This little town we live in: Windsor, CA

Thank you to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® for sponsoring this post.

It all started when I was 20 years old. John and I had been dating for a solid 6 years at that point, we were both in college and both desperately wanted to move out of our parent's houses. If you know either of us at all, you'll know that John and I are planners. We are not spontaneous or care-free in any way shape or form.  We started brain storming on how we were going to move in together, how we'd be able to pay for it and where we wanted to live. All through high school and my first part of college, I dreamed of living in some new apartments that were just built in my hometown. That just seemed so grown up to me at the time.  We quickly realized that renting an apartment would be a total waste of that hard earned money we had been saving up for so many years. 

Our town hosts the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon festival every year. 

Then we realized... What does it take to buy a house? We had some savings built up between the two of us and we both had steady jobs. However, we had no idea what it took to purchase a house, how much it would cost {especially where we live in Northern CA}, whether we'd qualify or not, and how the heck we would go from living under our parent's roofs for free, to having a whole house and mortgage of our own.

But guess what... we did it.  

This picture was taken {by the passenger} in Sonoma County, CA

I decided to Facebook message a friend of a family who I used to babysit for. I knew she was a successful realtor in our area and a member of the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. I was secretly really scared that she wouldn't take me seriously. Some young kids with $xxxxx saved up want to move out of mommy and daddy's and play grown up. Or at least that's what I assumed all adults thought of us. 

I couldn't have been more wrong! Debbie was so great to us. She explained the steps to take to see if we could even qualify, told us about the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and signed us up for MLS alerts for homes in our price range.

A picture of the storefronts in downtown Windsor, CA 

Full disclosure: the whole point to this post was to tell you about how much we love love love living in Windsor, California! Sorry for the little side story there...

Ok, so picture this: Rolling green hills everywhere you look. Miles of vineyards surrounding your city. A Town Green where the community gathers for events like farmers markets, movie nights and live concerts. Where all of the commercial entertainment is within walking or biking distance and every neighborhood is built around a park.

After living in Santa Rosa our whole lives, we were always under the impression that the little town just 3 exits north of us was "ghetto". WHAT? Clearly anyone who thinks Windsor is ghetto has never been to Windsor.

John and Modok in downtown Windsor eating ice cream.

We ended up loving it so much here that we purchased our forever home just a mile or so away from our first home. This is such a wonderful community with a small town feel, yet only an hour {or so} from San Francisco, less than an hour to the beach and about four hours to Lake Tahoe. Perfect weather, perfect location.

I mean, yeah, our house prices are like double what they should be, but just visit here and you'll fall in love with our little gateway to Wine Country.

Oh and if I've successfully convinced you to consider purchasing a home in Northern CA, please be sure to contact the best realtor around. She didn't even pay me to say that. She's just that great. It's like getting to work with your BFF all day for months on end. 

{Clicking this picture will lead you to her website} 
Oh you know, just an average conversation between realtor and client :)

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

DIY Dollar Store Serving Trays

You may or may not remember me mentioning that I was in charge of decorating for my sister-in-law's bridal shower back in September. I made the mistake of not taking any pictures of my work before everyone showed up, but I did manage to get some cute pictures of the buffet table. 

Before I get started, someone wants to say hi. This is my little helper today. His name is Modok and he will be sitting in my lap while I write this post. He's not very comfortable, but he's too cute to put down! 

Her shower was rainbow and mini-food themed. Random, but those are two things that popped into our heads when thinking about the best theme to describe her. 

So anyway, today I'm going to show you how I made a boatload of serving platters for really cheap. Like... really cheap. 

Tools: Dollar Store platters, E-6000 glue, spray paint

I started with a whole bunch of platters from the dollar store. As you can see, they aren't all the same. I mixed it up by using the "fancy" trays, pizza trays, square trays, martini glasses, candle sticks, wine glasses, etc. to create unique platters. I stood in the aisle of the dollar store for about an hour designing all of these to make sure I had all the correct pieces. The three-tierd platters go from smaller to larger at the bottom. 

I used some E-6000 glue to attach everything together. The glue comes out clear, but I still glued mine before painting to make sure none was visible. 

 Once everything was built and the glue was dry, I sprayed them all with white primer. I mainly did this so that I didn't have to use as much colored spray paint. 

I didn't get a great picture of them all complete, but here is a shot of the different colors I used. 
And here is everything with the food displayed on them. Since everyone was in charge of bringing their own mini-foods, I brought cupcake liners from Pick Your Plum so that they could transfer their mini foods from their mobile platters onto my serving trays. 

I used scrapbook paper as my doilies on some of them so that food could just be set onto the platters. I didn't coat the platters with anything special, so I thought this might be a bit safer and tastier than putting the food directly onto spray painted metal. Yum.

And there you have it! So easy to do, and you can customize them to whatever your theme is!

P.S. Check out my rainbow wall decorations!

Three Things Thursday

Today I'm linking up with Carolina Fireflies and Pretty Living PDX for a new link party they started called Three Things Thursday. I randomly came across one of their posts from last week & thought it would be fun to join in!

Topic of the week: Three things you love to eat!

Alright, so for those of you who know me in real life, you know that I loveeee to eat. Like real food, not salad and that fancy healthy stuff. 
Here are some of my top 3 favorite foods:

#1: Pepsi and Candy Corn

Ok, I know this is actually two things, but I sure love the combo! I look forward to this sweet treat every year around October. I tend to go a bit overboard on the candy corn around Halloween though, so I usually don't eat it during the other 11 months. It seriously is my fave though.

#2: Alpha-Bits Cereal

Do you remember this cereal from a long time ago? This was my FAVORITE cereal growing up and then one day it vanished from the shelves! I Googled it for years, but couldn't find any suppliers. UNTIL, one day I got a text from my sister announcing it was the greatest day of our lives. AND SHE WAS RIGHT. I ran to Target that afternoon and bought four boxes. That was back in 2011 and I have yet to be without Alpha-Bits since.

I was so excited that I wrote a blog post about it that day. 

#3: Macaroni & Cheese with Applesauce

I try not to post pictures of food very much on Instagram and Facebook, mainly because I know people don't really care. One day I was eating this at work and decided to snap a picture of it. That sparked a whole debate over whether this meal is gross or not. {For the record, it's amazing, trust me.} Ever since I was younger, I always poured applesauce on top of my blue box Kraft Mac & Cheese. I recently discovered shelled Mac, which tastes even better with applesauce!
{You know you want to try this now..}

Happy Thursday!

Start Fresh Buy New: The benefits of purchasing a new home

When we started our home buying process, we thought that we wanted to move back to our hometown and into one of the two neighborhoods that we grew up in. After looking at dozens of homes between our hometown of Santa Rosa and our first home in the Town of Windsor, we quickly realized that Windsor was the place to be. Why? Because the houses in Windsor are much newer.

Friday Favorites: All White Everything

When we started the design and decor process in our new house, we agreed that white would be the main color. Linens, furniture, accessories...all white everything.


One of the main reasons we decided to do this was because we changed up the decor and purchased {and repurchased} multiple bedspreads and pieces of furniture in our old house. We had dark wood furniture and rod-iron accents. It wasn't horrible by any means, but it wasn't what I wanted. 

Transforming Your Kitchen Cabinets From Drab to Fab {part two}

For part two of this transformation, I decided to make a major change to the cabinets. I painted the insides of them bright white. 

Guest Post: Lauren from The Crafty Ginger

I am so excited to introduce you to my new blogging buddy, Lauren, today. We just recently "met", but have already figured out that we have so much in common! She has some really genius ideas on her super cute blog, so please go check it out and show her some love for me!
xo. Hilary


Transforming Your Kitchen Cabinets From Drab to Fab {part one}

The very first task that I worked on when we got the keys to our new house was ripping out drawer liners in the kitchen and bathrooms. You know the feeling, right? When other people's crumbs, germs and hair (gross) are still lingering in your space. 

New House & Moving Day

We did it!!! Our patience paid off and four months after we sold our house, we finally got the keys to my dream home! I had a lot of dream homes during those four months, but after lots of perseverance and patience, this one finally became ours. 

Live Without Pretending

Hey strangers! It has been a really long time since I last blogged. Two reasons: One, my life was the opposite of glamorous and interesting for the first 2.5 months of this year. Two, mid-March my life became really busy {& still not very glamorous} when we finally got to move into our new house! 

The point of this post today is regarding bloggers who tend to make their lives look perfect at all times. They post pictures of their immaculate houses, their perfectly home cooked meals and their laughing children. Well, as much as I would prefer you thinking that about me, it just isn't true. 
Do you want to see how we've been living since December?