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!]


    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!

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:
+ 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.]


+ 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:
    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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    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!

Purchase a Puzzle
    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
    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
    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!
    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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"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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    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:
We traveled to Cincinnati for my sister's pinning from Nursing School..
..and her boyfriend proposed right after the pinning ceremony!
Excited for our family to grow!
We filmed for a TV show! With Egypt Sherrod!
I received my testing packet from the State .. took and passed both tests!
We put an offer on a house .. and it was accepted! [This is an unfinished picture, mid-construction]
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!
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!
I drove to Tennessee to visit with my mom and sister. Beautiful scenic drive to the perfect middle ground for meeting with Ohio family!
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!
Most important: new blue shoes arrived just in time for the holiday.. they remind me of fireworks!
A Red, White, and Blue breakfast to start off the holiday weekend!
He thoroughly enjoyed relaxing on the patio watching the world go by!
Fireworks via the internet.. the morning after.. long story.
New life jacket, ready for an adventure at the U.S. National White Water Center!
Nervous at first but he was acting like he owned the kayak by the end!
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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In honor of Father's Day coming up, much love to this mustached Mexican who taught me how to drive and provided some of the fondest childhood memories! Don't forget to love on your dads this weekend! Now for some Alan Jackson [with my own edits].

"A piece of my childhood that'll never be forgotten:
It was, just an old pontoon boat
75 johnson with electric choke
A young girl, two hands on the wheel
I cant replace the way it made me feel
And I would turn it shore line, and, make it wide
He'd say, ya can't beat the way an old boat rides
Just a little lake across the Indiana line
But I was king of the ocean, when daddy let me drive.."

 Alan Jackson | When Daddy Let Me Drive | MetroLyrics
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    I have been a nanny for twelve years now and have always come home with funny stories about what the kids said or did that day - kicking myself now for not writing some of them down, I could be the next Bill Cosby! I vowed that with my own kids I would keep a list of funny memories to share with them later in life [I still will never forget when one of 'my girls' told Tyler that when she grew up she was going to 'marriage' him!]. We don't have children now, but I've decided raising a husband is similar to raising a child [and I have already started writing that post] so I have been keeping track of Tyler's child-like antics. He never fails to make me laugh!

    This week and next we celebrate Tyler's completion of his work on Procter and Gamble's Safeway team here in San Francisco. While I'm sure the coming weeks will be sad, I'm also excited that tonight his team will be roasting him. In the spirit of roasting, I've compiled a list of some of his craziness that usually only I get the pleasure of seeing and hearing - although he had been opening up lately! Tyler is one of the funniest people I know, from his countless impersonations and song inventions, to his "I'm really being serious" moments - if you're lucky enough to have seen him branch out into his sillyness then consider yourself lucky! I'm sure this list will grow with time, but for now, enjoy these little snippets of my daily life! [Disclaimer: some of these may be 'you had to be there' moments - but if you sit back and really try to picture him doing them, you'll laugh - or you can just skip to the videos at the end!]

  • The Invention:
    "I just thought of something! PFV. Guess what it stands for?!" "I don't know, Tyler." "Personal Flying Vehicle!" "Ok" "Guess what it also stands for?!" "What, Tyler?" "Peters Family Vehicle! Get it?! Cause we're going to invent it! Think about it. Graham's going to Dayton. Dayton Flyers. Wright Brothers. Peters Brothers. It's time."

  • The Laundry:
    "Tyler, why is it that when we're folding laundry together, I can fold your clothes for you if I pick them out of the pile, but when you pick up my clothes, you just throw them into another pile for me to fold later?" "You have baby clothes so I can't fold those." "What does that even mean?!" "Look at these. They're too tiny, I can't fold them. Baby clothes." he says matter-of-factly. "So are you telling me that when we have kids, I can look forward to doing everything myself?" "No, I'll help then, there's nothing to it, you just fold it over once and you're done!" "Good. Start practicing now."

  • The Times He Pretends He Speaks Spanish:
    Walks in to a Mexican restaurant and asks, "Can I have a quesadilla? And make sure there's cheese on it!" "Tyler! You don't have to ask for cheese! That's what a quesadilla is!" "No, cheese is queso, that's not in quesAdilla so he may not know." Face-palm.
    "I'm taking you kayaking in La Joe-la!" "Are you sure that's the name of it?" "Yes!" "How is it spelled?" "L-a J-o-l-l-a. La Joe-la!" "Yeah, hate to break it to you, honey but we're going to La Jolla, pronounced 'Hoy-ya'" "Mmm I don't think so."
    "Como estaaaaba la princeeessea muy buena, si?" Just stop.

  • The Time I Forgot My Hairbrush:
    If you know me, you know I have curly and sometimes unmanageable hair. Forgetting to pack hair necessities is one of the worst things that could happen to me - they're my sanity and semi-protection from a frizzy mess. In a spur-of-the-moment trip, I forgot to pack my conditioner, and hairbrush. By the time I realized I didn't have conditioner, I had already gotten in the shower at the hotel and realized that not only did I not have my own but they had given us two shampoos and no conditioner.
    Clearly upset with the sandpaper feel of my hair after the shower, and getting frustrated trying to brush through the unconditioned hair with my fingers, Tyler lovingly stepped in to help brush with his fingers. After about 40 combined minutes of work [no joke] my hair was 'finished' and I realized, no anti-frizz cream. Score. Tired of waiting, Tyler insisted, "It looks fine!" so we left for dinner, but I knew what was coming.
    Halfway through dinner, "your hair looks really nice, it's drying well, my combing really helped!!" he said with the proudest grin. "Oh, really?" I said sarcastically, "how's the back look?" I asked, turning the back of my head towards him, already knowing the answer. "Uhm. Nobody looks at the back of your hair. I did a really good job!" *proudest smile ever*

  • The Bath Rug:
    So, sheepskin rugs have been coming back in style, and not always used as a rug. View this Pinterest Board to see what I mean. I had been eying the Ikea Sheepskin for a while after seeing it used countless times on Instagram but it wasn't until I saw it at a friend's house resting on the back of their chair that I decided to make it my own. I got home and proudly placed it on our chair in the family room.
    Three weeks later I hear, "What is this?!" I come in from the bedroom to see Tyler holding up the sheepskin and calmly explain that it's decor [a word he now cringes at]. "For two weeks I thought this was our bath rug! I thought you put it there to dry after washing it! Take it back!" I'm still confused as to why he thought I'd dry a soaking wet bath rug on a chair vs our drying rack, but I'm still enjoying resting against the coziness that is sheepskin.

  • The Baby Naming Game:
    Mid-dinner silence is broken when Tyler proclaims, "I've got it! We can name our kids Penny and Peter!" "NO!" "Yes! Penny Peters and Peter Peters!" he says beyond excitedly, "You're just asking for them to be made fun of." "Fine." Two minutes of silence goes by, "What about 'Hurricane, Hurricane Peters'?" "Absolutely not!" I said in disgust, "Good! Cause if you liked it we would so NOT be able to be friends anymore," he said with a wag of his finger, and right back to eating he goes. It amazes me of how serious he can be when he's being funny.

  • The Car Ritual:
    The kid literally sings, "A Hunting We Will Go," when he's trying to find a spot in the lane next to him to merge in to on the highway. I also became aware of his morning ritual when we decided one day that I would drive with him to work, take his car back and pack for a weekend trip, then come back to pick him up and leave for the trip:
    Two minutes in to the drive I ask a question with this response, "What are you doing? WE don't talk the first five minutes of the drive in the morning!" Still wondering who 'we' is. And exactly 5 minutes in as he gets on the ramp to the interstate, he flips on the talk radio and starts singing to himself, "A Hunting We Will Go" as he white-knuckles the top of the steering wheel with both hands and moves his face towards the windshield with squinting eyes seeking his way in to the lane, and then he starts talking to me like I had just joined him in the car at that very moment.

  • The Winter Blues:
    While on vacation this winter - not in California - "Winter really stinks. It's so dark and depressing. It'll be better when we're back in Cincinnati eventually." "Cincinnati is dark and depressing in the winter Tyler, it's like that almost everywhere except tropical states, and we've been lucky in California." "I know, but at least in Cincinnati you're with family so you can just be depressed with everyone." No words.

  • The Drive-Thru:
    Going through drive-thru lanes with Tyler is one of the most embarrassing things ever. Luckily for me, I was raised by jokester Steven Villegas and have perfected the duck-and-hide-before-getting-to-the-window move. He always does impersonations and crazy voices and when we would go through the drive-thru at his dad's Chick-fil-A they'd say, "Your total is $12.56" and he'd yell in a crazy person's voice complete with a crazy evil laugh, "No it's not, it's free, muahahaha!" and speed away so they'd hear the tires peeling.
    Most recently at the Chick-fil-A by us, the girl at the headset couldn't control her laughter while taking our order because her friends were at the window teasing her. Tyler gives his order and as she giggles through repeating it back, he goes, "Ma'am this is not funny," in his serious voice while turning and laughing to my face - she was so stoic from then on and as he rolls away, "I got her, hehehe." Drive-thru workers, beware!

  • The Best Part About Mac and Cheese:
    It's become typical that I have to remind Tyler to use manners at the dinner table. A while back we were eating Mac and Cheese for lunch and he was literally inhaling it. "Tyler! Chew!" his response, "Chew?! That's the best part about mac! You don't have to chew, you just swallow! See," he said, pointing to the mac on his fork, "it even has these wind holes!"
    Where does he come up with this? The best part of the conversation was when I made him promise to me, "Promise me you will never eat like this in front of other human beings?" and with an eye-roll and a shake, he did. Then I stated, "that includes all human beings, even little humans, as in our future children," "Dangit! You tricked me!" ..and back to swallowing the mac.

  • The Kate Spade Incident:
    Proof I am really dealing with a child. Last winter, right before Christmas, the Kate Spade Outlet had 50% off everything. Naturally, since a pair of KS Bow Earrings was on my Christmas Wishlist, I drug Tyler to the sale. The line was out-the-door long and we had to wait for about 45 minutes but we took shifts - one person would wait while the other went into other stores then we'd switch. When we finally got to the front of the line, I got a taste of what was to come. Tyler to the door keeper: "Hey, hey lady! Can we go yet? LADY? Is it our turn?!" Once inside, I mention we're only there to look at jewelry so we're going to have to wait until the crowd moves away from that area. Two seconds later I look up to see Tyler pushing ladies out of his way, arriving at the jewelry table, turning and smiling at me, and motioning to me that there's an open tile of floor for me to stand on by him. Lucky me.
    As if that wasn't enough, we're looking at the jewelry displayed on a dresser when an employee mentions, "there are more necklaces in the top left drawer, more rings in the top middle drawer, and more earrings in the top right!" I had already spotted the earrings so I decided to open the top left drawer just to see, then I hear those words a mother, er, I mean wife, never wants to hear, "excuse me sir, I'm going to have to ask you not to open those." I look to my right and every drawer of the dresser is open with Tyler smiling like a kid in a candy store. His response, "Sorry lady, I'm a mischievous one, you're going to have to watch me!" And she did. Like a hawk. The rest of the time we were in the store. Good thing Kate Spade isn't a classy establishment or anything..

  • The Gig:
    My boss and his wife have a newborn and a one-and-a-half year old that I watch frequently during the day. They asked if I could watch them one night while they went to a benefit and as they always do, invited Tyler and offered dinner. Knowing Tyler I figured the last thing he'd want to do after work is watch energetic kids [ha, wait until parenthood] so I offered to make him dinner and leave it in the fridge for when he got home.
    As I'm getting ready to leave, he calls and says, "are they getting you pizza tonight?" "Yes" "Ok, I'm coming with you!" After picking me up, he goes, "Wow. This is a really good gig, we need to get this gig in Charlotte like 4 nights a week. We save money not buying dinner for ourselves and then make money at the same time! And after we put the kids to bed, we're forced to be productive on our work computers because we're not at our own house so we can't go to bed!" "Uh-huh, suure," I said, knowing it's not that easy. "Okay, fine, maybe just 3 nights a week."
    An hour into watching the boys, "Can I go home now?! I'm tired. How do you do this? You make it look so easy!"

  • The Baby:
    As mentioned above, I watch little ones in my spare time. Can't get enough of them and the best part is I get to give them back when I'm done and can get a good night's sleep ;) for now at least! Anyway, back to Tyler, he is paedophobic. Mostly to infants, he can handle a child once it is old enough to do funny things. A few weeks after B&K's baby was born I asked if he wanted to come with me to meet him, his response, "does it talk yet?" "No, Tyler, he's an infant!" "Nah."
    When my boss and I were setting up for the company Christmas party he asked Tyler if he could watch the oldest son to which Tyler laughed. When he realized B was holding him out in Tyler's direction, Tyler goes, "Oh, you were serious?" look around, and takes him from him, carries him with both arms extended away from his body as if the little guy had a disease or something. He then proceeded to get into the Chick-fil-A play-place and slide down the slide with him.
    The night we watched them that Tyler wanted to duck out early from, I had just fed the infant and was burping him as we coaxed the oldest upstairs for bed. "You have two choices Tyler, you can burp the baby or change W's diaper. What do you want to do?" "I ain't changin' no diaper!" So I had him sit down in the rocker, and gave him the baby in burping position. When I came back two minutes later from changing W's diaper, the baby was 90% of the way down Tyler's chest and they both had a look of fear in their eyes. "What are you doing?!" "He was moving, and wiggling!!" "Yeah, he's trying to learn to use his neck muscles, you have to hold him!" "I'm done, I'm going to break him, I'm done!" ..sorry B&K.

  • The Time He Had to Tell His Pet Peeves About Me:
    So we interviewed for Property Virgins and the first step was a written interview where Tyler had to list his pet peeves about me:
    So, let me get this straight, it bothers you that I'm organized, clean, try to keep the bathroom from flooding and potentially molding, keep you looking fashionable, prefer even numbers, value my sleep so I'm in a better mood for you, keep the house looking like it belongs in HGTv Magazine [where they all display their mixers on the counter], and again, keep you looking fashionable and not like a fool?
    In the Skype interview he also admitted his other pet peeve about me was I make the bed every single day and, "it takes her FOREVER to come to bed at night, probably because she takes the time to floss her teeth and I don't." #SorryNotSorry
    The only one I need to explain is the fact that I dislike him working from home. Some people would think I'm mean and unloving for that, but you'd dislike it too if you lived in an 800sq ft apartment where you work from home and while you're trying to work you keep getting interrupted. Schedule when Tyler works from home:
     7:50 am - Wake up in a panic because since he's working from home, he didn't set an alarm.
     9:20 am - Megan can you make me coffee?
     9:50 am - Megan can you come get my coffee cup and put it in the dishwasher? I'm on a call.
    10:30 am - What are you making me for lunch?
    10:35 am - Megan?! "It's 10:30, lunch isn't until at least noon!" I know, but I like to prepare myself.
     11:45 am - When is lunch?
    12:00 pm - Is lunch ready?
    12:20 pm - Sorry but we're going to have to listen in to this call while we're eating lunch.
    12:45 pm - Can you get me some Oreos and milk?
     1:00 pm - You're good to clean this up, right? I need to get back to this call.
    2:30 pm - Finally settling down to get my work done
    2:31  pm - I'm done, do you want to go to the gym together? What's for dinner? How come you're still working? Are we going to do something fun tonight? Helloooo?! You've had all day to work!

  • The Great Aunt Voice:
    Tyler adopted my great aunt's voice and had four separate in-depth phone conversations with my sister, all lasting more than 2 minutes. She had no idea.

  • The Bite:
    This is probably one of my favorites, but you have to have seen this video first to understand. The other day as we're walking through the park Tyler said something and I quipped back. Astonished, Tyler looked at me wide-eyed, and without missing a beat in his best English accent goes, "Megan bit me! Ouch! You bit me!"

    And with that.. I leave you with these gems:
  • The One Direction Superfan
He really is their biggest fan. It's not some pre-teen with braces.
  • The Property Virgins Audition Tape
We still don't know if we will get an episode, but at least we got this! Ps. I look Chinese?

If "laughter is the best medicine," then Tyler will keep me healthy for a long time! I feel like the luckiest girl alive to have someone to laugh with and to entertain me for life!
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Planning a Cross Country Road Trip

    As you may know, in less than a month we are moving across the country from San Francisco, California to Charlotte, North Carolina. As if getting ready for that wasn't crazy enough, we've decided to drive across the country. It was an on-and-off "yes, we're doing it" and "no, that's crazy" decision-making-conversation - but almost every adult we talked to [yes, I know we're technically adults] told us to "do it while you're young" so, last night we made the decision to go for it and started planning our once-in-a-lifetime trip!
    We have it set up so that the movers come the 23rd of April and we get our keys to the new place on May 9th. Since we're only in each apartment partial months, we've had each rate prorated and are using the "saved" amount as well as the price of what we would have spent on airline tickets as our budget for the trip. It also helps that we have Marriott points galore! Below is our tentative travel schedule with a few ideas - if you have any ideas to share, must-see places along the way, or [most importantly] food stops, we'd love to hear!

Tentative Schedule
[subject to change on a whim or a suggestion]

farewell to our first place together and home for the past 1.75 years
I will cry

the Griffith Observatory
Pink's Hotdog Stand and Lemonade for the last time [at least for a while]
maybe Disneyland California Adventure again if I can convince Tyler

hopefully Cirque and CSI: The Experience
shows and food and not losing money

Grand Canyon Skywalk Bridge

just a pit stop to rest

what's cool in this area?!

white sands

to grandmother's house we go
laundry and some yummy TX food!
visiting with family

French Quarter
begging to see all of the architecture and boring Tyler

pit stop to rest
and let's be honest, probably eating Chick-fil-A

Tyler's first official days of working on his new team - team meetings in HH
I will be relaxing on the beach after crossing the country and mentally preparing to unpack

home sweet, new, home
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// Be Mine //

    This Valentine's Day I received a heart bkr water bottle - which I wanted really bad - but still, nothing compares to the first Valentine I ever received from Tyler. The kid handmade the heart above,  came over to my house before school, waited for me to back out of the garage and asked me to be his Valentine. Cue 'awws'! The "E" is a little broken from the move, but it's still something I treasure. Not many high-school boys would go into Michael's before their shift at work and pick out craft supplies to hand make a Valentine for someone they'd only been dating six months.
    Despite the sweetness of our first Valentine's, this was probably one of my favorite Valentine's Days to date. So simple and relaxing! We ordered pizza, made our couch into a bed, baked cookies, and watched a DreamWorks movie on Netflix. I have to say, for being a kids movie, we both actually enjoyed "The Croods." Nicholas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, and Clark Duke had some funny 'prehistoric' characters. The animation was great, and I liked the combination animals such as flying turtles, alligator skunks, elephant mice, and what seemed to be an iguana tiger - to name a few. The animals seemed more futuristic despite the prehistoric background of the movie. Overall, it kept us entertained.

// Chinese New Year Celebrations //

    Saturday we went downtown to celebrate two of our friends' birthdays as well as to watch the Chinese New Year parade. San Francisco hosts one of the top ten parades in the world with this yearly event that draws thousands of viewers. I have no idea where the first half of that statistic is from other than one of our friends saying it at the parade, I can however vouch for the thousands of people in attendance! We arrived 2 hours before the parade was to begin and it was already crazy.
    If you're like Tyler and I, you're confused as to why we were celebrating Chinese New Year this late.. San Francisco has one of the largest Asian populations in the country, many of whom go home to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year with family. Hosting the parade two weeks later allows those who went 'home' time to get back and prepare for the parade.
    The parade was great but for some reason really slow.. it would keep stopping for some reason and it would take forever for the next float or band to come along. We ended up sitting inside a bar to watch the middle section and coming back out for what we thought was the end.. it ended about an hour after that point. With tired feet and empty stomachs, we grabbed the closest, most expensive, greasy pizza and headed to a friend's to eat. It was definitely an experience to remember! If you ever have the chance to go, I recommend watching towards the beginning of the parade - you'll be able to stand 1-2 rows back or even have front row as we did towards the end. Watching from where the parade ends in Chinatown guarantees you'll be smooshed up against other - multiple - people and probably won't be able to see much at all!
    Sorry for the awful pictures! A pro photographer I am not, and the lighting was terrible!
Left: Tyler, Right: My good friend Bri
    Hope you all had enjoyable Valentine's Days and Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the horse, fyi. Which is my year. Feel free to get me gifts throughout 2014.

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    This month of love, all Tuesday tips are about investing. Last week was "Invest in You," and still to come are, "Invest in Others" and "Invest in God."

Invest in the Ones You Love

    If someone asked you, "who do you love?" chances are that in your top 5 you'd have: your spouse [or significant other], your parents, your siblings, your kids, your BFFs, and [of course] your dog but he doesn't really count for this [we all know you already invest a lot of spoiling his direction]. Investing in the ones we love can be difficult sometimes. Many think that "investing" requires spending money, it doesn't [at least not much as you'll see]. Spending too much money can cause entitlement issues as Dave Ramsey's daughter Rachel Cruze points out in the article "Spoiled or Blessed". If you read the article, a snippet from their upcoming book, you'll see that everything comes down to attitude - are your gifts given with thoughtfulness in love or just given because you're conditioned to or feel you have to? Here are some ways to show the ones you love that you care about them not because you have to, but because you get to.
1. Send a Handwritten Note, Just Because
    I really can't tell you how much this means to someone to receive a handwritten note in this age of technology, but Discovering Hadley [the blog where I found the picture above] puts it this way:
"Is there anything more pleasantly surprising than going to the mail box expecting bills, solicitations, and maybe (if you’re lucky) a catalog from a company you like, and finding a handwritten note? We think not .. no matter how small, it can make your day or your week."
    If the person is someone you live with like a spouse or child, sending mail isn't practical, but Post-it notes are! I LOVE Post-its and have often used them around the house to leave Tyler little notes to let him know I'm thinking of him. I've also been known to sneak little notes in between his clothes when he leaves on a business trip. Handwritten notes are the perfect way to let someone know you're thinking of them on more than just holidays.
2. Mini Gifts, Just Because
photo credit: Flax and Twine
    So, maybe you can't knit, but if you have any crafty bone in you, I promise people will love homemade gifts. Maybe baking is your thing? People love food, too. Use your gifts to invest in others. A lot of times, handmade is less expensive [and almost always more thoughtful] to give. Can't think of something to make - Pinterest is always a good resource. Reeeeally struggling with this one [ahem, guys]? Bringing someone their favorite Starbucks drink just because is a plus. Doing anything "just because" is a big deal. It's nice to know someone cares about you - no ulterior motives or strings attached.
3. Turn Off the T's
photo credit: iStockphoto
    There's no better way to show someone that you're not invested in them, than by constantly being on your telephone, tablet, or watching TV. Turn it off! In a world overrun with technology, it's important to have some off time to connect with people on an emotional level. At our house, we have a no cell phones at the table rule. Meals are our time to connect with each other and go over the day ahead or reflect on our day's accomplishments together.
4. Remember Them
photo credit: Google search "Calendar"
    Don't forget important dates for the ones you love! Keep a calendar or list of the ones you love that includes their birthdays, graduation dates, weddings, job interviews, etc.! Even if you can't be there or can't afford to send a gift, sending a nice text or note lets them know you're thinking of them and they'll appreciate it! From personal experience, I can tell you how much it hurts to have a family member forget your birthday or not show up at your wedding.
A Big No-No.
    Something not to do when it comes to investing in the ones you love is gift-giving as an apology. Many will disagree with me on this but here are my thoughts on it:
    Gift-giving as an apology conditions the recipient to think that they will get something every time you do something wrong and they may start to nit-pick and find new reasons to be critical of what you're doing that "hurts their feelings" [consequently running you out of money]. See the link above for the Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze article - this is one of those things that could result in a spoiled child or spouse or friend, and cause you to be taken advantage of. I'm not saying don't take your kid out for ice cream to have a neutral ground to explain to him why you missed his baseball game, I'm just saying don't take him to Toys-R-Us.
    Something to also think about: how sincere is your apology if you're handing over a new diamond necklace at the same time? Are you truly sorry, or hoping the monetary value and shininess of the gift will cause them to overlook your wrong-doing?
Planning Ahead
    Above you can see how my husband and I plan ahead to invest in the ones we love and keep within a budget. Every month we put down birthdays and holidays that gifts should be purchased for. We also have an "extra" tab each month - money that can be used to be thoughtful unexpectedly by sending a card, or a mini gift, or extra cushion for wedding gifts, etc. The amount we use for each person is blocked out for obvious reasons, but our "extra" budget is only $10 a month. That $120 a year seems to cover most additional charges such as wedding and spontaneous gifts.
    The total amount we anticipate spending we take and divide by 12 [months] to see how much we should be budgeting per month even if it won't be used that month. The columns to the right ensure we don't forget anyone's special day or remind us that we already bought a gift for someone ahead of time.

    Investing in the ones you love - not just monetarily - is a sign of how much you care about them. Let them know you love and care about them often, not just around birthdays, holidays, and Valentine's Day. Be sincere in your giving and remember, you get what you give.

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