Friday, May 22, 2015

Camera Items for Sale

Welp, call me crazy, but I upgraded my camera and a few of my lenses over the I'm selling a few of my current camera items since I won't be using them anymore. 
Just wanted to post my sale items on the blog incase anyone is interested in getting into photography or upgrading their camera gear for a great deal.
1. CANON EOS 5D MARK II CAMERA - $850 or best offer
(Read a full review on the camera here.)
This is actually an amazing deal on this camera.  They are selling new on for $2,199. See here.  I purchased my camera used less than 2 years ago for $1500, so I'm selling it at a rather low price of $800.  The camera has a perfect bill of health. There are no internal scratches and the glass is perfect.  It does have some external wear and tear on it, and on the external display screen, but nothing that affects the quality of the photos. 
(You can see my work on my facebook page: Every single picture on this site was taken with this camera.)
2. CANON 580EX II Flash - $350
I purchased this flash new at $400 last fall. I bought it so I could take photos in low-light settings. It's in perfect condition, as I only used 4 different times. I also have a bounce light diffuser that I'll throw in if you're interested. I've been trying to focus more on natural light photography - so I just have no need for an external flash anymore.
I took these fun photos with the flash.
3. CANON EOS 35MM F/2 Lens - $250
I purchased this lens last year on for $320. They are still selling for that price online. See here. This is a great entry level wide-angle lens.  It takes great wide angle photos, great for landscapes or for just capturing more background into your photos.  It's in perfect condition since I rarely used it. Here are a few photos I took with this lens:
 This lens is also great at close-up shots, like with these cupcakes.  I had to step back pretty far with a 50mm...but the 35mm was the perfect distance to get all three cupcakes in the shot. And it still created a creamy background blur. It's great for small rooms since you can fit more into your frame.
4. Shootsac Lens Bag - $140
I bought this bag from at $200 last Fall to take on photo sessions and weddings.  It honestly is perfect as it holds all your lenses without scratching them and its easy to move from one lens to the next since you can put them in without the caps on them.  I have THREE camera bags so I'm just trying to downside my bag collection. It really is a great bag!
Let me know if anyone is interested in any of my camera items! :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

The NINTH month - To Do List

I'm NINE months pregnant today!
NINE!!! Nine has been my favorite or "lucky" number since I was little, but now that number is somewhat terrifying.  How in the world am I in the ninth month of pregnancy??
Although I am counting down the days until we get to meet our sweet little baby. I'm also counting down the days we have left to complete everything we need to do.
There is just so much on our to-do-list...and who knows if I'll be two weeks early or two weeks it's really hard to know how much time we have left.
Here are the things I hope to better accomplish in the next few weeks!
House Related:
+ Bathroom Renovation: Our bathroom renovation is in the works and I'm kinda anxious about it because I 100% NEED it to be completed at least a week before baby arrives! I don't want contractors at our house when we are at the hospital and I definitely don't want contractors at the house when we are home with our newborn baby.  Soooo....this renovation needs to be done ASAP!!!
+ Painting:  There are a few things on my list that I'd like to paint before baby arrives.  The wainscoting in our dining room, one more coat on the closet doors in the nursery, and a few touch ups here and there. And of course we need to paint the bathroom too, that's the part of the renovation that we are taking care of.
+ Guest Room Ready:  The guest room is already ready for visitors, but I would love to buy a luggage rack and I need to wash the sheets before anyone comes to stay.
+ Clean the Whole House: I plan to do a little cleaning every day to maintain the cleanliness. I definitely don't want to come home from the hospital to a dirty house!
+ Groceries: We need to seriously stock up on groceries. For me and for all our visitors.
***On a happier note: The renovated kitchen and new guest room look amazing, the landscaping looks amazing (thanks to the hubs), the nursery is 99% done (pics coming soon!) and some of the other rooms are in great shape!
Baby Related:
+ Car Seat Installation
+ Purchase of second car seat base (& install that one too)
+ Wash one last load of baby laundry
+ Find a Pediatrician: Yeah I'm a huge procrastinator on this one, but I have it narrowed down to three doctors and I just need to meet them and pick one!
+ Pack My Hospital Bag
+ Pack Baby's Hospital Bag
+ Purchase post-pregnancy items for myself
+ Research Lactation Consultants
+ Wash Bottles / Pump Parts / etc.
+ Buy A Gift for the baby: Sure we've purchased a million things "for the baby", but nothing is really a "gift".  So I really wanted to go and buy her something as her first gift from her parents. I already have something in mind...I just have to find it! :)
***On a happier note: We purchased everything left from our registries. We hung the baby monitor. We have a small stockpile of diapers and wipes. The pack n' play is set up in our bedroom.

Jax Related:
+ Massage: I want to feel good in my last month of pregnancy, so I plan to schedule two more prenatal massages. One at 37 weeks and one at 39 weeks! :)
+ Mani/Pedi: My hands and toes need to look good for those newborn photos at the hospital - and I just feel a lot better about myself when I'm all cleaned up! So this needs to happen 1-2 times this month!
+ Date Nights:  I would love some quality date nights with the hubby this month, as it will be the last time we can go to dinner without the baby...or without paying a babysitter!
+ Take Walks: I'm usually exhausted when I get home from work, but I really need to push myself out the door and take walks for exercise. And our sweet Paisley would enjoy this too!
+ Relax: I'm actually pretty good at relaxing and getting plenty of sleep, but with our to-do list being pretty long, I'm hoping I still find time to relax and make the baby feel comfortable in her last weeks on the inside! :)

That's all my thoughts for today!
See you next week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Maternity Photos

I have a strong stance on maternity photos - I 110% wanted them and I wasn't going to take no for an answer. (I had the same stance on our engagement photos!) My husband doesn't enjoy getting his photo taken at all, but luckily he is a pretty great husband and let's me call the shots every once in a while. (In plus, he knew how much I loved photography before he married me!)
Luckily, our wedding photographer offers a 30-minute mini-session for her past clients twice a year. And it just so happened the date she picked to do them was right after my 32 weeks of being pregnant! The perfect time for maternity photos!
(And yes - if your photographer knows what they are doing - 30 minutes is plenty of time for a session!)
We booked the first session of the day and got to shooting!
I absolutely loved these trees with the beautiful flowers!
And this tree...and the background trees....LOVE LOVE LOVE!!
I absolutely adore these photos and that it captures the love and joy we have for this tiny human growing inside of me.  I look forward to the day we can show these to our little daughter - point to my stomach - and say "that's YOU"!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How Much Our Kitchen Renovation Cost

I decided to share the costs of our kitchen renovation with all of you, as I think it is super helpful for anyone who is interested in completely renovating their kitchen.
(And especially since this post is one of my most popular posts - I figured my readers LOVE knowing how much things cost.)
We honestly had no idea where to start with our budget.  Would a kitchen renovation cost 10k? 30k? 50k? Depending on what materials you pick out - you could easily pay well over $50k on a new kitchen. We reviewed our finances and decided a $15k-$20k budget is where we wanted to be, which honestly meant we had to be frugal in some areas in order to splurge on the things we really wanted.
Here's our kitchen renovation cost breakdown in a nutshell:
1. Demolition: Tearing out the existing kitchen cabinets/appliances/flooring/soffits etc. = $1,700
I honestly thought this was pretty steep - however, this price did include trash removal and re-plastering the ceiling and walls behind the cabinets.
2. Electrician: Materials and moving wires = $300
We had to hire someone to move the wires behind our walls. This also included buying $100 worth of materials for rewiring/etc.
3. Flooring: Purchases of tile and other flooring materials, and installation = $2,000 
The tile and flooring materials (hardy backer/grout/etc.) were around $1200, and the labor was around $800.
4. Cabinets/Sink: Cabinets, Custom Pantry, Farm Sink, and Installation = $8,000
We hired a kitchen designer for $200. We bought the cabinets during a 20% off kitchen sale and a beautiful ceramic farm sink! We hired someone at $20/hour to install the kitchen - so *I think* we saved a lot in the labor department since $20/hour is pretty reasonable.
 5. Countertops: Countertops and Installation = $1,800
We have a lot of counter space so I knew our countertop would be pricey.  We decided to go with quartz countertops and I absolutely love them.  (we could have gone with butcher block to save alot of money but we bought the countertops during a 20% off kitchen sale so we got them at a good deal! And installation was free with purchase! :)
6. Backsplash: Tile, Grout, and Installation = $650
Our materials were only $250 since we went with a tile that was only $6/sqft.  But the labor was pretty pricey ($400) since it was such a time consuming process. 
7. Appliances: New fridge, oven, microwave and dishwasher = $2,300
We purchased our appliances on Black Friday - so what should have cost us over $3,500+ only cost us $2,300!! I couldn't be happier with going to HH Gregg on Black Friday! They had the best deals!
8. Other Expenses: $900
And there were other small things we had to buy or pay for - like garbage disposal pieces, plumbing of the kitchen sink, crown molding for above the cabinets, molding for the floors since our existing molding was damaged, new light fixtures, new light switches and plate covers, paint supplies, grout sealers, etc. etc. etc. Trust me...all these little things ADD UP!
*That might seem like a lot - but let me remind you...we gutted EVERYTHING and literally started from scratch. So, to me, $18K for an ALL-BRAND-NEW kitchen seems like a pretty great deal.  In plus, this probably raises our home value double or triple of what we actually spent on the kitchen!
..........and since I can't waste any time between one renovation and the next......the bathroom renovation is currently in the works. So stay tuned for more home renovation fun! :)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pregnancy Journal: Weeks 33-34 + Other Ramblings

Size of Baby:  Squash (33 weeks), Pineapple (34 weeks)...about 5 pounds!
 Gender: It's a Girl
Feeling: Happy/Anxious/Loved!
Maternity Clothes: Yes! Lots of maternity clothes or super loose pre-pregnancy clothing!
Sleep: I could go for a nap right about now! I'm getting pretty lazy and tired - but sleeping like a charm!
Weight: I'm still under the 30 pound mark - but I imagine I will be hitting that milestone in the next week.
Symptoms: There are a lot of symptoms this week - meaning lots of pain and discomfort in the lower half of my body! The doctor told me she was head-down right now (yay) which is adding to the pain in my tail bone and pelvic area. But he also said she could flip a few more times before she is settled! (Stay head down, little lady, I'll take the pain!)
Stretch Marks: None so far!!! I've been lathering up like a turkey on Thanksgiving! :)
Movement: Lots of movement and hiccups going on inside. None have been too jabbing - still adorable little kicks and dance moves.
Highlights: Our maternity photo session!! Stay tuned for photos...
Looking forward to: Hitting that 37 week mark since that is considered "full-term".
As for other baby ramblings....
+ After waiting 12 weeks for our custom order, our glider and ottoman finally arrived! So now, we are 98.5% done with the nursery!! I'm so excited to share this little space with you! Now, we just need to touch up some paint, hang the mobile and mount the monitor on the wall!
+ We set up the pack'n play in our room so the baby can sleep close by (in the bassinet topper) for the first few weeks/months.
+ Since all of my baby showers are done, we plan to buy out the rest of our registry this week to get everything ready. We have a lot of stuff to buy!
 That's it for today!
See my previous weeks here:
Weeks 4-12 // Weeks 13-14 // Weeks 15-16 // Weeks 17-18 // Week 19
Week 20 // Week 21-22 // Week 23-24 // Week 25-26 // Week 27-28 // Week 29-30

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our Kitchen Renovation (Part II) - The Finale

It's been a while since I updated you on our kitchen renovation we started back in November.
To refresh: here was our original kitchen, and here is our renovation part one!
 I haven't blogged about our kitchen since December, mainly because our last few cabinets fronts were on backorder and we weren't able to receive them until March!! (complete ridiculousness if you ask me!)  But - we did have a completely working kitchen so I can't be too mad about it. 
Here are the our current kitchen updates and photos of our renovated kitchen!! 
+ Countertops were installed!! Woohooo!!
+ This also means the sink and the dishwasher were permanently installed too, as they needed the countertops there in order to mount them both correctly.
+ A lot of angry phone calls regarding our remaining cabinets, as they were supposed to be ready last month.
+ Several trips to Home Depot and Lowes to look at backsplash.

+ Our remaining cabinets are finally ready!!
+ Remaining cabinets are installed!
+ We finally decide on our backsplash! Actually - we picked out the one we really wanted that was $13/sqft. We needed 37sqft total which would have been around $500 for just the material.  But when we went back to buy it - we didn't really like it anymore and decided on another one that was $6/sqft. Saving us over $250! Go us!!!
+ Backsplash was installed!!

+ Floor Baseboards were installed.
+ Crown Molding and door frames were painted.
+Victory dances to celebrate the kitchen being COMPLETED!! :)
Five months to get from THIS to THIS:

Here are some panoramic photos I took with my iPhone so you can see the full room:
 The door to the left leads you into our bonus room with the white fireplace! :)
The door to the right leads you into our dining room.
And if you do a 180 and turn around - you will be looking out a big window into our backyard.

Do you love our new kitchen as much as I do????
I absolutely looooooove it!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Baby Shower #3

My third and final baby shower was so spectacular!
This baby shower was hosted by our "second family" in Cincinnati who couldn't have been more generous and loving to us throughout our marriage - and with the news of our new baby! I absolutely loved the sweet shower they threw for me - with all of CV's family and my Cincinnati friends.
Since a lot of my guests didn't know each other - a cute little game was created to meet someone new. When guests arrived they were asked to pick a sock from the bowl....after drinks were served and the mingling began....they were asked to find their sock partner! It gave everyone a chance to meet someone new - then - all the socks were paired and went back into the bowl that I got to take home! :) Yay for all these precious socks!
After mingling - we had a fancy sit-down lunch. Our meal was a chicken, beet and spinach salad, topped with pears, candied walnuts and a delish dressing.  We also had an assortment of bread on the table. It was such a delicious lunch and I loved that everyone got to sit down and eat together!
(There were also personalized cookies and other personalized things at the shower - but since they give away the babies' name I chose not to share those pictures!) :)
 Then, there was present opening...
 Followed by the best part of all - a baby food demonstration!
A chef was there who showed us how to make our own baby food.  We made acorn squash & apple puree with a pinch of cinnamon! I even got to blend it up! It was so much fun and definitely a different spin to a baby shower!
I had such an amazing time showering little baby V the last three weeks. We have so much love pouring from our family and friends. I seriously can't wait for her to arrive and to meet all these amazing people!!