An Update and Big Plans

W and I are proud to announce that we are almost homeowners! Everything will be official soon, but until then I should probably explain how we have arrived at this point.

During the month of June, I traveled home to Texas for a family beach trip and some time in my hometown. The first week of my trip was on Mustang Island, which is outside of Corpus Christi, and is home to a small town named Port Aransas. Our week at the beach consisted of rest, relaxation, amazing food, and a surprise baby shower for my sister Elizabeth (I’m going to be an aunt!).

W stayed in Birmingham working and taking care of the pups. We had been working on preparations to look for and buy a house before I left and sure enough all of the puzzle pieces fell into place right as my vacation began. W spent a few evenings with our realtor looking at houses in Homewood and wasn’t very impressed. Come mid-week we received a new listing email from our realtor that featured a cottage in Homewood’s Edgewood neighborhood. The pictures were impressive so W and the realtor arrange a showing appointment as soon as possible. After the showing I received a call from our realtor who explained that W was ready to buy a house without me. (She wanted to play devil’s advocate since I hadn’t been there in person.)

I assured W that surely it could wait a few days – he just needed to cool his jets. However, let me say that two weekends prior every.single.house we had an interest in went under contract. The Homewood area is still so desirable that its real estate market is fast-paced. Great homes move quickly. After showing my entire family the listing photos and virtual tour at the beach, everyone took W’s side and agreed that this house will not last through the weekend.

W and I agree that he can put an offer on a house I haven’t even seen as long as it is contingent on the inspection. My family beach trip wraps up and we head to my hometown so I can have more time with sisters and my parents. During these few days, W keeps me updated on negotiations and schedules the inspection for the day after I fly back to Birmingham. After flight delays and a piece of luggage lost, I arrive home at midnight and I’m due to be at the house bright and early the next morning.

Inspection day is super hot. I arrive at the house with my own camera, iPhone, notepad, pen and a 25 ft tape measure. I was so nervous because what if I absolutely hated it?! Who lets their husband buy a house?! I was also excited because I thought it had potential from the photos and virtual tour.

You enter this cute Homewood cottage through a screen door that leads to a screened porch.

Homewood, AL screened porch

Not a bad start. I take measurements of the room and hope that I like everything else as much as the porch. Once I recorded my measurements, I entered into the living room.

Homewood, AL living room with hardwood floors

Can you even believe the hardwood floors? Again I was really happy with what I had seen so far!

I walked through every room, one-by-one, taking measurements and recording them for my future reference. Heck if this was the house I was going to have a lot of planning to do!

Needless to say every room had its perks and I understood why W had to act without me. 🙂 The inspector was very thorough and helpful. He gave us a few things to consider/negotiate and we decided that we would negotiate since we loved the house. I should explain at this point that I have a history working in real estate and I am licensed in Georgia. Our thoughts at this point were: Should we negotiate on the sale price? Negotiate on closing costs? Or negotiate that the sellers’ must fix it or we walk?

The answer to that question depends on your personal situation. We decided that if the sellers’ could cover closing costs, then we could use our funds to make the appropriate repairs.

After more successful negotiations, we were under contract! Since that day I have been making big plans for every room on Pinterest. You can follow me here or follow our house board here. Once the closing is complete, I will show everyone the facade. I can’t wait!

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Our First Anniversary

Time flies when you’re having fun, right?! I cannot believe it has been one year since our perfect celebration… it seems like yesterday!

our_wedding_toast

W and I wanted to celebrate our first anniversary with an enjoyable dinner out on the town and the traditional first anniversary gift of paper. Many of the nice restaurants in Birmingham are closed on Monday evenings so we actually started our celebration Saturday evening, where we had a reservation at Hot & Hot Fish Club. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of my food or drinks (due to a new self-imposed rule of no phone at meals) but I can assure you everything was spectacular! I don’t know who tends the bar at Hot & Hot but oh.my.goodness my cocktails were good. The cocktail menu had so many appealing choices that I ended up trying three different varieties over the course of our evening. 😉

We also thoroughly enjoyed the food. W ordered one of their classics: Loin of Rabbit Stuffed with Fennel Sausage on Sweet Corn Puree with Field Peas, Heirloom Tomatoes and Baby Okra. I ordered the simple grilled fish, red snapper, because the Gulf red snapper season started on Friday. How’s that for a fresh catch? The Gulf Red Snapper was served with Tomato, Avocado, Grilled Vidalia Onions and Basil-Lime Vinaigrette. Following our entrees, we ordered an after-dinner libation to compliment our dessert, Elton’s Chocolate Soufflé with Crème Anglaise and Whipped Cream.

We had a wonderful evening and I highly recommend Hot & Hot!

Hot and Hot Fish Club on Urbanspoon

Last night was our actual anniversary and we decided to celebrate at home with W’s famous spaghetti, a bottle of wine and gifts. W’s famous spaghetti is an adaptation of this spaghetti all’amatriciana from foodnetwork.com. We like it spicy so he basically follows the directions, but puts in a tbsp of red pepper.

After dinner we swapped our paper gifts. I am a stationery fiend and love to have personalized notepads in practically every room. W noticed that all of them either have my first name only or they include my maiden name and I still use them. No more though! He gave me four notepads with my new name on them.

First Anniversary Gift Ideas: Paper

I tried thinking of something besides stationery for W. I fatefully found a watercolor print on etsy that I knew he would treasure!

Etsy Seller DogArtStudio Watercolor Print of Labrador Retriever

Etsy Seller: DogArtStudio

Getting to Know You

DISCLAIMER: I found this post sitting as a draft when I thought I had posted it live…weeks ago. But we are definitely still getting to know the Magic City so without further ado…

Well we haven’t been in Birmingham long but the storm of moving has passed. Not a single box remains in our apartment, although our storage unit is a different story. The pups made their adjustment and actually l.o.v.e. our new place. W and I enjoy driving around somewhat aimlessly while getting to know the city.

One thing that Birmingham is very proud of is its culinary scene. We are excited to have more options available and we didn’t really know where to start. We want to try as many places as possible but we are also trying to cook at home more often than we eat out. In my mind this translates to cooking on week nights and going out during the weekend.

We have also been exploring because our current apartment is temporary. Sometime in the fall the entire complex will be demolished so that a new luxury development can start building. We have been trying to get to know different neighborhoods so that we can choose a place to make more permanent. Right now our favorite seems to be Homewood. Why?

1. Convenience. No matter where we have lived previously, we have always rented in an ideal location. We really enjoy walking to as many places as possible and having simple commutes. Homewood is convenient to W’s office, downtown, and many other neighborhoods in B’ham.

Homewood AL Edgewood neighborhood

An example of a home for sale in Homewood. Photo credit: Realty South

2. Comfort. Homewood feels very comfortable, safe, and is just really darn cute. We love the tree lined streets with plenty of sidewalks, the parks, and the older houses. Finding a house with a yard is definitely on our list of things to do – the pups would greatly benefit.

3. Commerce. Homewood has a great amount of shops and restaurants. The boutiques are fab and most of the restaurants we have tried were keepers. You really wouldn’t need to leave unless going to the Apple Store at The Summit (but this isn’t far away either).

I plan on trying to blog about our favorite restaurants and other unique finds in the city. Hopefully I can find a better blogging routine before we need to move again. You just never know…