Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Peek: My Home Office

We've been here just about a month and a half but I finally took some photos of my new home office.  I feel like our home in general (including my office) will always be a work in process.  We Jake is still working on 'cord management', as he calls it. Meanwhile, my work phone is very touchy as it is VoIP and I accidentally disconnected a call a few weeks ago when I kicked the box with my foot (it's held up under my desk with velcro). Anyway, I wanted to share some photos of my home office today and I promise there will be more posts to come on the rest of the house.

I didn't really have a theme when I was planning my office, I just wanted it to be a haven that I would love being in since I was planning to spend 8 10 hours a day there. I have two windows which let in an amazing cross breeze, but no overhead fan. Our house does have A/C which we use some of the time, but I try not to rely 100% on it. I didn't want my desk to face the wall (hello: unmanageable cords), so I placed it in the corner next to a big floor-to-ceiling window and the other windows are in front to me, so I can look outside and see the UPS man or the occasional squirrel. Having windows in your office is KEY. I'll list the sources in the post (not sponsored), if anyone is curious.

So, apparently I didn't have a mousepad for the last 3 years. I have no idea how I survived. So I bought this fun mousepad from etsy.  Life changing.


I spontaneously picked up this lamp below from target -- it was on sale...and I love it! You can raise or lower the shade, depending on the vibe you want.  Good thing I did because sometimes in the early mornings it is sort of dark (marine layer) and there is no actual light in the ceiling. So I have to rely on this puppy. 


We picked up this mint filing cabinet from CB2 for our personal files a couple years back -- and they always have new, fun colors. Highly recommend.


So I've been wanting to invest in a nice herman miller chair (read: $$$) but for now this beauty will have to suffice. I have always been one of those people that chooses style over comfort, but I think I am going to have to bite the bullet sometime here soon and get a more comfortable chair. Here is the chair I am currently using below, which is not the most comfortable chair, but it works. Oh - and that blue utility cart in the background is from Ikea and it was originally used as a bar cart in our kitchen, until I decided to steal it and use it for my office. It's nice to have a  catch-all place for all those little things. 


It's so important to have photos and decor that you love to look at everyday. Below is a photo from our wedding and then a photo I took on the Blue Ridge Parkway last summer. Also, isn't this pencil holder the cutest thing you've ever seen? I stalked it at target after seeing a bunch of people post it on instagram.


This lamp was my first home office purchase even before I knew I was going to have a home office. After visiting this hotel in Miami and seeing a very similar lamp in our room, I fell in love with it and had to have one of my own. I found this one at west elm.


And now we come to the Stendig calendar. Have you seen these things all over the internet, like I have? I have been wanting one for probably 10 years but never spent the money. Until now. It's really like a piece of art and pulls the whole office together. I am on the waiting list for the 2017 calendar and you can bet that I will be investing it one every year from now on. I'm obsessed! Some months are white and some months are black. Which brings me to.... it looks like I have a black and white theme to the office -- this was not intentional, as you know I love pops of color. But, I really like it. It's so neutral and gives me the flexibility to do anything I want, color wise. So much fun!


I wanted to include a photo of my messy desk, in action so you could see what it looks like on a typical day.


There you have it! That is my first iteration of my home office. I'm sure it will change as I spend more time and effort designing it, but I think it's a great start and I really love spending time in there.



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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

"Don't Let Them Eat You Alive"

So, maybe I find this funnier than it really is, but here goes. The last thing one of my co-workers jokingly said to me as I was leaving the Charlotte office for the last time, was "don't let them eat you alive".  And I immediately smiled and laughed to myself. Little did I know...

Traffic. 

California Drivers. 

The DMV. 


About a month ago we relocated from Charlotte, NC to Long Beach, CA. I have lived in a few other states, but California is definitely the most densely populated area I have lived in. Living in Seattle is a close second, but it really has nothing on Cali.  The day we moved here, Jake flew into Santa Ana airport from Seattle after visiting family and I flew into LAX so I could get a direct flight from Charlotte [layovers are the death of me]. Since LAX is only 40 miles from Santa Ana, I thought it wouldn't be a big deal for Jake to pick up the rental car in Santa Ana, drive to LAX to pick me up and then back to Long Beach to get the keys to our house. This whole process should really take a little over an hour, according to Google maps but in reality, it takes closer to 3. Why, you ask?  One word = traffic. After this little experience, I have now learned to allow 3x the amount of time to get anywhere. It's really like of crazy. We were definitely warned about this and it's so stereotypical, but it's completely true. So, moral of the story is, don't expect to get anywhere fast. 

California drivers...where do I start? Like I said, we've only been here a short time but I can already see how some people just can't cut it here. Driving is like being on a racetrack with cars constantly changing lanes on both sides of you and going about 20 mph over the speed limit. Most freeways have six lanes in each direction and they are all packed. It's really an adrenaline rush. I told Jake if he wasn't fully awake when we got onto the freeway, he would be once we got to our destination. Driving in CA is a little different than the 2-lane highway on Kauai I learned how to drive on.


The DMV. After three trips to the barely air-conditioned DMV, I finally got our leased car registered with CA plates [goodbye $328] and my "coveted" CA Driver's License. Let me explain.  [Visit 1] I made an appointment online for the following week, gave myself 20 minutes to get there and headed over. The parking lot was full and there was not a single parking space open. I drove around 3 times and saw a young mom and her son walking to the car. I asked if I could have her spot and she said sure. As I reversed and tried to position myself to pull into her spot, a truck came out of nowhere and would not move to let me pull into her spot. I heard those words creep up into my throat, "don't let them eat you alive". But there was nothing I could do. I saw a security guard and pulled over, I said, "I have an appointment in 5 minutes, but there is nowhere to park. What do I do?" He said "We'll honor your appointment. It's okay if you are a few minutes late." I drove around for 10 more minutes and finally found a spot. I took a deep breath and realized I was already stressed out before I even stepped foot into the actual DMV. I saw a line out the door. I told myself, that must be the non-appointment line. I walked in and saw another, shorter line labeled "appointments only". I waited in this line for about 40 more minutes and got up to the front. I had my passport, copy of our lease, birth certificate, you name it, I was ready. Apparently, there was a new law that went into effect on July 1, 2016 [the day we arrived] that stated you need two documents to prove your residency when applying for a CA license. Since I only had 10 days after we moved there to get my license according to the rules, I didn't have a lot of paperwork with our new address. And I needed another document in addition to our lease to prove our residency. Now, if you know how Type A I am, then you know these kinds of things don't usually happen to me. I was mad. I didn't even have another document in my possession [yet] so there was nothing I could do. 

[Visit 2] Once I gathered the documentation a week later, I made another appointment for the following week. I filled out the paperwork beforehand and had more than enough documentation to support my residency. I waited in line, got my paperwork approved, took the written driving test [which is hard, BTW! 4 people didn't pass when I was in the room taking the test], got my photo taken with one eye partially shut. Classic Albers move, if you ask Jake. Then I got my paper permit which reminded me of when I was 15 1/2 getting my first license. Nostalgia! So, that was done. Now, it was onto getting the car registered. I had heard that you can get big fines for not getting your car registered in CA if you are living here, so this was our next priority. We filled out the paperwork, brought in the documentation and attempted to register the car. The person at the desk informed us that we owed over $3,000 in CA sales tax. Now, I had read about this online and thought several things. 1. This is a lease, we don't own the car. Why would we have to pay sales tax on the full value if we are just 'renting it'. 2. We are paying sales tax each month which is built into our lease payments 3. What would we do if we had to pay $3k of sales tax! This was not going to be easy. We went round and round with him and he would not budge. He suggested we call the leasing company to secure documentation that proved we paid the sales tax. I found our bill of sale and noticed a line called "Taxes and Fees" which showed roughly the same amount he was telling us we had to pay. I showed it to him and magically, we owed zero. THANK GOD. But, we couldn't complete the process just yet, because we need a SMOG check. Yes, our brand new, 2016 car needed to be tested. I am certain that this is just something they invented so they can make more fees, but reluctantly while I was finishing up my drivers' license stuff, Jake took the car to get a SMOG check.  

[Visit 3] About 2 hours later, Jake met up with me back at the DMV with the SMOG paperwork. We had to go back in  the appointment line and wait some more. After waiting in line, the guy ended up giving us a non-appointment number which came with a 2 hour wait. I took one look at that ticket and said, no, we already had an appointment earlier today, we are back to finish licensing the car. Jake was able to move us up in line and we were next. Next thing we knew, we were getting handed CA plates and I wanted to cry tears of joy. WE DID IT --  I wanted to shout from the mountaintops. The DMV employee instructed us to give them the North Carolina plates, which we did. Now I am dealing with the state of North Carolina because our renewal just came up and they are asking for the old plates back. Well, maybe by 2017, the CA DMV will have sent them back to North Carolina or maybe they just melt them down. Who knows? 

If this is what being an adult is all about, then I quit. Can someone just had me a pint of ice cream now?

...and is it Friday yet?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Transitions + Reflections

Well it looks like it’s been almost two months since my last entry. I could blame it on work (like I usually do) or moving cross country or just being busy in general… or maybe all of the above. Isn't it just crazy how you plan something for so long and then it just happens. This move almost reminds me of our wedding. We planned the wedding for about 11 months and then it was gone in the blink of an eye. Even though I only announced it on social media in April, we had been planning this move for months —basically since the Fall of 2015 and now it's here. If I’m being honest, some of our time in Charlotte dragged on but mostly it flew by. It’s hard to believe 3 years came and went.



I think I’ve mentioned this before, but until we lived in Charlotte, we never really traveled much.  Our first big international trip was to Italy for our honeymoon in 2012 and we totally got bitten by the travel bug.  We saved up for a year to make that trip and it was completely worth it — but then we had to save for our first cross country move (haha — “first” …like that?). So when we arrived in CLT and I got to rename our moving savings account online to TRAVEL SAVINGS, I got a glimmer in my eye and decided that New York would be our first BIG trip. We were so lucky to be able to also visit Charleston, New York, Iceland, Turks and Caicos [& more] while being based in Charlotte. 

When we moved to Charlotte, I also transitioned into another career. I had been grinding [hello 65+ hour work weeks during tax season] for six years in public accounting and I was done. Sure, I interviewed for a few CPA positions as a safety net but I took a leap and specialized into a new industry that I knew next to nothing about.  I was actually reading a book when I came to visit Charlotte for my interviews about one of  the things the author discussed was “specializing too early” in your career. I was scared. I didn’t want to work in public accounting but it’s a lot harder to transition out of it when you work in tax as opposed to audit.  

The job search began. I was convinced I would find a job through the local CPA association or LinkedIn since they recently upgraded their job search function. But, nope. Guess where I ended up actually finding my current position? You’ll never guess. monster.com!  Totally random, right? And the other funny part of this story is that it was the very first job I applied for.  Over the next few months, I ended up applying at probably 50+ more jobs all the way from Accountant at Chiquita Banana [RIP Charlotte HQ] to Financial Analyst at Hearst Publications.  You never know. 

I was worried and nervous that I was making a rash decision because I wanted to leave public accounting so bad.  But, I am a very logical person, so what did I do? I made a pro and con list, of course. This was actually one of our favorite ways to make decisions during that period of time.  And 3 years later, taking this job was one of the best things I’ve ever done.  And I think that’s why it was so hard to leave the CLT office.  As I mentioned before, I am going to stay with the company in my current role and work remotely.  And after 4 weeks of working from home, I can honestly say that I love it! Of course I miss working in an office and water cooler chats, but the commute is amazing [hello pajamas], I can easily fit in a quick workout at lunch and when I sign off, it's still light outside. So far, so good.  Well, that's all for now. I'll be back with more thoughts soon [including my DMV experience + CA drivers and #neighborhoodscenes] and I promise it won't be another two months.  

P.S. We only have a few more pictures to hang up and then I promise I will do a photo tour of the new diggs. 



Thursday, June 2, 2016

The French Quarter | Charleston

Jake and I visited Charleston for the last time this past weekend (cue crying emoji). We only stayed one night, but we managed to fit a lot in just over 24 hours. We arrived on Sunday around noon, just in time for our brunch reservations at Cannon Green. The funny thing about this place is that we randomly drove by it on our way to another restaurant last time we were in town and I fell in love with the exterior. You might remember my Instagram that I posted of the outside of the building. Anyway, I just happened to look it up and it's a really cool event space and restaurant. So, I decided to make a reservation and I am so glad we did. Add it to your list if you are ever in the area. I had a delicious mimosa (for Jake, a 'Sunday Struggle' mixed drink) and they even had a DJ playing some great R&B. Perfect for Sunday Brunch on a long weekend.



After brunch, we headed downtown to King Street to walk around and finally checked out CandleFish. I had been wanting to visit this new-ish shop for a LONG time, but it never made it into our itinerary -- until now, that is! Candlefish has 100 scents you can choose from and they are numbered instead of having names to confuse me. So, I chose number 88 after smelling probably 25 candles. So much fun! and the prices are affordable -- I could have gotten a bunch of candles, but since we are moving in a few weeks, I told myself that it would be better if I just purchased one and we could get more the next time we visit. More on that later... 


We did not have dinner reservations which is very unlike me. But we ended up having drinks and dinner at Edmund's Oast -- and it was so incredible! I made a last minute reservation via opentable (LOVE opentable! Have already gotten 2 $50 gift certificates just from making reservations) and we even managed to sit at the Chef's table. That is my new favorite thing -- so cool to see how the restaurant works -- up close and personal. 

Finally, I have been wanting to stay at the newly opened Spectator Hotel in Charleston, but we've been saving for the move, so we had to opt for a free night via our starwood points in North Charleston. Anyway, we wandered into the hotel for a night cap and ended up staying for 2+ hours, just chatting with the bartender and another couple. I even tried a drink with a raw egg white (Bee's sneeze, BTW). I mean, when in Rome, right?! 

The next morning, we grabbed coffee (my favorite lavender latte) from Black Tap and headed to the French Quarter to drive and walk around. So much fun! If you haven't been to Charleston, definitely add it to your list. I was thinking about putting together some City Guides to my favorite cities -- let me know if you guys would be interested.


Lastly, we visited Obstinate Daughter -- a great restaurant on Sullivan's Island. Amazing shrimp roll + geechie fries. Yummmm!!! 





So, back to the goodbye.  Since we've been in Charlotte, we've easily visited Charleston the most out of any other city. Asheville is a close second.  But, we really grew to love this place. It's like the Portland to our Seattle.  When we lived in Seattle, we would visit Portland at least twice a year (always Memorial Day weekend for the unofficial start of summer). So, for the past 3 years, we've visited Charleston for Memorial Day... and I'm really going to miss this place! The only thing left to figure out is... where will we go next Memorial Day?!

2014


2015


2016 


xoxo,

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