My husband’s walk-in closet

I know. How fricking lucky are we, right? We get two walk-in closets in our master suite. Mine is still a mess because I haven’t figured out exactly how I want it configured, but Steve did a great job organizing his space, all on his own.

There is a place for everything, so it’s super easy for us to put his laundry away. He also has a dresser, for shorts and t-shirts, socks, etc.

Work shirts and ties:

Heavier shirts and hoodies:

Work trousers:

There is even room for beloved childhood toys, along with sweatpants.

Toiletries and clothing accessories.

Shoes are neatly housed in IKEA shoe racks.

The back of the door is the perfect place for his collection of caps.

Steve also did a purge of his clothes before organizing them, which is exactly as it should be. We do keep heavy winter coats in the closet by the garage, and I am sure some more winter gear will be added to his wardrobe.

Didn’t he do a great job?

Master bedroom

A wise friend advised me to focus on the master bedroom, to create a sanctuary there even if the rest of the house was not finished. For the most part we did that, because having a place for the whole family to gather was at the top of our list, so our living room did get top priority. Today I’m sharing our master bedroom as it is now. I still want to have a little sitting area, but for the most part, it is functional, and after a few things we added this past weekend, I think it’s beautiful.

I wanted warm, soothing neutrals, a bit of glam, a bit of Paris (of course), and I definitely wanted to make good use of things we had in our California house.

The main purchase here was the bed. We wanted a king-sized bed (Eastern king, not California king), and Steve wanted a sleigh frame, so we looked and looked, and found the bed at Wayfair.

We had the white duvet cover, got white sheet sets from IKEA and WalMart, and the beaded pillow is from the clearance aisle at Pier 1. Our Stearns and Foster mattress is absolutely heavenly to sleep on, and was purchased from Ashley Furniture in nearby Brookfield.

We bought some prints from street vendors when we were in Paris last November, and I’ve held on to them until I figured out what I wanted to do with them. We considered putting them in the living room, dining room, but in the end I liked the idea of having them in our bedroom.

The frames are from the “value” section at Michaels, and the set of mirrors are from Kohl’s, but I’ve seen similar at Target.

Steve did a great job putting them up and we both love how they look up there.

The neutral frames let the color in the prints pop and this little gallery is a sweet reminder of our trip.

The nightstands are IKEA Expedit pieces we brought from California, and the lamps and shades are from WalMart.

I love these curtains.

They’re from World Market and the moment I saw them I knew that I wanted them. They’re neutral and warm, and I liked that they give us privacy but are not completely blocking the light. Don’t worry, we don’t light those candles when the curtains are closed 😀

The painting to the left was brought from our California bedroom.

We also have our two dressers facing the bed, as well as the trunk that is a family heirloom. We’re really happy how our bedroom is coming along, it is a soothing, comfortable space we both love.

Our Wisconsin house

I figured it’s about time I show y’all a little bit more of our new house.

Isn’t it beautiful?

This is the living room, right now we have the TV console with a TV on top (priorities, people!) and the cable and internet services were installed yesterday. No furniture other than a folding table and four accordingly-folding chairs. Gas fireplace and a taller mantel than I’ve ever had to decorate in my life. Hmmmm.

We get lots of light, obviously, with all these huge window spaces, and we might have to go with two-story curtains, as the afternoon light comes straight in and you get glare on the TV, but that will be something to be done later. My very vague idea for this area is a neutrals/mixed metals sort of thing that can easily be changed around for holidays or parties with a few colorful accents.

The kitchen is gorgeous, love the stonework and the lighting. It has traditional colors and fixtures but it is open and bright and airy.

The dining area also gets lots of light, and both it and the living room windows look out onto a line of trees marking the edge of our property and two fields beyond that, one is corn and the other one I believe is soy.

The hardwood floors are lovely. My husband suggested a glass-top dining table, but it seems 99% of them have some kind of futuristic-looking base that puts us both off. I’d love to find a glass-top on something like this one.

There is a master suite downstairs with his and hers walk-in closets:

and a gorgeous bathroom.

The boys’ will have their own rooms and they are the ones sleeping most comfortably already thanks to the kindness of Steve’s boss and his wife, who had twin beds they no longer used and passed them on to us. Our bed arrived yesterday but we have no mattress for it, yet.

I tell you, starting from scratch is very, very frustrating sometimes. There isn’t a single comfortable place to sit in the house right now. We have office chairs and folding chairs, but that’s it.

The piece de resistance upstairs, however, is the “bonus room.” Okay, in California, a bonus room usually means something the size of a closet. Behold the 35-foot-long behemoth bonus room that will be the domain of my children:


We figure this will be a great game room, craft room, a place for them to have their friends over and hang out. It is fully wireless-ed and internet-ed, of course, and most of the toys have been making their way up there.

We got the washer and dryer a couple of days ago, which has made my life easier. I got two laundry baskets so each boy can take the one with his clean and folded clothes upstairs (laundry is in the main level) and put them away in his room.

There is a huge basement, unfinished, which will be my husband’s big project for the next two years. We do want to have a living area there, and it is already wired and plumbed so it will be its own little apartment. There is also plenty of space for our storage and my husband’s workshop, since you know he’s already making plans for Halloween and the holidays.

So this is our new house, I love the palette inside, the off white walls with the cherry wood, the lighting is lovely, the fixtures are all brushed nickel, which goes so well with the dark wood. We have stuff all over everywhere, unpacking boxes and trying to figure out where they will go. Once we have our bed, living room furniture and dining set I think we’ll have a much better idea of how things will fit. We brought most of our things, our decorations, photos, frames, etc. but no big furniture other than dressers and hutches, etc.

Foxy is learning quickly where the heating vents are 😀 She’s adjusting well and is busy exploring the back yard. She was such a great traveler and my oldest continues to dote on his “yum yum girl.”

I will (hopefully) have pictures of this weekend’s furniture shopping – follow me on Instagram for more up-to-date pics. Have a wonderful weekend!

Our first few days in Wisconsin

We’ve been here almost a whole week and it has been busy, busy, busy. We did not bring any major furniture – sofa, dining set, beds – so we’ve got a card table and folding chairs as our dining / gaming area, and a very, very glamorous home theater set up:

My awesome husband bought me Mockingjay, Part 1, so I now having it the background as I finish setting up the kitchen. We’ve been eating microwavable food after eating on the road for a week, so more homemade meals, even a bowl of our favorite oatmeal, has been a treat.

Speaking of the kitchen, the set up is different than at our old house, and putting up a pot rack as we had is not an option here, so we’re exploring various solutions.


There is a sliding door about two feet to the right of that lower cabinet, which might be the perfect place for some wine and stemware storage. I love the mix of the traditional dark cherry wood and modern brushed nickel / steel, my husband added the pulls and knobs a couple of days ago, so I will be looking for something like this in a bar cabinet.

Have a wonderful week!

Hello, Wisconsin!!!

We are here. Finally. After seven days of driving from California to our new home state, we are here. Our stuff, however, won’t be here until Friday, and then starts the marathon unpacking and furniture ordering.

The boys LOVE the house, they were so excited when they walked in. If you want to see pictures of our road trip and follow our Wisconsin adventures, check out my Instagram. I will be posting on a more regular basis now that we are here 😀

What no one tells you about the moving process

I was ready for a lot of tedious packing. Endless hours of stuffing our things into boxes, taping them up, labeling, next! I was ready for getting rid of so many things we accumulated simply because we could, sending them to better homes in hopes that our new home wouldn’t be as cluttered.

I was not ready for the endless days of melancholy as we get ready to say goodbye to our home of over a decade. The house we brought our babies to from the hospital when they were born. The house where every birthday party took place. The house I didn’t really like for two years, and which I resented for many more when the money spent in it was pulling our family under.

I was not ready for driving around, running errands, and the thought of “is this the last time I’m here?” is triggered every time. Well, I’m sure I haven’t seen the last of our new Target yet, but our little Chinese food place, where we got consistently good food for the last ten years, I’m pretty sure last night was the last time we got takeaway there. The new pizza place was telling me about their promotion for next month and I just smiled, thinking “we won’t be here.” The library where my children got hundreds of new adventures.

We will find all “new” places, of course, new favorite restaurants, new corner stores to run to for the two eggs I don’t have for my cupcakes, and Target is an ever-comforting presence, although I won’t be there with my best friend, who calls the “team huddle” bell the “team cuddle” bell. I will think of her every time I hear it, every time I get a Starbucks or have Chinese food by myself because I am addicted to it and it was our weekly ritual.

The other day we were watching Face Off and the Golden Gate Bridge was one of the inspiration choices for the contestants. I wondered, if I see the Bay Area pop up in the news once we’re in Wisconsin, will I be one of those people that automatically turns to see what’s going on in our old turf? My husband has already found a news station he likes, since he was there for weeks at a time. I’ll miss Frank from Channel 2, but thank goodness he has a Facebook page so I can at least keep up with his daily stories.

We got our first new house gift last night, from dear friends we will also miss. We’ve shared good food and wine more times than I can count, good times and bad, and lots of house decorating ideas. From all corners of the world we managed to be friends, and I am sure we will remain so even with this distance between us.

We leave many good people behind – today I will say goodbye to my mom and siblings. Not forever, I hope, but definitely for a long time. Technology may be a curse on our humanity but I will cling to it, Facebook and email and Skype, to see beloved faces and let them see ours in exchange.

I am excited and happy for this new adventure, but there is also sadness and melancholy, and the joy in knowing those latter feelings means that we built a good life for ourselves here. We will miss and be missed, and we will go on to make new friends, new memories, without forgetting those we leave behind.

The weekend beckons and I shall yield to its call for more packing and more goodbyes. Until next week, then.

Hello Wisconsin

I had the chance of visiting the Milwaukee area a couple of weeks ago, to make a decision on a house along with my husband. Apparently, we arrived on the day of a really bad snowstorm.

I took this as we were readying to land

My husband, who has been working there (he came back for the holidays) and was familiar with the weather, kept looking at me as we stepped outside — I felt the chill, looked back at him, and said, “I am home!”. Well, it was really cold. But I like the cold.

One house had what we called the “Captain America” shower, because seriously, it looked like you might come out looking totally different.

Given my clumsiness, though, I think I’d have hit the wrong combination of buttons and I’d have accessed the nuclear codes or something.

I was a little too excited about my meal to take my time and focus properly, so I apologize.

Deb’s Main Street Cafe in Dousman has the best fried chicken ever! It was so good. Light, crisp fry, yummy insides, great seasoning, these folks know what they’re doing.

Everyone recommended the frozen custard.

Kopps has delicious frozen goodness, different extra flavors every day, but I went with vanilla. Because the best test of any sweet shop’s products is whatever vanilla product they have. If they get THAT right, you know they can get anything else right. It tasted like creme brulee but frozen, so uh, creme glacee, I guess? The same consistency and texture, so rich and good. Steve got the Oreo flavor which was that day’s special. We went back and again I got the vanilla because it really is that delicious.

As far as houses go, we had two favorites in mind before I flew out there. And guess what? We decided on neither! Ha.

This is just a peek because we’re still in the middle of the process. Rather, we’re at the beginning of the process, so I will share more when it’s more of a sure thing.

Now I am in California, and my darling is back in Wisconsin. He’s amassing quite the collection of gloves and hats, I tell you 😀

We are moving to . . .

No, not France. I wish. But no. Although it will be an equally dairy-friendly land.

Uh-oh. This Niners fan is going to be a little out of place, although right now I am very angry with the Forty-Niners front office for letting Coach Harbaugh go. But, Coach will now be just across the lake, and I will be cheering for the Michigan Wolverines.

You know what this means . . .

Hello Wisconsin!!!

That’s right. The big adventure of 2015 for our family will be our move from California to Wisconsin, or as I call it, from Sunny California to North of the Wall (GoT reference).

My husband is starting a new job after a horrific year and a half in a situation where our family was impacted financially, emotionally, my husband’s health was suffering, etc. We are looking forward to living in the midwest, to new experiences, to making new friends, to having white Christmases. Yes, it will be difficult to leave friends and family behind, to leave the house our boys came home to after being born, to leave the only lifestyle we’ve known, to live in the snow, but we’re determined to make a good life for ourselves, and of course, I will be sharing our transformation from Californians to Wisconsinites here.

Have a wonderful Monday!