This is turning out to be the best week ever.

+ He is Risen! "Death has lost and love has won!"

+ Alexandra WON the Drive, Chip, and Putt tournament in Augusta! Let me just share this beauty again in case you missed my Facebook post, 10 Snapchats, texts, etc.:
That's my girl!
+ The cabinet I designed for our house is being installed as I type!

+ Our monthly Girl's Night is this week. And I have the best friends, duh.

..and last but not least:

+ I'm knocking one off the bucket list: As announced Saturday, our episode airs on HGTV at the end of this week! [Seriously I've been watching HGTV since I was 9 wanting to be on!]
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DISCLAIMER: READ BEFORE WATCHING!

    I just want to set the record straight before ya'll watch the show [that even I haven't seen so there may need to be more added to this at a later date!]. These are some things I think you should know before watching!:

+ Boxing.

   
You'll notice, our title is "Third Round Knock Out". Yes. You will see us boxing in this episode. Why? Oh cause, I used to box casually. Here's the deal. In California I had a gym membership that I never used, but I did want to do something, so when one of Tyler's coworkers mentioned she went to a cardio class at the boxing gym in town, I decided to give it a try. I lasted for a few months sprained my ankle [not boxing] and was out a month, then boxed another month or so before we moved. Please note: I NEVER BOXED ANYONE. The only time I got in the ring was with my instructor for my free "one-on-one" training class that you get for joining the gym. It was a CARDIO class with boxing moves and everyone had their own bag to punch. When we filled out our application for the show, I was still in boxing class so I [stupidly] listed that as a hobby and they decided to run with it for the show. Unfortunately for me, by the time we filmed it had been months since my last class and I was never good with the footwork to begin with seeing as I didn't need it vs. a bag. So go ahead and think up your jokes [cough, Danny Spears, cough]. Fortunately for me, they like to make it so the girl wins - I wish I could TKO Tyler, but alas, it's staged.

+
We are not millionaires.

   
Somehow, our budget got way mixed up between emails. We did increase our budget at one point but they ended up taking the second number from the low end and switching it with the second number from the top of the budget so our budget went wayyy up! By the time we caught the error, they had already filmed a segment with the host separately so we had to go with it. But that's why we keep saying, "we want to stay at the low end of our budget!"

+
We are a little boring.


    We pretty much agreed 100% on what we wanted in our first home - but that's pretty boring for viewers, so they took our one minor disagreement and blew. it. up. We really didn't argue over that to the extent that it may or may not be viewed on-screen [especially with the super corny scripted lines during the boxing scenes]. It's TV people! Don't worry, while there have been couples who split up because of the show [not even lying], we are not one of them!

+ We love our house!

    Again, we're boring. By the time they filmed the last house [our house] we had already requested some changes with the builder - so we didn't really have anything we 'didn't like' and they forced us to find something. I don't really remember what we said other than the backyard was boring? ..but we really do love our house!

+ We love our builder!

    
The show makes it seem like we didn't know the builder, but we do! It also makes it seem like he sold the house to us for below value so that he could 'get out' and move on to the next project. Not true. We did get a great deal but he definitely didn't 'get rid of it'. They just had to back-track and cover up for the fact that they'd already filmed her saying we wouldn't be able to find what we wanted at the low end of our budget.

+ I wear heels.

    This may come as a shock, but I wear heels guys! In the summer I love to wear wedges with shorts. I have short legs and I try not to buy skanky short shorts, so I need help sometimes! You'll see me in wedges *and* flats on the show and if you see me in person in the summer, I'll probably be wearing wedges. Or barefoot.. but that wouldn't have been acceptable for TV. All that to say, I did not just wear heels for the show. Ask my realtor. I wore wedges when she was dragging my hopeless but around Charlotte trying to find our dream home!

+ Even with heels, I am short.

    No, I am not close to as tall as Tyler. Not even with heels on. But, thanks to the handy dandy 'Tom Cruise' box, I do appear to be in some of the interview scenes!
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Your FAQs Answered:

    We've gotten a lot of questions from you all about the process, so here are the answers to the questions we've been asked most frequently:

+ Did you get paid?

    Haha, no! We wish.. but we did get a gift card to a home improvement store and we were willing to settle for the 15 minutes of fame!

+ Is it real?

    As real as it can be! Like the producers told us: they don't want to force anyone to purchase or put a timeline on purchasing and you can put an offer in on a house anytime after the first film date. They showed us the first two homes then they left us alone with our realtor to visit [what felt like] 10x more homes, *hopefully* finding 'the one' before
they come back to film again! Luckily for us, we had already found our home about a week before filming began and were just waiting for it to be closer to finished before putting in an offer.

+ Is the show's host your actual realtor?

    No. While she is a licensed realtor, our realtor was behind the scenes finding the houses and hooking us up. She's the best. If you're looking in the Charlotte Area, Jennifer Monroe is your hookup.


+ Did you have a script?

    Absolutely not. Which made re-takes extremely difficult - trying to remember what we said the first time, second time, fifth time.. Although, like I said, we were a little boring when it came to arguing so some of those lines were fed to us!
..and anything else that sounds cheesy was probably fed to us as well! They also made us do a few re-takes if we were being 'too nice' about a house that we clearly didn't like.

+ Did you have a hair and makeup artist?

    While there was a hair and makeup artist on set [for the host], we did not get to get in on that perk! I did all of my own hair and makeup [as you'll probably be able to tell - because it was always raining and I can't tame the frizz in the rain!]. I even did Tyler's makeup! In high-light and sunny scenes they requested I powder his forehead and nose, but that's the extent of his makeup wearing! We also picked out our own clothes after reviewing their extensive list of no-no's for the TV screen: no clothing logos, no sports logos, no stripes, no tiny polka dots, no all-white, no red.. etc. So after canceling out all the Miami gear, workout clothes, and stripes; that left us with about 2 items for poor Tyler. Proof I did my own hair, a picture our builder snapped when he came to install the cabinet knobs the morning of filming:
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+ How long did filming take?

    For. Ev. Er. [Sandlot voice]. We were scheduled to film for almost 30 hours over 3 separate days. Thankfully we rarely had to do re-takes [other than when they wanted different angles or to use a different camera] so we cut that down to about 24! [Not to toot our own horns but the director said we were really easy to work with and did great with our takes! We're clearly stars in the making.]

MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION:

+ When will it air?!

    Wait no longer folks. Set the DVRs for THIS Saturday morning, April 11th at 9:30 AM on HGTV! Or, you could not be lazy and get up and watch it LIVE!

    I asked Tyler if he had anything to add.. so I'll leave you with this:
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    So.. 'melt your eyeballs and hearts out' America, THIS Saturday at 9:30/8:30c [9:30pst, no idea mountain time!]!
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First of all: How is it April already?!

This year is flying by! I haven't written at all for a few reasons:

1 - Learning how to juggle 3 jobs and run a business. Yes, 3. All part-time-ish. All requiring me to own my own business which means doing adult things like quarterly taxes, writing contracts, and sending out invoices [not as easy as I thought]. Not because we need it but because I'm probably certifiably insane, love what I do, and can't say no?

2 - Flu/Strep combo and that little concussion. Minor Detail. No joke. I had two weeks off for Christmas/New Years, the first was spent with family in Ohio and the second was supposed to be used for getting ahead with my business, taxes, cleaning the house, and prepping blog posts. One day in to that second week I couldn't move, breathe, stay awake, eat, etc. Just as I was able to breathe again, I couldn't swallow without feeling like I was swallowing glass. Super fun. Thankful for a dad who called in some antibiotics and I was better before work started up again the next week but I ended up getting way behind with everything else!
Later in January we went on a ski trip to Breckenridge, Colorado with a huge group of friends/co-workers [something like 16 people total?!]. On the second, and thankfully last, day of skiing, I was hit in the back of the head by a snowboarder, flew in to the air landing head-first with my feet pointed uphill. Thankfully I was skiing with a helmet. I had a headache the size of Texas and kept feeling like I needed to go to sleep so I was taken to the hospital via ambulance for evaluation. After failing the balance test but not throwing up, passing out, or seizing [hooray!], it was determined that while I did suffer a concussion, I did not have a brain bleed and could fly home the next day. I could not however: read, use a computer, watch TV, be around loud crowds [ha - we were sharing a 3 bedroom suite with 9 others], etc. ..and the next morning I woke up with whiplash which made walking through the airport fun! I spent the rest of the month sleeping before and after every activity. January was not my month for getting things done.. but yes, I will go skiing again!

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Ironically we were waiting to buy my helmet here!
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Pre-concussion
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3 - New Year's Resolutions [Seriously. I actually made some this year and am attempting to stick to them!] During my time of reflection after the concussion, I decided to make some New Year's goals. In order to try to stick to my resolutions and make them a priority, I made a rule that I had to show commitment to each goal before I could write again.
Resolution 1: Start drinking more water. I now start each morning and end my day with at least 1 8oz glass, keep a full tumbler with me at work, and make myself drink a full glass of water before I'm allowed to have any other drink with a meal. I'm still probably not at the recommended amount but considering I detest water, it's a step in the right direction!
Resolution 2: Join a gym and actually go [ya know, after being medically cleared]. I crushed this one. I joined the beginning of the second week of March and had a goal to go at least 6 times by March 31. I doubled that.
Resolution 3: Use a planner. Getting better at this one but still need improvement! Next year more thought will be put into what type of planner I purchase - I need one more tailored to how I like to view my month/week/day!
Resolution 4: Start doing daily devotions. I like to start things with a purpose and be 'exact' with things. So when I went to the Christian bookstore at the beginning of March and bought my new devotional books and one had a "daily" plan for 30 days, I couldn't start it until April 1. Just couldn't. And I hate to do day 3 devotion on day 4 so I think I'll be sticking to this!
Resolution 5: Don't get overwhelmed. Blogging is a hobby, not an only source of income. If it doesn't get done, it doesn't get done. It shouldn't take away from time with friends and family.

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4 - I can't keep a secret. I kept wanting to share pictures of our house and projects we were doing but I also didn't want to until our show aired so you could see some of the 'before'! .. So now, the only reason most of you are here, the BIG news: WE GOT THE EMAIL! Last night, we received an email from the production company that our show will air NEXT Saturday, April 11th at 9:30 AM on HGTV! If you want to record it, our episode is called, "Third Round Knock Out." I'll post a full disclaimer on Monday!

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    We are so excited to finally see the episode ourselves and excited for you all to see it as well. Be prepared for several home posts afterwards to see what we've done since moving in! Happy Easter!
"2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; He has risen!" Luke 24: 2 - 6a
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Happy Cyber Monday! ..and busiest shopping time of year

    I'm big on online shopping. Save gas money, save time, save money by researching to find similar items at a lower prices, and at this time of year, save yourself from fighting traffic, long lines, and save your life [have you seen how cray cray people get on Black Friday?] So my opinion is that if you're online shopping at all you're doing it right, BUT if you're not using EBATES, you're missing out!
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SO EASY:

     EBATES is pretty much the only way I shop online and it's so easy. With over 1,700 stores I never have trouble finding what I need! I simply log into my EBATES account, search for the store or the item I'm looking for, click to open a shopping cart at that store, and start shopping and earning!
    Saving money is something else I'm 'big' on so I'm always on the lookout for great deals which are guaranteed at EBATES. Even if they don't have a current coupon code for the store you're wanting to shop at, you're always going to get cash back. On average, I usually get about 3.5% cash back. There are stores that only give 2% cash back, there are stores with 10% or more, and some days stores have special "double cash back" times [like today!]! Even as little as 1% is still something in my eyes.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE:

    If you've seen the commercial on TV you've probably thought, "no way" - and I can tell you, the amount some of those ladies have 'gotten back' is either blown out of proportion, combined from several years, or they have a slight shopping addiction. My first check was around $15, nowhere near $900, but that's my half of a date-night dinner out, a movie ticket, or a few specialty coffee drinks at Starbucks! I honestly thought it was too good to be true but so far it's worked. If I'm already shopping online, I may as well get a little extra back!

DIRECTLY FROM THE EBATES WEBSITE:

"People often ask: "This sounds too good to be true, how are you able to do it?" It really is quite simple. Just like almost every other online shopping center, we get a commission from the stores when you make a purchase. Instead of keeping that money - like almost all other sites do - we share it with you!"

SIGN UP NOW:

    Signing up is so easy and EBATES does not ask for any bank or credit card information, simply an address for where they should send the check. Which, ps., they're also willing to send to a charity of your choosing if you wish. You can learn more by clicking the link below! Happy Shopping!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back
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    Many of you may have received a puzzle piece in the mail last month. October 9th was my dad's 60th birthday so I had to do something BIG! Thanks to my friend Bri, who saw the idea on another blog and did something similar for her boyfriend's birthday, I got this idea!

STEP 1:
Purchase a Puzzle
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    I purchased my puzzle from Portrait Puzzles because I was able to get the best price for the size puzzle pieces I needed. I wanted each puzzle piece to be large enough for people to write more than just "Happy Birthday! Love, So-and-So" on! The quality was great, shipping was fast, and I upgraded to the metal tin because that's something my dad would appreciate.. if you know him, you get it. See below for a special coupon code for Portrait Puzzles!

STEP 2: Create Your "How To" Sheet
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    I basically copied the formatting from Bri [thanks, girl], and just changed the wording a bit! Not great at formatting and 'graphic design'? I kind of have a business where I get paid to do that, I have reasonable fees, and I'd love to help! *end shameless plug*
    I recommend not printing the "How To" sheets until you're 100% sure on all instructions. I decided last minute to put a piece of cardboard in each envelope to help protect the puzzle pieces from getting bent in the mail so I used a label sheet and placed a sticker at the bottom of each instruction sheet saying, "Leave the cardboard in the envelope to protect the puzzle piece" ..miraculously I still had people not follow that direction.. and I also placed a sticker in each envelope to seal his envelope with so I ended up hand writing on the back of each sticker, "Use me to seal the envelope!" Both of those items could have fit on the "How To" sheet if I'd just waited to print them!

Step 3:
Buy Envelopes and Stamps
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    This is another step I recommend waiting on! The puzzle information said that the piece sizes were approximately 3.5"x3.5" each, so while waiting on the puzzle to arrive I went to my local office supply store to get a head start on addressing and stamping the envelopes. I knew I'd need a larger envelope to fit everything in [the "How To" sheet, the pre-addressed/pre-stamped envelope, the sticker seal, the puzzle piece, and the smaller envelope with the cardboard inside] plus the smaller envelope to hold the cardboard and puzzle piece in. I purchased the "Invitation" and "Photo" envelopes, approx. 4.5"x5.75" and 4.75"x6.5" respectively. I started stamping and return-addressing away until..
    When the puzzle arrived I quickly realized that about 8 of the pieces were too big/awkward to fit in the smaller envelopes. Luckily, the cardboard cutting took so much of my time that I hadn't even gotten to addressing the envelopes so it was an easy fix - for those 8 pieces I used the larger, photo, envelopes as the "small" envelops then went and purchased "Greeting Card" envelopes as the larger, outer, envelopes! Major crisis averted!
    Why wait to purchase stamps? With the "weight" of the puzzle piece and protective cardboard, one stamp wasn't enough - wait until you have a puzzle piece, package one envelope up and take it to your local USPS to find out the exact amount of postage you need! Remember - you'll need the same amount for both the outer and inner envelopes [the "How To" sheet isn't going to remove that much weight!]

Step 4: Stuff Away!
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    By far the longest process if you're a perfectionist. I wanted to ensure everyone had a significant piece of the puzzle; I got my face, my sister got the piece with hers on it, my mom's family got pieces of her and my dad's family got pieces of him and so on.. I know, I'm weird. Ps. Sorry if you're just now realizing where you fell in that priority list!
    An "assembly line" set up works best for this to make sure each envelope gets everything it needs!

Step 5: Mail!

    I sent these out about a week and a half before I wanted them to start mailing them back. In all reality, it doesn't matter if they don't all come before the actual birth-date [or anniversary date] just as long as they start coming before then!

So, If My Dad Had Facebook..

    If my dad had Facebook, he would use it to post a status saying how grateful he was for all of the time and effort each and every single one of his friends and family members put into his birthday gift. Almost everyone went above and beyond just writing, "Happy Birthday! You're OLD!" and you all blew him away with your kind words. His status might say something like the text he sent me:
"Thank you very much for the puzzle. It was a very wonderful gift. The entire process was well thought out and nicely done. I was deeply touched by all of the effort and love that went into this birthday present."
    I'm sure on my dad's Facebook "wall" he'd have a "Joke of the Day," his thoughts on Ebola from a doctor's standpoint, countless "Happy Birthday" messages on October 9th, I'd hope he'd have plenty of "Thanks for all you do" notes, I know he'd have a million and one photos of his beloved dogs [seriously, who could blame him? Have you seen how cute they are?!], and this week, he would have posted a picture in remembrance of his father who passed away a year ago; the man who influenced my dad to be the amazing man he is.
    Now for a video of dad opening his favorite puzzle piece [sorry to my mom, sister, and myself, but this piece took us out of the competition.. not that there was one]! Disclaimer: My dad will have my head for putting this up because he'd already taken his dress shirt off and only has an undershirt on. Oops, sorry dad! But I had to post it to show how much he truly loved his gift! The heart-felt words you all sent were so wonderful! Also, you will want to cry in the middle but you will die laughing at the end.. maybe a puzzle wasn't the best gift?!
    Thanks again to everyone who participated and made this the best birthday present ever! Thanks to the original blogger who gave Bri the idea so I could copy, and thanks to Portrait Puzzles for the amazing puzzle! Want a puzzle of your own? Portrait Puzzles has graciously offered a $2.00 off promo code to my readers! Use code pporder06 at checkout!
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    Yesterday was our last day of filming, so Sunday was a crazy day of moving, organizing, decorating, cleaning, and getting the house TV ready! Now that a majority of our furniture is in place, it's hitting me that we own this home! Maybe I was just extremely tired and emotionally vulnerable, but I started tearing up when I got this video email from our builder. They did an amazing job in truly transforming this house! [And I'm proud to say I helped a little by picking the cabinet color, backsplash, paint colors throughout, and the floor stain!] Enjoy watching this transformation!
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    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

12 Comments

 
    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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    My husband and I are obsessed with my parents' dog, Jack. Jack is a Welsh Terrier with an "I'm awesome and I know it" personality and he is always up for an adventure! We were so excited when we found out my parents were going to bring him down for the holiday, so I went out and bought him a doggy life jacket to take him to the US National White Water Center for some Kayaking!
    Here are a few pictures from our holiday weekend!
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Most important: new blue shoes arrived just in time for the holiday.. they remind me of fireworks!
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A Red, White, and Blue breakfast to start off the holiday weekend!
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He thoroughly enjoyed relaxing on the patio watching the world go by!
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Fireworks via the internet.. the morning after.. long story.
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New life jacket, ready for an adventure at the U.S. National White Water Center!
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Nervous at first but he was acting like he owned the kayak by the end!
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Bathed and exhausted after his adventure! Can't wait to have him come visit again!
Hope you all had a relaxing Fourth of July weekend! God Bless America!

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