Sunday, July 13, 2014

One Year In Texas & A Kitchen Update!

Today marks one year since Drew and I arrived in Texas! We drove into Dallas late last year to head to the hotel that would be our temporary home while we apartment hunted. The lit-up skyline still holds great nostalgia for me since it was really the first glimpse I had of our future life here. Dallas/Fort Worth, or “The Metroplex,” as it is known here, is always busy and bustling with big city events and small town festivals. We have slowly taken advantage of all that the area has to offer, and living in the “mid-cities” means that we are never far from something fun to do!

I am happy to report that I really like living here. Aside from being hours away from a real beach, and having only scattered instances of palm trees, it isn’t too unlike Florida. 100 degrees and 40% humidity in Arlington feels a lot like 92 degrees and 70% humidity in Tampa; I get a good chuckle when people complain about the humidity here in DFW. Really? Puh-lease. Go hang out in Gainesville or Orlando in August.

One quirk I am still getting used to is the way Texans pronounce things. I studied Spanish for six and a half years, and I have been speaking English for almost 27, and I take pronunciation of both languages very seriously. So, it always throws me off to hear traffic, weather, and news reports, and realize that I have been saying city names “wrong” in my head, because people here just do what they want. It is Texas, after all.

Examples (forgive my attempt at phonetic spelling):
Celina – should be pronounced ce-LEEN-ah, Texans say ce-LINE-ah
Salado – should be sa-LAH-doh, Texans say sa-LAY-doh
Alvarado – should be al-va-RAH-doh, Texans say al-va-RAY-doh
McKinney – I feel like this doesn’t even need a “should be” explanation, but Texans say McKenny, and it REALLY bothers me. Kind of like how nobody says Whataburger, but rather, Wattaburger. UURRRRGHH!
White Settlement – Nothing strange about pronunciation here, just weird that a town with this name even exists.

I am also incredibly thankful for the brief period that I resided in Miami before moving to Texas. I didn’t do much driving there, but the little road time I got taught me how to use the horn of my car. Thank goodness, because although I have encountered some of the most considerate and respectful drivers here in Texas, I have also come THIS CLOSE to dying many times because of careless drivers. I now find great stress release in laying on the horn when necessary. Proud moments. :)

We have also been really busy around the house, of course (one year ago I hadn’t the faintest imaginings that I’d be writing this from my own home). Drew has taken to landscaping like a fish to water and it is amazing what he has done already for our lawn and flower beds. It is really hard for him to go to Home Depot without returning with a plant that some tender, loving care.
We had to buy these because they are called "angelface," and that was a nickname my dad had for me when I was little.

The angelface and these coxcombs are planted on both sides of our mailbox.

I don't really like the color purple much, except for flowers. These are gorgeous!
 AND, my mom visited us for a long Independence Day weekend, which was spectacular since I hadn’t seen her in ELEVEN MONTHS! She has been bitten by the painting bug and she has been busy freshening up her house in Florida, so when she offered to paint during her visit, I immediately went to The H.D. to grab some paint samples. We put five colors on the wall in a few places to gauge how they would look in different lighting, and I hate to say that after a week, I didn’t really love any of the colors and I was constantly changing my mind about them. I even read other blogs about the difficulty of choosing green paint and I thought, “Surely I can more easily choose green paint. I have been dreaming about a green kitchen for a long time and I will know what I want when I see it, because I love the color green.” THAT’S THE DADGUM PROBLEM, PEOPLE! Selecting a green paint color can drive you mad! There are so many different shades of green, and I love them all, but which one do I want on my walls?! 

The top picture is in natural lighting and the bottom is fluorescent; it is crazy what a difference the light source makes! From left to right these colors are: Asparagus, Fresh Artichoke, and Riesling Grape by Behr, and Safari Green and Spanish Olive by Glidden.

Fortunately, my mom went back to Home Depot with me and we chose a color that was kind of in between the two I was going back and forth between during my bouts of indecisiveness (I liked the Asparagus and Fresh Artichoke the best, depending on the time of day and the lighting and my mood). The color we picked is called Grass Cloth (Behr 400D-5). It has just enough yellow in it to be interesting, while still definitely being green. The color is bright yet calming, will look wonderful all year round in every season, and I loooooooooooooove it!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner!

The coolest thing about this project was that I didn’t have to do any of the work. Just kidding!! (But kind of not really.) In all honesty, I wish I could have been part of the painting effort, but I had to work all day, and coming home to a transformed kitchen was like my own Trading Spaces experience. Plus, since my Mama painted it as a labor of love, being in the kitchen is like a great big hug from her. I did get to do some taping and touch ups, though, so although my contribution was minimal, I DID, in fact, help. Freshening up the white trim, adding a new laundry room door, and hanging sheer, airy curtains completed the kitchen and now it feel like a real room. Sitting here in the eat-in nook just feels so nice and relaxing. I. LOVE. IT! I wish you all had moms as awesome as mine. :)

Having seen how much the paint and a couple accessories changed the kitchen into OUR kitchen (er, *cough* MY *cough* kitchen . . . ), I can’t wait to tackle more rooms in the house! Next up are the pantry and then the laundry room, and then the entryway and front room! And the fireplace! Eeek! I am pumped!

Now, raise your hand if you are ready for some befores & afters!

That’s what I thought. And now, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you:

In my opinion, this area was most drastically changed, and it is perfect. Doesn't the space look so much bigger?

No, the table is not always set, but we finally have TWO settings of our china and it is so beautiful, I had to show it off. I think we'll use it tonight for dinner to celebrate one year in Texas!

My attempt at an organized "dropzone" for my purse, keys, mail, etc.

There is one little corner up high that needs to be finished, but I was too excited to show off the kitchen to wait.
Hopefully I will have some more updates in not too long. For now, the kitchen is the neatest part of the house and I have a lot of cleaning up to do in the rest of the downstairs! Time to go move more boxes!

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