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Thursday, July 12, 2018

6 Months in the New House

This post contains affiliate links meaning if you click and/or make a purchase with one of those links, I make a few cents at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting Poppyseeder!

fixer upper victorian house maine
lamp - chairs - table - wall shelves - storge shelf - record player

Well, hi! It's been quite a while since I last gave a house update. We've been busy, so the progress has really slowed down, but we're still doin' things. I think Spencer and I finally realized that we couldn't possibly turn this house into everything that we wanted in only a few months and still keep our sanity. Plus, the snow is finally gone, we need to get out and explore while we can! So we're just going about our lives and working on the house when we have time. It's frustrating to not have the house all put together, yet relaxing at the same time. 

fixer upper victorian house maine
rug - couch - mirror

• Got a new couch
We desperately needed a new couch-- our old one was a thrift store find and didn't match our style, although it was super comfortable and durable. There aren't really any furniture stores nearby that have products that match our style and budget, so we started looking online, which was very daunting. Couches aren't cheap and returning a couch doesn't sound fun, so we wanted to make sure we did our research and got a great one. We've had our couch since March and I absolutely love it so far. Stay tuned because I'm going to write a whole post on purchasing a couch online since the hunt was such a process. 

• Finished painting the kitchen cabinets
This project took waaaay longer than it should have. We painted the cabinets themselves within one day, but not the doors and drawers. We took them off and because it was winter (spring in Maine is basically winter, too) didn't really have anywhere to paint them and let them dry. But with this warmer weather, we finally got it done and the kitchen is now put back together! All that's left to do in the kitchen is install a new sink, garbage disposal, and get new countertops. 

luxury vinyl tile floor

• Put a new floor in the kitchen
The linoleum floor in the kitchen was probably from the 80's, dirty beyond hope, and just looked horrible. We replaced it with some "luxury vinyl" that you peel and stick to the floor, and it's groutable to make it look more like real tile. It was a great, inexpensive option for us, especially since our floors are a bit uneven. The new floor looks great, I love it, and we're planning to put it in our bathrooms, too. 

• Continued working in the guest room
The progress in the guest rooms has been slow. When we moved in, guest room #2 had disgusting stained teal carpet, and I couldn't wait to rip it up. It also had flat paint on the walls and a wallpaper border, because man, the previous owners sure loved their wallpaper. We steamed the border off and painted the walls white, but in a satin finish, which instantly made the room look so much cleaner.
We ripped up the carpet a few months ago and found that the floors underneath were in great condition, though painted brown and covered in carpet glue. We got some black patio paint and painted the floors, which only took about an hour, minus drying time between painting the two coats. 

cheap easy window coverings

I took down the pukey-pink, dust-caked blinds and replaced them with some Redi Shade blinds, which you can get on Amazon for under $10. I've been using these for years. They took great, they're cheap, and they're easy. 

We also finally set up the trundle bed that we got on sale from Wayfair during their Presidents' Day sale. We bought 2 MORGEDAL foam mattresses from IKEA during their annual mattress sale (usually in January or February) for only $169 each (usually $199 each). I need to purchase some duvet inserts and sheets before those beds are ready, but that's just not a priority right now. 

• Started researching heating and cooling options
When we bought this house, we knew that the boiler would need to be replaced within a year-- the thing is probably 50 years old. I kinda forgot about that as soon as we got through the winter without it crapping out. A few weeks ago when Spencer was about to get in the shower, he noticed the water wasn't heating up. We had someone come out to look at the boiler and he was able to fix it, thank goodness, but he referred to it as a "Frankenstein boiler" and said we definitely needed a new one ASAP. 

We definitely need to figure out what to do well before cold weather arrives or we're screwed. We've been exploring options for new boilers and getting lots of quotes, but also heat pumps for heating and cooling. A heat pump would drastically cut our bills and having air conditioning definitely doesn't sound bad! This is all going to be a huge expense and I'm dreading it, but at least we'll have more efficient systems and peace of mind.
• Still dealing with the washer/dryer fiasco
In my last update, I briefly explained the washer/dryer fiasco-- they weren't going to be delivered on time, so we got a floor model, and the guys who brought them to our house seriously messed up. They scratched our walls, door frames, the appliances, and they caused the washer to flood our laundry room. Back then I reported that we were currently in talks with insurance companies for the damages done. Well, we're still talking to insurance companies and nothing has been fixed. In fact, there isn't much talking because people keep passing the buck, ignoring our calls and emails, claiming that they've filed our claim but then there is no record of our's been a nightmare. They are obviously trying to jerk us around so that we give up and they don't have to fix anything for us, but damn it, that is not going to happen. This ordeal has been absolutely maddening and I never want to buy a large appliance ever again. 

• Started some landscaping
We planted some trees! It doesn't sound that exciting, and the trees are basically twigs right now, but it's going to be so great when they start to mature. Our yard gets a lot of sunlight, which kills our grass, which makes our yard look sad. To eventually provide some more shade, we planted a weeping cherry tree in the front yard and a buffalo wing maple tree in the backyard. We're also mapping out some more landscaping, we really want a lush and private yard. I grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia (as in Colonial Williamsburg) so I have always adored colonial style gardens and I am definitely drawing inspiration from those. 

maine home design
The living and dining rooms back in January 
Progress has slowed, but this house sure has come a long way. It's definitely been more work than we anticipated, but worth it! 

You can see more behind the scenes stuff on my Instagram and follow the hashtag #thefawnhouse.
Monday, July 9, 2018

Escaping the Heat on the Bold Coast

west quoddy head lighthouse

Maine has been stupid-hot lately, and the lack of air conditioning has been killin' me. Spencer and I are exploring different options for getting AC put in our house, but in the meantime, we have to deal. On Sunday we headed up the coast in search of a cool ocean breeze with no particular destination in mind, but of course, ended up at Quoddy Head State Park. This is one of my absolute favorite places in Maine and I had been dying to go back since our first visit last September.

campobello island

lubec maine

We were anticipating the park to be packed with tourists, but it wasn't bad at all. The sun was shining, the tide was low, and the ocean breeze caused me to wear a hoodie for a while. It was so nice to not be sweating my butt off for once!

bold coast maine

The first time we visited Quoddy, the tide was high and the waves were crashing so we couldn't go too far down on the beach (but it made the views so beautiful and dramatic!). This time we were able to explore the beach for quite a while, Spencer found a giant rock to perch on to take photos, and I checked out some tide pools.

downeast maine, bold coast maine, visit maine

After exploring the beach we continued down the trail up on top of the cliffs. It lead us into such a lush, mossy forest. All I could smell was pine trees and sea salt-- my favorite smell and I have yet to find a candle that even comes close. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the end of the trail. Right as we got to a little wooden ladder that continued up the cliff, I felt a piercing pain in my knee, so we turned around. I was a little bummed, but I certainly intend to finish that trail during our next visit.

gulliver's hole

If you're in the Lubec area and you skip Quoddy, you're crazy. It may not be the biggest park or have the most dramatic views or challenging hikes, but it's so beautiful, peaceful, and there's something about having to turn my phone on airplane mode to avoid international data fees (since the park is smack-dab on the Canadian border) that makes the park seem even more serene. I get to totally tune out for a few hours. This whole region of Maine is vastly underrated if ya ask me.

wild blueberry land maine

Bonus: on the way home, we stopped at Wild Blueberry Land, located in the town of Columbia Falls. In case you didn't know, I love kitschy roadside attractions and sadly wasn't able to visit last time we were in the area. This place has been on my list for a while and we finally went in, smelled the pies, walked the grounds and grimaced at the creepy mannequins scattered around. This place is a treasure.

How are you beatin' the heat? Kitschy roadside attractions, nay or yay? Tell me in the comments!
Saturday, June 16, 2018

Life Lately + Link Love #12

Life Lately + Link Love is a series where I talk about what I've been up to and share posts from the blogging community and from around the internet that I think you'd enjoy. You're always welcome to share what you've been loving lately in the comments. 

schoodic head acadia national park

Life Lately: 

This is my first post since March and initially I felt like I owed an explanation of where I've been, which is what prompted me to start typing. Feeling like I owe my readers/followers life updates is exactly why I needed this little hiatus. I don't know if I'll get back to blogging as regularly as I was before, I just feel so disconnected from it right now.

Fixing up the house has kind of come to a standstill since we've been busy with so much. It's at a livable point right now-- livable, but not where we want it to be.

Besides that, I'm doing really well right now and I'm happier than I've been in a long time. Back in February I mentioned that I had gotten involved with a local roller derby league and I gotta tell ya, it's what has been missing from my life. The derby community is so loving, supportive, and fun. Days when I don't put skates on are pretty darn dull, but thankfully those days don't come very often. I could go on and on...but maybe I'll save it for another time.

Oh, and huge shoutout to everyone who checked up on me while I was away. It really meant a lot to me.

maine roller skating

Link Love:

  • Bangor Metro recently wrote a piece about derby in Maine!
  • Just because I've felt disconnected from blogging doesn't mean I've been disconnected from blogs-- y'all, I've been loving NoxTalks, a roller derby-centric blog.
  • more skating-related thing then I'm done, I promise. Planet Roller Skate has been a huge help to me. Indy covers fundamentals, more advanced things, and lots of fun stuff. 
  • Denise started a freakin' podcast and it's wonderful. I really enjoyed episode #2.
  • If you like following tattoo artists on Instagram, I love Charline Bataille's work (and her stories).
  • Are daughters karmic retribution for men being awful to women in the past? Uh, no. Dara digs in.
  • Angela was kind enough to support me through my Ko-fi page. Thanks for your support, Angela! 

What have you been loving lately? Leave links in the comments!
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

For the Love of Big Blue

pepper's closet, poppyseeder

Surprise, surprise-- it's still ridiculously cold here in Maine. I am a huge proponent of taking outfit photos outside , but it's just not happening right now. So I've decided to show you what I've been wearing day-to-day in my natural habitat -- my house that, yes, I'm still working on.

I've never really been a long sleeved t-shirt kinda gal, but for the past 6 months or so, I've really been drawn to them, which is one of the reasons why I picked out this shirt from Pepper's Closet-- the other reason was the whale. I don't talk about it much here, but I actually co-founded an ocean conservation non-profit back in 2012, so needless to say, I'm a huge ocean-loving nerd. I'm especially a huge whale-loving nerd. One of my first dates with my husband actually ended with us sitting on the beach talking about whales.

pepper's closet

Anyway, this has been my go-to outfit lately. The long sleeved shirt is comfy and warm, then I pair it with a denim wrap skirt and tights or fleece-lined leggings. It's a great outfit for transitioning between winter and spring, and super comfortable without making me feel sloppy. I also love this shirt because it washes so well. I often avoid t-shirts with designs on them because they melt in the dryer or they crack within a couple washes, but after multiple washes this shirt still looks and feels like new.

Oh, and did I mention that Pepper's Closet donates 10% of their net profits to ocean conservation, research, and cleanup efforts?

pepper's closet

Sadly when it comes to ocean conservation, I feel that there is a one step forward, two steps back thing going on. Or as of recently, five steps back. Regardless of what is going on with policy, it's important to keep on keepin' on and do what you can, no matter how small your contribution may seem. And more than that, it's important to encourage others to do the same. Unsure of what small actions you can take? Here, have some ideas:

No bottled water or plastic utensils and straws- These items are the most common things that I find when I clean up the beach.  Plastic utensils and straws create so much senseless waste, and don't even get me started on the bottled water industry. Invest in a reusable water bottle and utensils and carry them with you. Fun fact: I always have a set of reusable chopsticks in my purse, they're great in a pinch!

Don't celebrate with sky lanterns or releasing balloons-  Warming weather brings more releases of sky lanterns and balloons. As cool as releasing lanterns or balloons may look, it's horrible. Sky lanterns have set buildings and forests on fire, injured people and animals, and get tangled in power lines. Balloons don't fly up to heaven unfortunately-- they end up in the stomachs of animals, littering beaches, and helium is a non-renewable resource that is quickly being depleted.

Host a swap- If you have unwanted clothes, books, or whatever else around the house, host a swap with your friends. Tell them to bring their unwanted items and trade. Donate whatever is left to a local secondhand store.

Tidy up around you- If you're enjoying a day outside and see trash around you, just take a couple minutes to pick it up. I know cleaning up after other people isn't fun, but it will benefit everyone. In my experience, this usually inspires people around me to help out, too. Keeping gloves in your car comes in handy for this!

Contact your elected officials- This is probably the least fun thing on this list, but the most important. It is more important than ever to let your elected officials know where you stand on issues. Writing to them is great, but calling is so much more effective. If you're like me and have social anxiety, here's a little tip sheet for how to get through it-- and that is exactly what I do when I call my reps!

pepper's closet

You can get 10% off your order from Pepper's Closet using the code "poppyseeder" or simply by using this link.

*This post was sponsored by Pepper's Closet. All opinions are mine!*