The Literal Grapes of Wrath

2019 sucks. It has been a hard year and it’s only April, so if that’s any indication of how the next 8 months are going to go, I will just go throw myself off a bridge right now and save myself the trouble. Obviously, I wouldn’t really do that, but God almighty, it’s been rough these last four months.

I am by no means a superstitious person, but I’m tracking all of this horrendous bad luck to New Year’s Eve. As part of Spanish tradition, we eat 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the year on this night; starting at 11:59:48, if you get all 12 grapes down, you are supposed to have good luck all 12 months of the new year. In the past, I of course have not been able to eat all 12, and some years I’ve eaten them all and didn’t win the lottery or anything. There was one year where my mom bought grapes that were the circumference of silver dollars, and needless to say, we all almost choked and got nowhere near finishing 12 grapes. We’ve done this every year, even on years when we’re apart or at a party somewhere (yes, I’ve taken a sandwich baggie of 12 grapes over to people’s houses for NYE parties). You just don’t break tradition.

This year, Timmy and I celebrated at our home in St. Pete after a winter break of driving all over the place, like always. We began December with a trip to the Bahamas with our good friends who were escaping the Chicago winter. I ended up having a 24 hour stomach bug the last day there.

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Then over the winter break in Atlanta, I had a terrible cold and needed my weight in Sudafed and went through 2 boxes of tissues. We took a quick trip to NC with our good friends Mathew and Lucie and enjoyed a lot of time with family.

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Then NYE came upon us when that terrible thing happened and it’s been a rapid descent into hell on earth since then.

Timmy and I both do the grapes tradition on NYE. Usually I can at least get them in my mouth, if not fully swallowed and digested, which is close enough. This year, I wasn’t able to get 4 down. They were just sitting in the sandwich bag, mocking me. I immediately said (after swallowing the 8 I had been able to eat), “Shit, I’m going to have a really bad 4-months in 2019!” 

No truer words have ever been spoken in the history of ever.

A few weeks into January, I got a concussion. I was in our work break room, moving food for an event from the freezer to the fridge when I stood up and my head went right into the bottom of the freezer door. I’m almost passed out and immediately felt nauseated. The next day, I had a conference in DC. My second day of the conference, I started to slur my words, speak slowly, and had basically no ability to focus or concentrate, so I made my way to the ER. 45 minutes later, I was diagnosed with a head injury (no shit) and was discharged. That lovely bill came later and with insurance, I (now my worker’s compensation) owe nearly $700…for 45 minutes. Insane. I did get to see some of my friends so there was a wonderful upside to that trip, but the conference was kind of a bust. 

The next few weeks, we were able to see some friends at Disney and Anna Maria, and finally got to see Hamilton for Timmy’s birthday (which totally lived up to the hype, it was that incredible). Honestly, I’ve been so underwater this semester from working full time, teaching class, and taking 6 credits online, I can’t really remember many details from visiting with our friends in the first place. Add in that concussion, and let’s just say it was all really fun.

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I recovered over the next few weeks and in February, nearly a month to the day of the first concussion, I got yet another concussion.

I’m not kidding you. Timmy and I were attempting to go paddleboarding but it was an extremely windy day. I was on the driver’s side of the car when Timmy tried to lift the top paddleboard off my car and the wind took it from there, right into the backside of my head. In what should’ve been complete whiplash, I fell to the ground and couldn’t really move much. A kind stranger witnessed the whole thing, and while Timmy rushed to secure back the paddleboards so they didn’t fly off again, she stayed with me and eventually helped me walk back, very shakily, to the car. I didn’t have to go to the ER then because I was still recovering from the first concussion, so any additional symptoms would’ve been same ole same ole at that point.

My immediate reaction on the car ride home was, “God, I don’t want to be dumb.” After all the concussions and CTE news, I was and am still pretty concerned that after surviving an entire childhood with no concussions, I have had 3 in 6 years (2 from paddleboards, oddly enough). I can’t deal with memory loss, lowered intelligence, and random bursts of anger, y’all, I got stuff to accomplish!

Then the last Monday of February, which was the beginning of Spring Wellness Week, a week of wellness-related events that I’m completely responsible for, I woke up at 3 am with what I thought was food poisoning. As the day wore on and I was unable to go to work, I realized that something about this was different.

If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know it’ll be gone in 24 hours and it has you wishing for death. A trip anywhere other than the bathroom is not to be attempted nor could it be without you vomiting and/or shitting your pants. However, I ended up in the ER again for what we think now was a stomach virus that had me in tears, doubled over in pain from muscle spasms in my upper abdomen due to all the heaving and purging. The entire week after, I couldn’t eat anything but bland foods and soup (which I can’t stand) and my intestines were so distended, I looked 5 months pregnant.

All of this should’ve been enough, right? Like any normal person would’ve been greatly affected by just one of these things happening, let alone all 3 in 2 months.

But I’m not done yet.

Two weeks later, we went to Panama with my entire family for spring break. We were able to see so much of my dad’s side there, and honestly it was a great trip. The timing was horrendous though because I had been spending most Sundays up until then back in my office, trying to catch up on schoolwork, and Timmy really needed to be in the states for his work. But all in all, throw in hotel upgrades in Panama City and again in Buenaventura (this time, to a 4 bedroom villa that could’ve housed everyone), it really was a super fun time.

We took a 9-hour tour that took us on a boat on the Panama Canal, fed some monkeys on Monkey Island, saw the Fort of San Lorenzo, walked across one of the locks of the Panama Canal, and witnessed a large ship crossing through the Agua Clara locks of the Canal. I remember when I was much younger watching the Panama Canal ship crossing and not really being super into it, but now as an adult, that thing is an engineering marvel and really interesting to see in person.

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The rest of March passed by hitting my allergies HARD. I have never bought so much Sudafed (and I’m talking the meth-making kind), Mucinex, and tissues IN MY LIFE COLLECTIVELY than in the last 6 months. I couldn’t breathe, sleep was a distant memory, I was sneezing every 5 minutes, and then the drainage…Oh the drainage.

Then April hit, and the shitstorm just kept rolling. I am on Marco Polo with a bunch of my grad school girlfriends and while they were all marveling at my ridiculous string of bad luck, I told them, “What’s the worst that can happen from here on out? A bone break?”

OMG I WAS SO WRONG.

Two weeks ago, someone hacked my Amazon account and reloaded my gift card balance using my credit card to $100, no doubt to use the gift card balance themselves. I caught this, and Amazon removed it. I went on a few days later after changing my password and bought a few things, not realizing that those items had been charged to my newly uploaded gift card balance AGAIN. Apparently, they rehacked my account after the password change, but I used up the balance before they could.

Then, I woke up last Tuesday morning to 25 emails from Amazon, each thanking me for purchasing Playstation gift cards in various amounts from $25 to $50 through the night, totaling almost $400 worth of charges. Even though this dumbass dude (and yes, I’m saying it’s a man) used my Decatur billing address AND the fact that I’ve never purchased anything Playstation related in the close to 15 years I’ve been on Amazon, the dude got his gift cards and spent the amounts quickly because you receive the redemption codes upon purchase.

Another thing this asshole did was use my account to upload trade-in items. I guess when you trade-in items on Amazon, you get paid immediately for them, which is what he used to transfer to my gift card balance and used them right away. I started getting emails saying that I had 16 days to send in the trade-in items, but guess what…I don’t actually have any of those items. So I had to spend an entire morning with Amazon, making sure my account was labeled as unauthorized use, and closed down temporarily for 2 days, after which I could create a new password and start using it again.

I have to admit, the hacker used a brilliant tactic to ensure that he got free stuff and never had it tracked back to him because guess what is nonrefundable on Amazon? Gift cards and gaming purchases!

At this point, I’m sure you’re thinking, “God damn Victoria, that’s enough! I hope your string of bad luck has ended!”

BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Last Thursday, while Timmy was traveling for work, I was really really wanting ice cream so I got in my car with Floyd to satisfy my late evening craving. As soon as I started the car, I, without thinking, reached down to close the garage door as I was backing out. Yes, I have sensors to stop the door, but my tires hadn’t reached them yet. By the time I realized what I had done and quickly put my car in forward drive, the garage door clipped the top of my car and bent the bottom panel, pulling the door off the tracks.

Almost about to cry, I thought to myself, “Fuck it. I already broke it. Ice cream, I’m coming for you!”

The next day, I had one of those national garage companies come to give me an estimate, and as soon as I saw these young, smug, white dudes walk up, I knew they were going to tell me I needed a new garage door. They quoted me $1000 for a new door that would’ve looked nothing like Timmy’s garage door, which obviously wouldn’t have worked, especially because of our HOA. So in essence, they were telling me I needed to pay $2000 for 2 new garage doors. I told them no, and as soon as they left, I called this other guy I had used once before when I bent the upper panel of my garage door (it was right after we moved in. Again, my fault, because I didn’t park my car in far enough). He came 1 hour later, fixed it in 1 hour and it was $175.

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My quick thinking at least saved me from a moronic sales pitch. I like to imagine that without 2 concussions, I would never have broken the door in the first place, so let’s leave it at that.

I left my Amazon account alone for nearly 6 days, and then I changed my password this Monday. Lo and behold, not even 5 hours later, during my evening class, I got an email thanking me for the $10 Xbox gift card purchase and redemption I had done! So yet, again, I had to spend more time with Amazon doing the exact same thing as before.

Suffice it to say, I haven’t gone on Amazon since.

April, you have 2 more weeks. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. These grapes of wrath have taken their toll on me, and I’m the most overwhelmed, moody, and stressed I’ve ever been in my life (wedding planning not included bc I wasn’t also hit with a bunch of medical issues during it). Like I said, I’m not superstitious, but 4 grapes not eaten, 4 horrific months of 2019…there has to be a connection and I’m over it.

I turn 36 in two and a half weeks, and all I’m wishing for at this point is no more head injuries. Happy. birthday. to. me.

♥, VB

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April/May Fun Brings on the Rain

I love this time of year. It’s when classes end and I get a break! Don’t get me wrong, I love my students, and the overwhelming amount of enjoyable interactions far outweigh the tiny few negative ones. There are just those that get to you deep down, and thank god classes are done for a bit for me!

I still work full time in the summer, and though it’s a break from teaching, it’s not a break at all. We’ve hired 2 new staff members, 1 of which I will be supervising full time. So we have to onboard and create brand new policies and procedures for these new positions, so it’ll take a lot of time for those conversations and planning to happen. I also have to still do outreach and programming for campus, so in reality, it never really ends.

But that’s ok because I love what I do. And I can’t complain about that.

This has been a pretty eventful semester (not that most semesters haven’t been) but the biggest news is that I will be attending the USF Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) program starting this fall. It was a big decision and it was one I had wrestled with for a while. I always knew I wanted to continue my education but was so burned out after my Master’s program that I put any ideas of attending school out of my head for a long time. I’ve never been interested in getting a PhD because I don’t want to do research nor have a job that is tied to my amount of research.

What’s great about a DrPH is that 1) I can continue to work full time (which in most PhD programs you have to quit or go part-time) because the point is to apply what I’m learning in real time; 2) it’s like the other side of the PhD. They do the research and we apply that research in real life and make sure it’s being implemented and evaluated and being advocated for in leadership positions; 3) I get to further my career with an advanced degree that fits perfectly with what I want to be doing.

Another bonus is that my job will pay for it, so the cost for me will be completely minimal. Who could turn that down??

Oh man, I’m freaking out a little bit though because life around here is going to change big time. I remember how studious and non-procrastinating I was in graduate school and that was the main thing that kept me from losing my mind. But I only had 2 part time jobs at the time and very minimal responsibilities. It’s completely different now with a house, dog, husband, and full time job. So word to the wise people: if you haven’t visited us yet, do it this summer before the offer expires in September and I lose all ability to properly host someone.

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April

Other than my upcoming academic career, life around here has been excellent. We had our porch rescreened in April and have really enjoyed being able to use both the upstairs and downstairs porch without fear of being eaten alive by mosquitoes (even though, let’s face it, it will happen to me a million times this summer, without fail). My parents gave us their old hammock, and we’ve put it downstairs and it’s a dream. Privacy, fountain sounds, crickets chirping at night…well, if I haven’t made it clear in the past, WE LIVE IN A VACATION.

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We also had Timmy’s mom and stepfather visit us for the first time in our new house and we showed them a good time the only way we know how: by drinking, eating well, and going to the beach! It was their 5th wedding anniversary and so we treated them to dinner and dessert at Bern’s steak house, which is a historic institution in South Tampa. They hadn’t been properly warned by Timmy of the kind of experience it would be nor how long it would take (3 hours on average, which goes to say, this is not your average, run of the mill dining experience). We laughed so hard that night, it was really a delightful evening. We finished the weekend with absolutely perfect weather, bocce ball on the sand, and lots more laughs and time by the water.

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May

May is a big birthday month around here, what with 2 of my nieces, my sister in law, my father, 7 friends, and myself all enjoying another trip around the sun. It’s been a little lonelier celebrating birthdays here than it was in Atlanta, but this year, that didn’t stop me. Timmy had to work a conference in Orlando the weekend of my birthday, so what’s the next best thing to going to Disney with him?

GOING TO DISNEY BY MYSELF. And it was awesome.

I couldn’t decide at first if a solo Disney trip was the most incredibly confident thing I’ve ever done or the most sad and depressing. I mean, 35 is a big milestone, and yes I still get super amped about birthdays, even now. How could I not? So many people we know passed away and can’t have any more life celebrations. I feel it’s my duty to be as thankful and celebratory as I possibly can simply because they no longer can.

My first stop was to get the ever-so-popular birthday button in Epcot, which was way less exciting than I thought it would be. I asked one person and they said to go to the blue kiosk which had no one manning it. I had to stop another employee and ask if I could get a button from the kiosk and he just kinda tossed me one. I then had to ask for a marker, and he had to find someone else to get me one. Very anti-climactic.

But dagnabnit, I rocked that thing out pretty much all weekend.

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I ended the day with a drink with my former NYU-er Kelly who works at Disney and then headed back to the hotel. Later that night, Timmy’s boss treated us to an amazing meal at Norman’s in the Ritz Carlton, which was just amazing. Great food, the bartending staff kept giving us free alcohol (which also included mezcal which I DO NOT RECOMMEND)…such a good night.

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The next day, Timmy still had to work so I went back to Disney with our friend Jessie and her son Aidan, who live in Sarasota. We had such a fun time in Hollywood Studios. Honestly, WHOEVER DOESN’T HAVE FUN AT DISNEY DOESN’T HAVE A SOUL. We finished out the weekend at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure because we are theme-park-going whores.

The following weekend my father turned 70 so you’d better believe we got our asses back to Atlanta (or rather Athens) to surprise him on such a momentous occasion. Thursday night, Timmy got us a room at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta and while I’d been there for DragonCon, I’d never stayed. He got us upgraded to a suite on the 46th floor and the views, well, they were just incredible.

We held the party that Friday night at my sister and brother-in-law’s new house in Athens (which is STUNNING btw), and since my father didn’t know that Timmy and I were in town at all for his birthday, it was a 2-for-1 surprise! My sister got the catering, I got the decorations, and we lay in wait for him. Perfect weather, family, and good food…another awesome night in the books.

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This past weekend, my sister did her annual mother-daughter trip to come visit us, this time with Anna! We planned to go to Universal again, and despite the non-stop rain all weekend, we did actually get beach/pool/sun time in on Friday. The rains came but that didn’t stop us from hitting most of the rides at both Universal parks (which was new not only for Anna but most of it for Carla too) and then did some outlet shopping. I was impressed by how much we got in, and especially considering that the rain isn’t going to stop until sometime next week, I’m super glad we did what we could before Timmy and I basically become shut-ins.

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So now it’s Memorial Day weekend, and we don’t have anyone visiting (thankfully because hello rain) nor anything planned. It’s been a pretty active two months, so maybe we should actually just rest for once.

Probably not though if we’re being honest.

Enjoy your weekend and thank you to all who have served this country of ours.

♥, VB

 

No, I Didn’t Forget I Had a Blog

It is laughable how terrible I’ve been at updating this thing.

I’ve been stepping away from using FB more and more ever since I rejoined last year after close to a 9 month hiatus. It just sucks. I’ve had to hide so many people now: the majority of my extreme right-wing friends — the ones who keep posting about how gun control is the same as “giving our rights away” (complete effing nonsense); the ones who keep posting about Rodan & Fields/Plexus/stupid ass diets that don’t work; the ones who keep posting pictures of their half-naked bodies in an attempt to get compliments but who claim modesty and humility (EITHER STOP DOING THIS OR JUST CALL IT WHAT IT IS); the ones who go on just to start fights with anyone who doesn’t 100% agree with their political views.

This is just exhausting and no longer fun to look at. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss the days when it was just all weddings and babies and football posts.

So instead, I’ve been living my life on Instagram and/or offline as fully as I can. We’ve been having so much fun as a couple lately, ever since NYE (WHICH WAS 3 MONTHS AGO) and I don’t see this train stopping anytime soon. Life has been busy, as per usual, what with my full time job, 2 classes that I teach Monday and Wednesday evenings, supervising 3 part-time student employees, completing my Wellness Coaching certification, and getting ready to hire a full-time employee whom I will be supervising starting this summer. Whew.

We’ve been busy on the weekends living it up in FL, which has included the purchase of a new sectional couch (“HELL YES!” says my back), some pool days during an unusually hot February, a Beer and Bacon Fest, an extremely awesome day of surprises for Timmy’s 35th birthday which included a wine making class and an escape room (which we won with only 38 seconds left on the clock!), Phantom of the Opera tickets (where I def cried), a quick trip to Miami that resulted in no pool days but 1 long spa day for me while Timmy worked a conference, and lots of trips to Disney World.

I’ve hit Disney 3 times since January (which as you know is my favorite place on earth, and no, I won’t apologize for it). It actually comes in handy when your family comes to town for spring break and you’ve got the skinny on how to plan out your days and paths at any given Disney park (you’re welcome familia). Which is exactly what happened last week, my first spring break I’ve taken off in 5 years.

God that was fun. I couldn’t wait to see Disney through my nieces’ eyes, the magic of it all. What I didn’t expect was their willingness to wait in 2+ hour lines which we didn’t do because eff that. But all in all, we hit every ride (almost) and the whole family had the best time ever. It was also maybe the fastest week in the history of ever.

The one thing I’ve been struggling with since last October is my chronic, never ending, mind-erasing back pain. Around the time I got rid of my walking boot after my bunionectomy last August, my back decided to go haywire and destroy my emotional stability. I couldn’t do anything without severe pain that would take my breath away for nearly 5 months.

I decided after my last facet injections in January didn’t work that I would try anything, and I meant ANYTHING. There have been a few days at the beginning of this year where I just couldn’t take it anymore. Timmy would have to help me get up from a sitting or lying down position or pick something off the floor or help me put socks/pants on. I was immobile many, many days and hysterically sad about it the other days. I broke down, cried nonstop, and fell into a hole of despair and hopelessness that my pain would get any better, that I could have a normal life, that I would ever be pain-free.

In short, I was completely miserable.

I got an epidural in February which reduced my pain from super crazy intense to a dull 24-hour bother. I started going to cryotherapy, which at the time I thought helped, but I haven’t gone in about a month and I feel no difference (= it was probably mentally helpful). It is as cold as you think, if not colder, and every time my legs would turn a bright lobster-shade of red, and it hurt the skin on my thighs like whoa. If that’s the beginning stages of hypothermia, then I have a new respect for people who go hiking in crazy cold places.

I started seeing a chiropractor (which I still believe that the adjustments are nonsense) but the TENS treatment, massage, ultrasound and physical therapy 3x/week have been making a difference. I’ve only worked out once since my injection because I’m terrified to do so. The last few times I worked out in January, my lower back muscles seized up and I was immobile the rest of the day. So I’m doing things at a slower pace, trying to remind myself to slow down and be patient (which is my opposite nature, so you can see how this would be difficult for me to do).

I should be released from physical therapy this week, so wish me luck as I try to regain a new sense of normalcy and control over my life. I now have a standing desk at work, and that’s been a game changer. Help me stay patient and calm as I try to integrate exercise back into my life.

That’s all for now. There are still some HUGE changes in my life on the horizon, so stay tuned for all the insanity that will start to happen around here in the next few weeks!

♥, VB

Hi There

Long time, no talk to. I just wanted to stop by and say hi and say I’m sorry for being MIA here. It’s not you, it’s me. It was 2017, it was politics, it was anxiety, it was exhaustion, it was everything. I had and still have a lot to say about the things that transpired last year, but whenever I sat down at my blog to write, I found myself tired. Unmotivated to share. Unwilling to talk.

Believe me, I had those conversations in person, but not often and not with everyone, because honestly, I just didn’t have the stamina. There was so much about last year that bothered and hurt me and kept me so angry and scared. Personally, it was a wonderful year; I taught my two classes, had a lot of fun with family and friends, and really cemented my bond with my husband after a shaky first year of marriage.

But the world, man, the world just grinded me in its teeth and I felt all the negative emotions.

I donated, I read, I got off of social media for about 8 months (except for Instagram). I did the small things I could to keep my sanity, but every time I even briefly looked at CNN or Washington Post or NY Times or BBC, I just felt my resolve crumble and I would have to build myself up all over again. So I just stayed focused on my small world and turned inwards.

I know the cycle of life pretty well by now: personally and professionally, those waves usually don’t coincide because when one is up, the other is down. Not so this past year! My relationship with Timmy made amazing strides forward and now I can finally see what people mean when they say marriage is fun. It is now and it’s definitely something I treasure more than anything. Professionally, I made even more strides towards my overall career goals, and as soon as I felt myself start to lag or bore with my routine, fate intervened and has provided me with even more amazing pathways.

I won’t share it all right now because it hasn’t all transpired and I don’t want to jinx myself, but let’s just say, if things go the way I would like (and have planned for), god, 2018 may be my best year ever, which is hard to say after my 30th year.

So I guess what I wanted to say is I’m sorry I cut you out. It really wasn’t you, it was me. And in 2018, I’m going to use this blog how it was intended: to fill you in on our lives in FL, and the quirky, ridiculous, fun, infuriating, amazing things that happen to Timmy, Floyd, and I on a constant basis. Stay tuned my friends, and let’s make 2018 a fantastic year (which let’s face it, after 2017, can we say there’s no where else but up?)

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♥, VB

Master Bathroom Before & After

This room is still one of my favorites in the house, probably because other than the kitchen, it’s the most different from its original. In case you missed it the first time, this is what it looked like in the original listing photos.

master bathroom from listing photos

this vanity….yuck

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glass blocks really are a modern touch, don’t you think?

view of master bathroom and closet from listing photos

the view of the closet and bathroom in the master

So really, the same issues present in the guest bathroom were here too. The countertop was massive, yes, but underneath, no real way to store anything without buying a million Container Store boxes and organizing thingys (which isn’t the worst thing in the world to do, but I wanted to avoid that as much as possible). I also didn’t want our countertop to be FULL of stuff because we had no other place to put things. Too cluttered.

The floors again. Ugh, I hate these tiles so much. The big builder mirror and the soffit fluorescent light again. I mean, HONESTLY, WHO PUTS FLUORESCENT LIGHTS IN A BATHROOM?!?!?

But the previous owners, I guess in an effort to update something in the house (the only thing updated in the house since 1994), did change the shower, so this is what we saw when we actually toured the house.

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slate tiles in the shower pre-purchase (cabinet doors and countertop removed post-purchase)

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We removed everything you see here. EVERYTHING. LOOK AT THAT EFFING LIGHT.

And just like before, we started demoing things before I took real “before” photos. Oops.

The tiles in the shower look nice, yes, however upon entering this shower, it was immediately clear that in order to wash one’s hair, it was one arm or the other. Both arms could not be up at the same time or else you’d be outside of the shower. So yea, not functional at all.

Thankfully these tiles were the EASIEST to take off because they had just been put in. We felt a little bad since they had just renovated it, but it probably would’ve been wiser to leave it alone to begin with.

Also you see on the right side of the shower, that little wall that extends halfway on the side of the countertop? I hated this wall. It was dumb, made no sense, and was one of the first things to be torn down. We discovered about a foot of empty space behind that wall, so the major change we made here was to make it a double shower.

How’s that for romance?

Obviously, everything else went too.

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master bath gutted

Already, staring at the empty, completely gutted master bathroom is calming my nerves from the before pictures.

See all the metal studs? This has been very annoying. Apparently, when the house was constructed, only the external walls received wood studs; internal walls are metal. This has driven me insane as I hit them time and time again trying to install things or even just hang a picture. And this is why we hired a professional to mount our TVs.

Again, we bought the double vanity and countertop/sinks from Ikea and constructed it ourselves. We had plans to have two high storage cabinets on either side plus a huge mirror cabinet in the middle. However, we didn’t really measure correctly, and after I assembled this massive cabinet, turns out, it didn’t fit. Never to fear, we returned it to Ikea and bought a $15 mirror instead.

(Yes, you can return fully-assembled items to Ikea. And it was totally worth it since we couldn’t put it anywhere else realistically and damn, it wasn’t a cheap piece.)

After the whole re-plumbing issue was resolved, onward we went with the renovation. These were the pieces we selected for the overall look, including the kitchen and both bathrooms.

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So pretty and classic, right? We chose to do the exact same subway tiles in both bathrooms, but in the master, floor to ceiling! Same dark grout, because it’s just a good look. Also, the same wood-grain tile tied the entire look together.

More photos during the reconstruction and beautifying phase:

shower floor, yes please!

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Yes, this bathroom was also a dual paint job. The original teal really set Timmy off in a bad way, and while I didn’t mind it, I’m glad now we changed it to a much more neutral color. So much more calm and relaxing in here now.

Timmy and I must have gone back and forth a hundred times about shower door vs. shower curtain. A shower door here was really expensive and because we extended the shower, had to be custom-made since our measurements weren’t stock sizes. A shower curtain was obviously inexpensive but unfortunately REALLY unrealistic. Looking at these pictures, I don’t even know why we had that discussion in the first place. There’s no way we could’ve gotten away with just a curtain.

When we finally did order the shower doors, we had already moved in and had to wait a while for them to be installed. They delivered them after the renovations were done, and then the installers suffered an injury. So for 2 weeks, we had these MASSIVE shower doors taking up major space in our master bedroom that were so heavy, they just had to stay where they had been delivered.

That was fun.

Also, I hope you notice the covered floors in the last picture. This was something we didn’t do with the wood floors in the main spaces at the very beginning to protect them and it has really been a frustrating point for me every time I come home.

Back story: We donated all of our old appliances (except for the old fridge, which we moved to the garage) to Habitat for Humanity. Timmy was there for this exchange, and unfortunately, it was terrible! Not only did they break the wood plank at the top of the stairs in half, they also managed to scratch the SHIT out of 3 main spots in our living room. And I mean, nearly GAUGED out the floor. This was before we even got really started on the renovations!

It drives me crazy to see those spots. I’m not done trying to fix them, but I think at some point, the floors will just have to be sanded and restained to get rid of them. Lesson learned.

I really can’t explain how much I love this bathroom now. It has PLENTY of storage space (and I mean plenty!), and best of all, nearly everything is hidden from view. It makes everything cleaner and so much more relaxing since clutter is not visible. We chose the same waterfall faucet as the guest, and again, went with chrome for the sinks and brushed nickel for the showers.

And without further delay, here’s what our master bathroom looks like!

just before the shower doors and right-hand side shower fixture were installed

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shower doors installed!

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greatest storage and custom light fixture ever!

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another unique touch from our designer Meg! And the framed picture (totally her doing) really encapsulates the feeling of being done with renovations (and weddings)

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love this custom shelf!

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these shower doors are just beautiful

Our bathroom now rules. It’s 100% our style and can totally appeal to another buyer whenever we decide to sell. Extending this to a double shower was a stroke of genius (if I don’t say so myself), and it’s just an excellent space in general.

Again BIG PROPS to our designer Meg at ME Style Designs for helping us through this renovation in particular. All the plumbing issues, the color changes, the timeline, the ordering and re-ordering of parts and tiles and installations, there’s NO WAY I could’ve handled this. I had no idea about 1/2 the things involved with this type of renovation, and without her assistance, ideas, and patience, this would’ve been a complete disaster.

Next time, prepare yourself for the reveal of the kitchen, maybe our favorite space in the entire house!

♥, VB