We’re Buying a House!

Mandi Makes a New Home

You guys! Something absolutely crazy is happening in my life. On Saturday, April 1st (yes, April Fool’s Day), I asked Phil if he wanted to go to an open house for an amazing 1970s house I found on Zillow that had a CONVERSATION PIT in the living room! He said, “Sure!” We talked about how fun it would be to move, how ready we were, and how we should probably start getting our house ready to sell. Not that this ’70s house would be “the one.” But you know, this was a fun idea, and it made us realize we should probably gear up to sell our house and move on to the next adventure.

Fast forward to the next day, we attended the open house and fell in love. Should’ve seen it comin’. We wanted to put an offer in, and we were even pre-approved for a mortgage to do so. But we decided this was financially stupid, seeing as how we weren’t even close to being ready to put our house on the market. Two mortgages? Yeah, no.

So, I got on Instagram, shared the day through live videos, and then ended the day telling you all that we were going to put our house on the market in two weeks. Maybe we could get it on the market in time to put an offer in on that amazing ’70s house! Crazy, right?! But something even crazier happened the next day.

A friend of mine texted me to tell me he knew someone interested in our house. I let her see it that evening, and she was very interested. And Phil and I were very excited. That week, I barely slept. I worked on our house night and day, preparing it to sell. I wanted to move, and I wanted to move badly. Well, six days later we entered into contract with the absolute perfect buyer for our home, and had been crushed to find out our dream home was already in contract as well. Wow, what a whirlwind! I had been emotionally to the moon and back (and then back to the moon?) and while I was sad to have missed out on what I knew would’ve been an amazing house, I was excited about taking our time to find a new house, as we saved money while living with our parents while we waited. How many months would it take? We didn’t know. The thought of waiting and not knowing if or when to settle made me very stir crazy. Would we ever find what we wanted and in our budget?!

Mandi Makes a New Home

But then I found the above images on Zillow for a house I had scrolled past countless times— its lead image showed a boring looking home which lacked curb appeal— nothing about its exterior photos that would lead me to think this could be “the one.” I remember (because it wasn’t that long ago— ha!) clicking through the photos thinking, “Hmmm… I could work with that!” And Phil said, “You could work with that, but do you really love it? Is it really ‘the one’?” I said, “No, probably not.” But I made an appointment to see it the next day anyway. And wow— it was so perfect for us!

We had made a list of qualifications for our dream home, but figured we’d not be able to find a place that met all the criteria. At least, not in our price point. Still, we needed to start somewhere. So here’s what we put on our list:

An entryway separate from the rest of the house, a large kitchen open to a dining area big enough for my heirloom farmhouse table, a private office for Phil big enough for a sofa and chairs for his mentoring and Bible studies, an office for me that was big enough to work on all of my crafts and projects, a large great room with high ceilings, a basement with potential for finishing down the road, a room the kids could call their own (to house most of their toys), three bedrooms, two baths, a two car garage, a decent yard, not on a busy road, in a nice neighborhood, and a house that was asking for cosmetic upgrades, but didn’t need big renovation done. WHEW! What a list, right? And did I mention, our budget was around 175k? Ha!

Well, what would you know, we sold our house and found that exact house (that met all of our criteria and then some— partially finished basement, 3 and a half baths, and a three car garage) and got it for the exact price we were hoping for! We are basically in shock. So much is changing so quickly, and my far off house dreams are coming true in such a short amount of time. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up and find out this was all a really fun dream. (Please don’t pinch me.)

Mandi Makes a New Home

If all goes according to plan (we trust God that it will), we’ll be  closing on our new house at the beginning of June and will be starting renovations on the first floor immediately. We are ripping out all of the flooring material, removing much of the cabinetry in the kitchen, rearranging the cabinetry to move the oven to a different wall, and oh, so much more! Check out my video tour of the house on my Facebook page here, and see my inspiration images for the house below. So excited to share this entire crazy journey with you guys!

click images to see where I found each one

white living room earthy accents

Floating shelving around floor to ceiling fireplace

Open Pantry System

california modern

velvet banquette

gray lower cabinets, white and gray subway tile

neutral kitchen with floating shelves

Remembering the Beauty of Shopping Local

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

“My prediction. [Our] mall has only 2-3 years left on this earth. I’m being generous.” That’s what a the Facebook status of a friend read last month, and it generated quite the discussion. Most people were shocked and disagreed. Those people apparently hadn’t heard the stories in the news lately that malls all over the nation have been closing up shop for good, leaving vacant, ghostly shopping centers in their wake. Some people aren’t surprised by the decline of American malls. Online shopping is at an all time high, but more than that, people seem to gravitate towards a more boutique experience at specialty stores run by cheerful (and helpful) small business owners. Are all malls doomed? Certainly not. But the way we shop is definitely shifting, and as I considered my own reclusive shopping habits, I felt a bit sheepish, and, well… guilty.

The friend who made the provocative prediction for our mall owns a local boutique here in North Canton, Ohio, and has experienced success in the few years her shop has been running. It made me think… do I care so much if the mall closes down? Nah. Maybe a little. For nostalgic reasons, and local economic implications. But what about small businesses like hers? I had been hoping for years that a vintage clothing shop would open locally, and BAM, now we actually have some really great ones! But here I am scouring Etsy and British retailers (ahem, ASOS) instead of heading in to support my neighbors— and heck, getting out of this house once in a while!

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio
Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Part of the reason I neglect shopping outside of the home is because of the cold, blistery winters in Ohio. I’d much rather snuggle up with a blanket, a hot cup of coffee, and slowly click through pages of clothing, rather than bundle up myself, and my children, making the trek into the elements with sneezing, coughing children who don’t always listen and behave. Considering the aforementioned struggle, online shopping seems much more appealing, doesn’t it? I can cut right through to the shops stocked with clothes that suit my taste, and use search engines to find specific sizes and styles of vintage. Then I can make wish lists and carefully consider how to allocate every dollar. Sounds pretty ideal? But then I decided to just bite the bullet and get out of the darn house and go shop locally at the shops that would break my heart should they ever close down. And it made me remember. 

I remembered why I love getting out and visiting local shops! For the same reason I loved mall shopping back in the late ’90s. It was a fun experience. A bit of a treasure hunt. A delightful time with friends, considering what discoveries we might take home with us that very moment, with no wait for the postal delivery person. And knowing that dollar goes towards the friendly faces of the local shop owner, the local shopgirl, and the local coffee shop, where those shop girls might go on their break. It just all feels right. Almost like a good deed. And any time I can turn a shopping experience into a good deed, it makes it, dare I say, a fulfilling experience! More than just a consumeristic transaction.

So what about you guys? Do you have any local shops you haven’t been to in a while, or maybe haven’t been to at all? If you have been planning to buy something new, I encourage you to get out of the house and see what you can find somewhere local, rather than resorting to the convenience of online shopping. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a deal!

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

This post (and my shopping experience!) was made possible by Evenflo, who let us try out their new Sibby travel system. I have been wishing for a stroller in a nice, classic design. Like a little black dress, only… a stroller. We love the classic design of the Sibby stroller, and Lucy really gets a kick out of riding along on the back. It’s more compact that a double stroller, which makes it perfect for taking on our shopping excursions. Thanks, Evenflo! (All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.)

Also, thanks to Colette’s Vintage— the best vintage shop in the Canton/Akron area— for staying open late and being so gracious with my children. We found some treasures that I love, and to my surprise, Lucy loves as well! She asked to try everyone on as soon as we got home, and then asked if she could wear her new dress to bed. Follow Colette’s on Instagram and Facebook to peep their latest oldie goodies!

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

PHOTOS BY EASTERDAY CREATIVE

Glamping in Wine Country

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

They say that your thirties are the best years of your life… which may have something to do with why I saved a trip to wine country until I hit my thirties. Because, oh my goodness. This trip definitely wins the spot of #1 vacation I have ever had. Perhaps it was the combination of the wine, the scenery, the California weather, and the great company of friends, but I’m certain that it wouldn’t have been as fabulous if it weren’t for our amazing glamping accommodations!

For the second leg of this Ohio gal’s very first trip to California, I stayed at a fabulous ranch in the heart of Sonoma Valley. (Check out the first leg of the trip at this mid century cabin in Big Bear Lake!) The grounds are lush, immaculately maintained, and furnished with a group of bell tents that make even those who are camping-shy eager to brave the elements in luxury. (Uh, brave the elements…. I mean, look at these tents— you certainly don’t need to be brave, but that’s the whole point of glamping, right?) It was such a thrill for me, and just wait until you see some more of the grounds! It was such a nice experience, I’d like to go back soon with Phil.

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

The family-owned ranch has a couple of public spaces available to guests, including a large pool, hot tub, massage hut, massage hut, cozy living area, and public hall. The staff was always available, and as friendly as can be. Meals are served in the dining hall (no cooking over a fire— unless you want to!), as well as snacks throughout the day. Wine, refreshments, and other treats were available for for purchase in the dining hall. Let me just say I was never wanting for more wine. :)

Meals were optional, and because my friends and I ventured into the downtown Sonoma area during the afternoon and evening, we only enjoyed breakfast at the meal hall, which included a large spread with lots of delicious and healthy options, even options for those with dietary restrictions. But we did take advantage of the fresh coffee available throughout the day.

A highlight of my visit was playing games around the campfire at night, where we met other guests and enjoyed our wine and treat purchases from earlier that day. Hanging out with my friends in the tents was a lot of fun too. Never wanted that night to end!

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

This was the first trip I packed everything I needed into a carry-on. It was really nice not worrying about luggage getting lost, or taking time at the baggage claim area at the airport. I decided to buy this new suitcase so I could travel in style, and it’s a decision I certainly do not regret. Look how cute it is! Fits right in with the stylish tents, eh?

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

While we didn’t visit any vineyards, we did visit some of the restaurants and wine shops in the town square of Sonoma, which is such a charming area— and I don’t think that’s just the wine talking. I really can’t wait to return and do it all over again!

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Thanks to Glamping Hub and the hospitable staff at the ranch for hosting me and my friends! I truly cannot recommend this spot enough. Book your own trip in the Sonoma bell tents at the Glamping Hub website right here.

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