Cancun recap


As a gradation/Match gift in April, my mom and stepdad took Daniel and me to Cancun for a week! It was the first time any of us had been on a classic tropical beach vacation and we loved it!

We stayed in the hotel zone in Cancun, at a hotel with a beautiful white sand beach. Although it was a little noisy at night, it was a great location. We rode the city bus everywhere and found Cancun very easy to navigate. We didn’t get around to exploring much outside the city, but that just means we will have to return to see the rest of the Riviera Maya!

Some highlights from the trip:

The hotel


Since the hotel had such a pretty beach, we spent the majority of our time just laying out under the palapas (thatched beach umbrellas) in the chaise lounges. The perfect place to read a book, drink a beer, and work on getting a little bit tan.


My bikini is Gabifresh for Swim Sexy. Workin’ that fatkini!

We got our sunscreen and a styrofoam cooler filled with beer, and stayed out all morning most days. We did spend a little time in the water, but on the first day the waves knocked off my red heart sunglasses and they were gone forever.

IMG_9670Yeah, it’s like this every day.

Isla Mujeres


This little island just off the coast of the Yucatan is a 30-minute ferry ride from Cancun. We visited twice during our week in Mexico. The best part about La Isla was renting a golf cart and driving around the island (it’s really that small!)


Playa Norte, the beach at the north end of the island, is amazing, with the calmest blue waters we experienced on our trip. No photos of the playa because we were out swimming the whole time! We chose to rent an umbrella and beach chairs (about $15 for three of us for the day).


We visited a turtle sanctuary/farm on the island called Tortugranja. Admission was 30 pesos and a bag of turtle kibble was 10 pesos. It was so fun to feed the beautiful, feisty little turtles!


There was so much beauty on our trip, but I think our favorite spot was at the very southern tip of La Isla. This rocky spot is home to Mayan temple ruins as well as a modern sculpture garden. It is also the easternmost point in Mexico, the first place where the sun hits Mexico in the morning. It was rocky and wild and just beautiful.


IMG_9944We ended one of our days on La Isla with a lobster dinner at sunset on the beach.



We also had a lot of fun exploring Cancun using the bus system. The buses are fabulous – they cost 10.5 pesos (less than $1) and they run constantly. We never waited more than 3-5 minutes for a bus, usually less. They would also pick you up even if you weren’t at an official bus stop! During our whole week, we only took a cab once, because we were running late for a dinner reservation.

Some of the places we visited and plan to return to (sorry, there aren’t pictures for everything):


  • Spa Xbalamque – We visited the spa twice and were well-attended to both times. The space is clean, the staff are attentive (little or no English spoken here, btw), and the prices are cheap. Like, ridiculously cheap. On our first day, we each had 4 hours worth of services for about $100 USD per person (before tip). It was absolutely fabulous.


  • La Habichuela Sunset – An amazing old-school resturaunt with great food, incredible ambiance, and spectacular entertainment. During our 2 hour dinner, we saw an hour-long Mayan show, and were serenaded by two different mariachi bands. The restaurant is gorgeous, with a beautiful garden courtyard dining room. Unfortunately, I was suffering from a little bit of food poisoning + sunburn that night, so I can’t personally vouch for the food, but my dining companions said it was delicious and worth returning.


  • La Casa del Habano – This is a cigar shop in the hotel zone. I don’t smoke – not even a little – but my stepdad loved this place. They also have a bar and a deck overlooking the lagoon, where I enjoyed the best mojito of my life.
  • Peter’s Restaurant – This little restaurant is not in the hotel zone, doesn’t have a view, and is tucked away off of a noisy busy street. But we ate dinner here twice and would return again in a heartbeat. Peter’s is a family-run place serving European-Mexican fusion (the owner and chef Peter is Dutch). The food was wonderful, the service was fabulous, and it felt so welcoming. What a cool place.


  • Thai Cancun – We went to this restaurant on our first night and honestly, we’re not sure if we would return. On the one hand, the location is amazing – tables are situated in their own little private cabanas out on the lagoon. There are red lanterns everywhere lighting up the water. It is so cool-looking. But the Thai food was fairly bad, and to make it worse, this was definitely the most expensive meal we had during the whole trip. Still, it might be worth a return visit at sunset though – maybe just for drinks and appetizers?


  • Parque de las Palapas – I highly recommend venturing into Cancun proper, if only for an afternoon. Since we were already headed into the city center to get to the spa, we also dropped by El Parque de las Palapas (Park of the Umbrellas). This public square is nearly deserted during the day, but after 5pm, it comes alive with dozens of vendors and hundreds of people – mostly local families with children. This was my chance to enjoy all my favorite street foods, from sopes to elotes to churros. Daniel and Mom got themselves some giant chamoyadas, but I passed. I highly recommend visiting for a chill, low-key dinner and some great people-watching.




One thing is for sure – all four of us definitely plan to return to the Riviera Maya – and soon! I am currently in the process of securing my vacation time for next year. Once Daniel knows his spring break schedule, we may just have to start planning our triumphant return!

Thanks, Mom and Steve for the best vacation ever, and for being great travel companions! We love you!



Plans for the new house

I already have a million plans for updates and upgrades to our new house. Although we don’t know how long we will be living in Cleveland, we do know:

1). It will be at least four years – that’s a long time!
2). We want to make it a wonderful home for ourselves without cutting corners or having to “make do” with any existing problems.
3). Any upgrades we make are likely to come back to us in resale value if/when we do sell the house.

Not to disclose too much about the cost of the house or our personal finances, but the price of our home clearly reflects that it hasn’t been updated or particularly well-cared for in the past 10-15 years. Given the location (great neighborhood) and the condition of other homes on our block, lets just say that it is perfectly reasonable for a house like ours to sell for 20-40% more than we are paying, if and only if it is well-maintained and updated.

Which is all to say that I think we are in a good place where we can make the changes we want without worrying that we’re throwing away our money. The house is solid, safe, and perfectly charming as it is. We just want to bring it into this century!

So, the house is a 2 story (plus attic) 1920 colonial with detached 2-car garage and a big yard. Here is a brief outline of what we’re working with and what we’d like to do:




While that paint color leaves something to be desired, the south-facing front facade of the house is really pretty cute. Looking forward to sipping iced tea on that big porch! Soem landmarks: the front door opens into a small vestibule and then to the main hallway. The big window on the first floor is the living room. The windows on the second floor are two of the bedrooms, and the dormer window is the attic. the driveway runs along the left side of the house to the detached garage behind.

As far as changes to the front of the house, we would like to add a railing on the steps, for safety. We also need to backfill underneath the front porch to ensure that water flows away from the foundation. And in the near future, we will need to need to plan to replace the roof – no one knows how old it is, but it’s definitely getting to the end of its useful life. Better to replace it before a catastrophic leak!

I am interested to see what the yard is looking like by now – these photos were taken in March, before the trees leafed out. The big mature trees in our neighborhood mean that the house gets plenty of shade in the summer, but lots of sun through the bare branches in winter – an ideal setup. I am excited to do a little landscaping around the house for interest. I think some hostas would look beautiful and do well in the shade.


This weird panoramic view makes the garage look like it faces perpendicular to the back of the house.

In the back yard, we also have lots of shade trees that seem to be preventing the lawn from going strong. Which isn’t a problem, because Daniel and I really want to install a brick paver patio next to the house. (And we need to fix those ugly steps!) We would like the patio to be big enough to hold a grill and smoker, plus a dining area. And then I want to string up some cafe lights over the whole thing.

The back yard is narrow and deep. I think Walter will have a great time doing laps! And there is even a place for a hammock behind the garage. The yard is fenced in with ugly, rusting dilapidated chain link fence, but it is sturdy (safe for the dog) and honestly, it doesn’t bug me much. I think I’ll try to plant some kind of climbing vine like morning glory to conceal it. I can stomach saving up for a new roof and new furnace, but a privacy fence seems so not sexy (I guess we’ll see if I change my tune when we meet the neighbors!)

First floor:


Downstairs there is a spacious living and dining room, which we will pretty much leave alone. I love the wood floors and the simple but beautiful millwork. I will probably paint the walls, install a new lighting fixture in the dining room (down with those awful boob lights), and then just move our stuff in!

IMG_9441I love the window seat in the dining room. The seat lifts up to reveal storage underneath!

IMG_9435The foyer has some wacky wallpaper going on, but its not too bad and again, I think I can live with it for a little while. It does add some nice color and it’s in pretty good condition.


I do love the painted white woodwork. In fitting with the neo-colonial style of the house, the trim is very simple, without excessive curves or details (which would be more consistent with an earlier Victorian style). I especially love how the doorways look. I’m still learning all the architecture terms, but I believe this whole top thing is called the entablature, and that the three pieces of trim would be called, from bottom to top: the architrave, the frieze, and the cornice. Could be wrong though.

Many of the other original details have also been preserved, like the original lead-paned windows flanking the fireplace, and the original sashed windows behind the couch. Some changes have been made, such as adding new more efficient windows in the dining room and permanently stopping up the fireplace (fine with us!).


IMG_9442We were actually really happy to find the kitchen in this condition. While none of the components appears to be original to the house, the cabinets and sink are still fairly old, probably from the 60s. When we were house-hunting, we saw way too many houses that people were trying to flip, and they all had kitchens that were, frankly, disappointing. We are not really interested in the ubiquitous granite/brushed nickel fixtures/stainless steel appliances look that is the new “builder basic” these days. And we certainly didn’t want a cheap “flipper” version of it.

IMG_9443.PNG So we like the old oak cabinets, which are sturdy and simple. We can work with the galley kitchen layout which, while not ideal, is better than some weird “breakfast bar” layout that no one will ever use. We can definitely live with the kitchen as-is for now, and we have lots of plans for a beautiful, inexpensive remodel within the next year or so.

Second floor:

IMG_9446Upstairs there are 4 bedrooms and 1 bath. Unlike the first floor, it seems like things haven’t been as carefully maintained up here. The floors are ugly lumpy cheap beige carpet and there is quite a bit of slope (we have looked into it and are convinced the floor is structurally sound at least). I did peel back the carpet in several closets and it appears that the original hardwood floor is still under there! We plan to rip up all the carpet right away and get the floors refinished.

Also, while downstairs has all original moldings and doors, everything appears to have been ripped out upstairs sometime in the past. Currently, the second floor is just a series of beige boxes with cheap skimpy moldings and ugly hollow-core doors (hence why I didn’t feel the need to show you pictures of each and every room). Thankfully, with everything so well-preserved downstairs, I have the templates I need to re-create the millwork upstairs. As soon as the carpets are out and the floor is refinished, I will be replacing the door casings and baseboard with all new trim. I also plan to paint all the interior doors black (not as weird as it sounds).

There is also one bedroom that was apparently wallpapered and then painted over (seriously, what a rude surprise for the next owner!) so that will be a treat to take down.

All in all, we plan to take the first few weeks of June to make the upstairs beautiful and livable before we move in.


IMG_9448Although this space is “finished” with drywall, paint and carpet, it has no heating or cooling and therefore technically cannot be considered living space. It also doesn’t look nearly as nice up close as in photos – the intense thermal cycles that this room experiences have caused a lot of cracks and buckling.

We will be using the attic for storage, but since it’s not climate-controlled, it remains to be seen what we can safely store up here. In the future, we could consider adding baseboard heating and a window AC unit if we wanted to make the most out of the space. I think it would be a pretty cool guest room or music room/studio, don’t you?

Well, that’s pretty much it for a brief grand tour! I’ll continue to post more once we finally close on the house and are able to get started on some of these projects!

Let’s resurrect this blog!

Two and a half years is a long time to let this blog fall by the wayside. It’s too bad, because even though I sometimes find it difficult to create posts, I always, without exception, enjoy reading back at what I’ve written about. I need to remember that when it feels too hard or embarrassing to try to write.

In any case, although I can’t properly recap the last 30 months, I can quickly catch you up to where I am now. In May 2016, I am:

… a doctor (almost). I finished my last medical school requirement last Friday and I will graduate on June 3!

… Matched and employed! I matched into the obstetrics and gynecology residency program at the Cleveland Clinic.IMG_9334


… a homeowner! Daniel and I are buying a beautiful old house in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. We close on June 2.


We’re so excited to move to Cleveland and get started with the next phase of our lives. Hopefully, I will stick around here to document some of it. I’m especially looking forward to doing a little bit of renovating in our new house. It feels so different to know you can make changes to your home – I have so many ideas!

Until next time!

2013 in review

Given that this will only be my fourth blog post for the whole year, it is probably obvious that 2013 has been a busy year for me!

Professionally, this year has definitely been the best of my life. In the past 12 months, I have more than found my footing at med school. With the help and dedication of some amazing friends, we have successfully opened and operated a student-run free clinic since September. This project was conceived a little over a year ago, and the clinic has now been open and thriving for over three months!

Two med students practicing sutures on pigs' feet

Practicing before we treat any real patients!

This free clinic has opened so many doors for me – I have the amazing opportunity to work with so many students and faculty on this project. I really feel like I am doing important, meaningful work, and that I am respected by my peers and mentors for it. It is a wonderful feeling.

The second year of med school has also been so much more fun and interesting than first year. My classes are so much cooler and there is so much less “busywork”! My grades are much better this year than last year as well, which doesn’t hurt.

2014 is going to be another big year for me. The whole first half will be spend studying for “the boards”, the big USMLE Step 1 exam that I will take in June. Then, Daniel and I plan to move down to Chicago where I will start the clinical part of med school, my third year clerkships. I’m also working on a big project this spring with the goal of expanding the types of services we’re able to offer at the clinic.

But it hasn’t all been work, work, work! I have had a wonderful time with friends, family, and of course my two guys Daniel and Walter! Here is a little recap of 2013 in pictures:

In March, our friends Kaitlin and Chris came to visit, and we met up with Pamela and Javier in Chicago for a bite.

Grabbing pizza in Chicago, March 2013

Grabbing pizza in Chicago, March 2013

Then, in June, we traveled back home to Washington for a couple of weeks. We stayed at Kaitlin and Chris’s apartment in Seattle and explored our favorite city like we were tourists:

Me and Daniel on the Bainbridge ferry

Gotta wear that lifejacket!

Chris and Kaitlin at Tilth

Then we drove to Spokane for my sister’s wedding, which was lovely:

Megan and Shaun

Me and Daniel at my sister's wedding

Couples selfie

Then we settled down for a chill, relaxing summer at home in Waukegan:

We hosted a big 4th of July barbecue with with pulled pork and all the trimmings:
Backyard BBQ

We daytripped down to Chicago:

At Intelligentsia

Pamela visited for a few days later in July and we just hung out and bought matching “friend” watches (the brown one on the left):

Me and Pamela

Clocks on clocks on clocks

In August, we bought bikes and started commuting on them! I did the 13-mile round trip commute on my bike quite a few times until the weather got too cold, and I plan to start again in the spring.

New bike

In September, my mom visited, and she even went to school with Daniel and me each for a day! This is us at a school picnic where she was a big hit with all my friends:

Mom and me

Before we knew it, the holidays rolled around! We had a big Thanksgiving this year, with 14 people at our house, including Pam and Javier, plus a bunch of people from med school. Daniel outdid himself again (well, I helped a little,) and Pamela generously provided flowers for me to arrange and play with (one of my favorite things to do, but I always feel guilty about how much flowers cost). Everyone had a great time and left with full bellies.

Thanksgiving with friends

Cranberry-blueberry pie

Thanksgiving flowers

Thanksgiving with friends

Which brings us to Christmas. This was our very first Christmas away from our families. Daniel and I kept it very homey and cozy and just focused on being with each other.

Christmas cookies

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

Christmas Day dessert

Enjoying snow and sunshine

Wearing my Christmas scarf and pin

Modeling his new Christmas gifts

We still have a few more days until we go back to school, so we’re getting ready to tackle 2014 with our usual energy. As you might have heard on Facebook already, Daniel and I will be eating vegetarian for the month of January, as an experiment more than anything.

Here’s hoping that you had a great 2013 and that your 2014 is looking even better!

First visit to the Bean

My bedroom


As much as I love the black paint in our bedroom (FYI, this is the gross color of the room before I painted), I haven’t always loved the room itself. For a long time, it wasn’t finished and it just wasn’t how I wanted it to be.

About two years ago, Daniel and I decided to build a big headboard as a “Do It Together” activity. But we ran into so many problems that we all but abandoned the project. Turns out, button tufting is a huge pain in the ass and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I’ve come to realize that tufting is an upholstery project that you should always just take to a professional. It would have cost us less grief AND less money just to have someone else do it.

Fish scales

BUT, since we had already sunk the money into the foam, fabric, and button-covering kits, PLUS we already paid to have the movers bring it from Seattle with our furniture, we decided we finally needed to make this work. I’m about to start a really busy year of school, after which we will be moving into Chicago. The thought of shame-moving a giant unfinished craft project for a second time was finally enough to overcome our apathy. It took about a full week of dedicated work and a few minor arguments, but we finally got this thing finished and hung!


Another challenge in the bedroom was the bed. We bought a king-size platform bed from Overstock when we moved to Capitol Hill (Seattle) two years ago. It wasn’t the best quality, but it was what we could afford and it was really important to us to have a king bed. It worked just fine in our old apartment, but when we moved here, the uneven, slippery hardwood floors became a problem. The little legs that hold up the support beam that runs down the center of the bed kept falling down. Quite honestly, it usually occurred during nighttime activities, which was a double bummer.


For the past few months we’ve resorted to propping up the beam with piles of cookbooks, but we needed a permanent solution. So on Tuesday Daniel and I went to Home Depot, bought a 4×4 post, and had a guy cut it down into 8 squat, stable little legs. We used wood glue and screws to attach the legs to the support beam and now the bed is so stable. Hooray!

Sometime in the next year or so, we need to replace our junky old Ikea mattress, but for now, I am feeling pretty good about the bedroom. Good enough to finally take some photos.


Keep in mind this is the ONLY time this room has ever been this clean.

And here are a few panorama shots since it’s hard to get perspective when you’re shooting in a small room (click to embiggen):

Bedroom panorama

Bedroom panorama

Cozy, right?

Happy birthday little buddy!

Our Walter turns 4 today!

Happy birthday Walter!

Technically, we don’t know when his exact birthday is, but today is the second anniversary of the day we brought him home. It may seem silly, but he is the light of our lives. What a funny, snuggly, sweet little dog.

Wally celebrated with some stew beef and brown rice. And he even let me put the hat on him!

When we adopted him, the shelter said Walter was two years old. Which means that as of today(ish), he has spent more of his life with us in his “forever home” than he ever spent in his past life. And while we don’t know any details of his past, I will say that whoever gave him up must have had to be some sort of monster, because he is just the best dog in the world.

Wally would like to remind you that if you want to honor him for his birthday, the greatest gift you can give is to consider adopting a shelter dog when you get your next pet. I think this little sweetheart is more than enough evidence that shelter dogs are as good as, nay better than, dogs that have been bred or sold for profit.

Just look at him, proud member of the Clean Plate Club!

Clean plate club

Happy birthday Walter!

We love you so much Walter!

Birthday snuggles

8 months in one post

I have not blogged in forever! Why have I not blogged for 8 months? Because I am a fuck. Thankfully, I have been taking pictures. So quickly, here are some of the things that have happened in the past year that I never wrote about:

Exactly one year ago in late July 2012 Daniel, Walter and I road-tripped across the country from Seattle, Washington to Waukegan, Illinois. These photos were taken at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming:

Daniel and Walter at Devil's Tower, WY

Me and Walter at Devil's Tower, WY

Once we arrived in Illinois, we had a ton of free time until our stuff arrived, so we painted our bedroom black. Benjamin Moore Onyx, to be precise. It is a lovely, sooty black and I will definitely be using it again in future apartments. Our landlord just about had a heart attack when he saw it.

Paint is Black Onyx by Benjamin Moore

On August 6th, 2012, we celebrated Walter’s 3rd birthday with a cute hat, some poached chicken, and homemade froyo. Our stuff still hadn’t come yet.

Happy 3rd birthday, Walter!

A few days later, I had my white coat ceremony. If you’ve never heard of it, the white coat ceremony is a med school rite of passage where you receive the short white coat of a medical student and then you take the Hippocratic Oath. It was pretty cute, but Daniel couldn’t come, so I felt very alone. You can see from this awkward picture that I didn’t know anyone yet and was feeling very shy. A year later though, I’m friends with almost everyone in that photo!

White coat ceremony

(Fun fact: when we got our coats, we each had to stand up and say one thing that we are “bringing to medicine”. 10 points if you can guess what I promised to bring!)

We finally got settled into our new apartment and I took a few crappy photos:

Living room

Living room


Looks pretty much the same as our last apartment, doesn’t it? Even the gray paint in the main room is almost the same shade – Benjamin Moore Stone Harbor.

And then school started and it was all about the studying (which is also ostensibly my excuse for not blogging).

Studying hard

It wasn’t all work and no play, though – my bestie Pamela and her boyfriend Javier visited in September for a few days and we toured the Few Distillery in Evanston. If you’ve never toured a bourbon distillery before, you have to try it! Everything smalls like warm toasty vanilla.

Me and Pamela at Few Spirits distillery

In October, we visited a pumpkin patch with new friends Svetlana and Jenny (med students like me).

Svetlana takes the lead!

Jenny racing

For Halloween, Wally was a lobster again, (but this year I think he wants to be a bumblebee):

Walter the lobster Walter the lobster

Walter the lobster

One big thing that happened this past year was us hosting our very first Thanksgiving. 2012 was the first year of our whole lives where we didn’t have the time or the money to travel back to Spokane for Thanksgiving. We hosted 8 people (also med students who couldn’t travel home) and everything went great. I’ll save the photos of that for now, because I want to do a whole separate post on that.

2012 was our second year with a real Christmas tree, and this time we decided to go all the way out to the farm and cut it ourselves. We all got bundled up:

All bundled up

And chose our tree.

Christmas tree hunting

Christmas tree acquired!

It looked beautiful up and decorated, but it didn’t smell as fragrant as 2011’s tree. I don’t remember for sure, but I think this was a Canaan fir. I think this year we will try for a better-smelling variety, even if the needles aren’t as soft.

O Tannenbaum

In December 2012 Daniel and I also celebrated our 10th dating anniversary! We celebrated on the 13th with flowers and champagne:

Anniversary champagne

December 13th, 2012

Followed by a romantic dinner and a night at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.


Later in January, we got dressed up and went into the city again for Dance for Diabetes, a charity event put on by the podiatry program at my university. Everyone looked fabulous and had a great time:

Dance 4 Diabetes

After the new year, I held a very special Galentine’s Day luncheon for all my favorite med school ladies. I want to do a separate post on that, but it involved pretty decorations:

Working on a fun tassel garland!

After February, school stuff really started to take over and apparently I didn’t take any pictures. Our amazing friends Chris and Kaitlin flew all the way out from Seattle to visit in March, but I can’t find a single photo! (To be fair, we did spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, drinking wine and playing Settlers of Catan, so I’m not sure how great those photos would have been).

But this summer has been great and I have plenty of stuff from the past few months to share with you soon!

Goodbye 2012!

Well, despite the fact that 2012 was the worst year ever for this blog, it was a pretty good year for me in real life!

I started off 2012 with my best friends Kaitlin and Pam at a raging party at Miss K’s house (no photos of that, thankfully). Daniel and I also rescued a stray dog last New Year’s Eve, and reunited him with his owners on New Year’s Day.

Here is a picture of me and my bestie Kaitlin at our last dinner party in Seattle:

Kaitlin and me

In Spring 2012, I traveled to several medical school interviews, and on May 1, I was accepted to Rosalind Franklin University! Just three months later, Daniel, Walter and I packed up all our belongings and road-tripped to our new home in Waukegan, Illinois. We were incredibly sad to leave our adopted hometown of Seattle, and our best friends Kaitlin and Chris. But after spending 3 years in a dead-end job, I was so happy to finally be going to medical school.

Me and my bestie Pamela when I was in Illinois to find and apartment:

Pamela and me

For the past 4 months, I have been pretty much living the dream, being a full-time med student, while Daniel has also been living his dream of being an elementary school general music teacher. We have a lovely home (which I know I owe everyone pictures of, sorry!) and lots of great new friends. Our neighbors are wonderful and they adore Walter.

Daniel and I hosted our first-ever Thanksgiving in our home this year. We had 10 people over for a fantastic feast. And 2 weeks ago, Daniel and I went down to Chicago for the weekend to celebrate 10 years together as a couple:


2012 has been a great year. A year with lots of change, some difficult, but most happy. Honestly, I don’t know if 2013 can top it, but I am looking forward to the future. Yes, even the surprises!



new blog theme

So I decided to change the look and theme of the blog a little – hope you like it!

I also had to change the blog title, obviously, since we’re moving away from Seattle. This is like when I was 13 and I signed up for a Yahoo! email address as folara13. I guess I thought I would never age? Or maybe I wanted to memorialize myself at age 13 or something. Either way, I apparently didn’t learn my lesson, because when I started this blog six years ago (!) I never imagined living anywhere but Seattle.

pictures of the new apartment

Here are some pictures of our new place. Of course I realized the second we drove away that these photos are terrible and make no sense. Plus I forgot to take pictures of some really important things, like the entire balcony/porch.

Here is a little floor plan drawing of the unit. First thing as soon as we move in, I am going to measure every room and draw up an actual scale floor plan. Then I’m going to cut out tiny little couches and tables and beds and go to town arranging them on my little paper grid. Because I am cool like that.

Floor plan

Anyway, you can see the apartment has kind of an interesting layout – the third bedroom is tucked in the back without direct access to the hallway. You have to either walk through the second bedroom or the bathroom to get out. I’m not sure why it was laid out that way, but I can tell you that every single apartment we looked at had some kind of weird layout quirk…

The apartment is very clean and freshly renovated with new paint and refinished floors, which is nice. The ceilings and baseboards are painted an OK white semi-gloss, but the walls are just a gross yellowish off-off-white. We’re planning to repaint just about everything.

Ok, here is the living room. The window faces east. I think we’ll put the couch on the right against the wall and the shelving unit on the left wall. The whole room, along with the dining room, is going to be painted a nice soft gray, just a touch warmer than the color in our current apartment. I hate vertical blinds, so we will probably pull them permanently off to the side and cover the whole apparatus with curtains. I’m thinking floor-to-ceiling curtains on a hospital track.

Living room

And here is the dining room – it is open to the living room and the window faces west onto the balcony. We’ll obviously put our dining table here, as well as the china hutch. The air conditioner will live here in the summer too. I also want to get rugs for the dining and/or living rooms. And the ceiling fan is hideous. The part of me that has lived in Seattle for the past 7 years wants to chuck it, but I know we’ll rely on it to cool the apartment down. Maybe we can replace it with an inexpensive but more attractive model. Ceiling fans aren’t that expensive, right?

Dining room

This is the kitchen (with a gas stove for Daniel!) We are going to get a stainless steel kitchen work table from the restaurant supply store to go against the opposite wall.


Daniel is so excited to have a bigger kitchen with lots of counter space and cabinets. The upper cupboards are are original 1960s aluminum cabinets. The whole kitchen is that ugly yellowish color but we will probably just live with it for now. What should we put in that weird little corner area (besides the weird grass-filled cornucopia, which is staying, obvs)?


The master bedroom has windows facing east and south and a big double closet. I like that all of the floors, woodwork, and doors are original to the unit. You can’t see them, but the sliding closet doors are the original wood color, which I like so much more than if they had been painted or (horrors) replaced with cheap mirrored closet doors. This place is definitely mid-century.

Master bedroom

We plan to paint the bedroom something really dark – either black or deep deep blue. Both the room and Waukegan get so much light that we’re not worried about it seeming like a cave in there. It’s going to look great.

Here is the second bedroom, which will become my office. It also faces south and has the smallest closet.

Second bedroom - my office

I’m planning to paint it some shade of gray and then fill it with white bookshelves and a huge white lacquered desk. The closet will become my craft supply storage area. Daniel can have, like, a laptop charging area and a bookshelf. But the rest of the room is all mine.

Second bedroom - my office

Second bedroom/office into hallway

I’m really excited to have a space all to myself that’s big enough for me to craft and do school work in. I figure, the reason we’re in Waukegan is for me to go to school, so let’s really go all out here and dedicate a room to my studies. In the past, our shared office spaces have just gotten too cramped and cluttered for either of us to work. Plus, Daniel will get a desk at work.

Ok, so next is the bathroom. Compared to our last two apartments, this bathroom is huge. There’s, like, 2 feet of space in between the tub and the sink, and the sink and the toilet. And they didn’t have to cut out a piece of the door to fit around the toilet bowl! I’ve always been proud of Daniel’s and my ability to successfully share tiny bathrooms, but needless to say, this is going to be a nice upgrade.


So the tub is blue and the walls are tiled to half-height in white with a brown border:


In order to pull it all together I bought this shower curtain, which is gorgeous in person.

Shower curtain

We’re also going to paint the upper portion of the walls a bright jewel tone green – like a kelly or emerald.

And finally, here is the third bedroom, destined to be the guest room. I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do in here yet – it will probably make a pretty good landing pad for random crap for a little while. But we are buying my friend Kaitlin’s bed and hauling it all the way to Chicago, so this room will definitely become a guest room eventually. It just might take a little time.

Third bedroom - guest room



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