a closet! Inspiration? Every California Closet I've ever seen, and this beauty from the Pottery Barn catalog:
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    ..after seeing that, I knew we could do something fun with the space so we decided to check out the closet section at Ikea. We fell in love. And we turned the empty space into this:
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    We used the Pax System from Ikea and could not be happier with the results. There's a space for everything we need it for and then some!
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Top shelf storage for bins with candles, light bulbs, batteries, etc.
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Pull-outs for hats, umbrellas, sports bags, and purses!
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Coats, extra linens, cleaning supplies, and shoes!
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Handy pull-out tray to use as a folding table or use with a mini ironing board for quick touch-ups!
    The best part about the Pax System is that you design it to fit your needs - originally I had a shelf where the folding table is now but I loved the accessibility of the shoe tray so I returned the shelf and purchased the pull-out tray. Although you can choose to have everything delivered and installed for an added fee, we chose to do the building ourselves to stay on budget. Speaking of budget, everything seen here was just under $525 total. That's both units, all clothes rails, drawers, trays, shelves, and pull outs. In my opinion, putting it together wasn't terribly difficult. As with any Ikea project, it's important to have patience and really look at the word-less directions or you could end up putting a small wooden dowel in a larger screw hole and not be able to get it out - points finger at husband.
    We're so content with our Pax System that we're thinking of biting the bullet and doing something similar in the master closet to provide that built-in look with more structure and organization:
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    Maybe that will be a "Weekend Warrior" project in the near future? Regardless, the fluorescent light has got to go! Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend! Need something to do? I highly recommend the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
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"Shake it like a Polaroid picture"
    Yes, that is a Polaroid picture captured on our very first date, August 6, 2007! [He asked me out the Saturday before, August 4th, hence our wedding date]! The picture was taken at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal three days before Tyler's family's Chick-fil-A® opened. This was a celebratory dinner held in honor of his family and all of the hired employees.. little did I know I would soon become an employee [I was heavily recruited, and not by Tyler]. Because it was scanned in, okay and because it's a Polaroid, it's not very clear but there's another picture from the night at the bottom of this post.
    In 2007, Tyler's family made the move from Indiana to Ohio where his dad would be opening a Chick-fil-A® Restaurant. Tyler and I spent much of our Senior Year of high school unlike many other kids - working. I still remember getting up early on Saturday mornings to get to the restaurant before our shift, indulge in Chick-n-Minis™, work enough hours to qualify for a break including free lunch, then leave late enough that our parents were requesting we bring food home for dinner or I'd have a babysitting job booked for the evening and offer to bring chicken - yes, we had chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Wait, you didn't know Chick-fil-A® had breakfast? Where have you been? They also just introduced THRIVE Coffee, yum.
    After high school we continued to work for Chick-fil-A®, Tyler did payroll from school, came in to do invoices on weekends, and eventually trained me to do both when he studied abroad. Whenever we came home on breaks, we worked. It was like a drug.. or maybe we felt obligated since it was family?, maybe we liked that it was family? At one point, both of Tyler's parents, both of his brothers, Tyler, my sister, two of my cousins, my cousin's boyfriend, and myself were all working at Tyler's parents' Chick-fil-A® Restaurant. I was also able to help another one of my cousins get a job at a location closer to where she lived. I also worked because I needed money.. while it was annoying as a teen, I'm so thankful my parents didn't give handouts.
    I'm fairly creative and I love design, so when there was a need for help with marketing and events at my in-laws restaurant while I was awaiting my Dental Hygiene License, I took the job! I've continued to work for them in this role from afar and even worked with corporate Chick-fil-A® on Grand Openings including the opening in our previous city, Walnut Creek. After the Walnut Creek opening, I accepted a job in HR and Marketing at that location since I was unable to do Hygiene in a full-time role in California. I've been to training in Atlanta and continue to work for and make promotional flyers for both locations [one was even featured on TV, holla!] and my graphic design work is something I'm weirdly proud of.
    On top of working there, we eat there, a lot. And yes, unless we happen to be ordering from one of Tyler's family members [very rare], we pay. Truth is: we don't care to pay for good food, and Chick-fil-A® is gooood. After marriage, Wednesdays became our set-aside "date night" at Chick-fil-A® - it was one sense of normalcy after having moved 2,500 miles from home. So every Wednesday, we ate dinner at the Chick-fil-A® in Walnut Creek [or I brought it home after work] and we have continued that tradition even with our move to Charlotte, only missing when we are out of town. But even then, we usually schedule road trips around when Chick-fil-A® is open.. sometimes delaying departure until 6:30am so we can get breakfast before hitting the road. We're addicts.
    So yesterday, after becoming homeowners, we didn't celebrate by heading out to some fancy dinner spot - we kept our 'date night' tradition and headed straight for chicken!
Then we went and painted our new front door cause we're a little cray cray and couldn't wait! Can't wait to share pics!
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MIA

08/13/2014

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    It's been .. a while. Over a month in fact. Life has been crazy busy and there has been little time to update! Here's a look at the exciting things we've been up to the past month:
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We traveled to Cincinnati for my sister's pinning from Nursing School..
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..and her boyfriend proposed right after the pinning ceremony!
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Excited for our family to grow!
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We filmed for a TV show! With Egypt Sherrod!
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I received my testing packet from the State .. took and passed both tests!
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We put an offer on a house .. and it was accepted! [This is an unfinished picture, mid-construction]
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This little guy [along with my sister and her fiancé] came for a visit and we went to the U. S. National White Water Center of course!
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I started my own business.. many of you may not know that I work for my in-laws' restaurant and one other restaurant on the side doing graphic design, marketing and events. Due to moving - it's easier for me to invoice the locations for tax purposes. I've also been told by several people that I need to start charging for interior design consulting.. we'll see!
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I drove to Tennessee to visit with my mom and sister. Beautiful scenic drive to the perfect middle ground for meeting with Ohio family!
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We celebrated our 2 year Anniversary on August 4th! I got him tickets to Liverpool vs AC Milan and Liverpool won 2-0 [how fitting!]
    In between everything, we've been working hard to fill out mortgage documents, file paperwork for a new business, create an invoicing system, set up inspections, appraisals, utilities, pick finishing details for our flipped 1927 home, begin the packing process, and we've been using every evening and weekend searching for the perfect dining room table, couch, washer and dryer, chairs, etc. to go in our first 'big-kid' house to make it our home.
    Today, almost exactly halfway between our 2-year wedding anniversary and our 7-year 'We're-An-Official-Couple' anniversary, we are closing on our first home! Here's to beginning a new chapter in our lives together as homeowners, and documenting it all here on Behind the Mask!
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