Migrating Migraines

Moving has never really daunted me much. I guess we were always moving up, moving on, creating a new future and a new beginning. It was always exciting and it always felt right. Our move to NC was no exception, in fact I think more than any other move before it, this one solidified for us that we were on the path we knew we were meant to be on. We were creating the future we’d always imagined and man was that liberating. Taking that dream out of our hearts and putting it into our heads – it was the gutsiest, bravest and boldest move we’ve ever made as a couple and I’m thankful every day we woke up with that strong conviction one morning and just made it happen. But this move was definitely more tiring, and definitely more overwhelming than the rest. Not going to lie, there were a few times I wanted to just throw in the towel and give up. Perhaps it was the whole cross country bit, or the whole new jobs bit along with it, but you guys – I’m still re-cooperating 4-months later.

We’ve actually owned (and moved into!) 3 homes, in the last 4 years. What kind of crazy are we?


We’ve learned a lot on this journey though. Even more so this time around with the whole out of state relocation. Some costly mistakes, some just costly realities that couldn’t be avoided. Now that all the dust has settled, I thought everyone else could more or less benefit from peering into the hard truth of some of the things we flubbed on house hunting/buying/living 3.0.

1) When you’re moving cross country, don’t plan on moving right into another house

This one cost us $500 and a tear or two. Looking back, we were so overwhelmed with everything else going on in our life (selling the Michigan house, finding new gigs, traveling down every other weekend for 12+ hour drives between MI and NC) that we saw a house we thought could work, and we jumped. It wasn’t until we came back to sign the paperwork for proceeding that we started to take a closer look at the house and realized, much to our dismay, that this placeย was just not right for us. Crap. The bad news, we had already entered a contractual agreement that basically said we’d owe a fat $500 big ones if we backed out. The good, we avoided buying a house that we just didn’t see ourselves in for the long haul.

Durham Real Estate

Although the house was as cute as a button, we realized when we went back to see it that the backyard was positioned up on a hill, looking over a busy thorough fare. This led to lots of car noise, so, we passed.

Lesson Learned:ย Chill yo jets.

Road Noise Behind House

2) High Maintenance Buyers

So, I probably should have seen the writing on the wall with this one after we had a few crazy requests thrown at us during the closing process, but the people that bought our last house. Ummm – they’re sorta high maintenance. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now our house sold and was closed on in less than 3-weeks. A lightning fast, where do the hours in the day go 3-weeks. And we are SO LUCKY that our house flew like that, but even for minimalist non-packrats like us, getting everything packed and loaded in that time period was, well, tight. The final night before we moved out we were totally scrambling to get everything cleaned up and ready for the next group. By the end though, I’d hand washed the floor and everything looked pretty darn nice. Certainly 10-times nicer than any other of the 3-homesย we’ve moved into on moving day, but ya know, that’s all relative.

After we we’re already chilling down here in NC, I get a call from our Realtor on closing day saying the buyers are NOT happy with the house’s condition. They’re biggest complaint was that there were crumbs in the cupboard. Oye. Yep, probably were crumbs in the cupboard. Dang, must have forgotten that. They asked for a $250 cleaning fee to cover it. Which made me snort laugh, but in the name of, ya know, not wanting our sale to fall through over this level of ridiculousness, we obliged.

Lesson learned: Clean yo cupboards, or be prepared to pay up.

Moving Checklist

3) Contracts, Dang They’re Pesky

So … contracts. Yes, they’ve bit our behind more than once. Now in hind sight, this was a very easy one to avoid. Very easy. But y’all, life was moving so fast at us when we moved down here that it turns out, we missed some more fine print. Now, I went into this a bit before, but I really don’t think this one is all on us. But, sadly, we do hold some blame – enough blame to cost us another cool $650. Uggh … when I start adding these digits up I get certifiably depressed about it.

Coming off of home ownership, and only renting apartments during our college days, Jay and I were kinda clueless about apartment dwelling. So we got burned big time when our apartment failed to tell us that we need to provide 30-days notice, for our 90-day lease, in order to avoid an extra month carrying cost. Since we just signed on the dotted line and rushed to grab our keys, we missed this important detail that was so SO easy to avoid.

Lesson Learned: Read yo contracts

Empty Apartment

4) Moving Furniture

My final lesson. Seriously –ย sell everything you ownย before moving. Perhaps we’re the world’s worst packers, but I don’t thing they’res a single piece of furniture that didn’t get damaged, in some way, during our move. Scratches, stains, you name it. Now, it certainly did not help matters that it was raining cats and dogs when we went to load in all our stuff into the apartment, but we had to throw away and or sell at a significant discount and tons of our goods. In my mind, I did sell off all my worldy belongings before we moved, but if I could do it again, I’d grab a suitcase, fill it up, and get on that plane with only the items I could carry. Ok, right, that’s a slight exaggeration, but lordy, I would NOT be hauling down some of the items we did.

Lesson Learned: Sell yo furnitureย 

Damaged Furniture From Moving

Anyone else have nuggets of wisdom to add to this list? I’ve been channeling Cher an awful lot lately around here … If I could turn back tiiimee.

Exciting Changes!

Whew!! What a month April was. Jay and I moved down to NC, set up shop, bought a house, closed on our last one – and we haven’t killed each other in the process – it’s a miracle. In all honesty, Jay and I have been adjusting so well to our life down here. At least once a day I look at him and just kind of proclaim on the top of my lungs “Can you freaking believe it?!?!! We did it, man! We chased that dream and we made it happen! Can you believe we actually live here now?!ย He usually smiles back and just says – best. decision. ever.

Moving Cross Country In Uhaul

Now that we’re adjusting to our new routines I wanted to formally announce that I’ll have a new routine up here on the blog, as well. Now that I have so much extra time on my hands (since I’m working part-time) I’ll be posting to this sweet little blog o’ mine daily! Between all the design clients I’m assisting, adjusting to life in our new home and the hurricane of renovations that are about to hit this joint after we close on the house next week (eee!! get EXCITED!)ย – I know I’ll have more than enough to post about for all of y’all!

Another fun detail – I’m sure you regulars have noticed – but for the foreseeable future, every Tuesday there will be a giveaway up for all you lovely ladies and gents. SCORE! Who doesn’t like winning free stuff?!

It’s been a busy month over here – so how about a recap round-up?

Cross-Country Movin’

Moving From House to Apartment

We started out by, ya know, moving! ๐Ÿ˜€ This is life as we know it these days. Ugggg. I can’t wait until it’s not a battle to find my underwear for each day. Seriously.

Howdy Neighbor

Vintage Chesterfield Sofa

Let’s all swoon over Jessica’s house one more time. Le sigh. It’s a beauty!

Oops I Did It Again

Closing on House in North Carolina

Oh, yeah. There was that one time I almost bought a house and then lost $500. Oye – let’s officially archive that memory, shall we?

Number Cruncher

Where to Splurge and Where to Save

On a better note, we closed on our house in Michigan! Fixing up a house has lots of costs, but lucky for us, this round of home ownership also had a decent amount of rewards, too. Check out the post to see how we came out after all of our renovation costs.

Exploring Durham

Durham Real Estate

We’ve had tons of fun getting to know our new home! We explored lots of neighborhoods (Here, here and here!)

On the Hunt

White Kitchen Shaker Cabinets

Speaking of which, I also did a virtual house crash of one of my favorite renovated homes here in Durham!


Antique Fern Print

We had a giveaway each Tuesday this month – which will continue into the foreseeable future. (so come back every Tuesday if you want to win some loot!) PSST!! The Gnosis Art Giveaway is up through this Tuesday!

Home Sweet Home

Brick Front Porch

And of course … we rounded out the month by introducing you to our new home! Can’t wait to get started on the renovations! ๐Ÿ˜€






My Hands to Learn

Today was a good day. It was a reaffirming day. Yes – I can do this. We can do this – make this new life – embrace this new path that’s before us; challenging us and encouraging us to just jump and see where we land. Everything happened so fast – the house selling, getting jobs, the move. Which is the biggest, HUGEST blessing, but still it was a bit rattling and so tiring. Here’s Jay looking optimistic before we loaded the 20 foot uhaul last week… Notice SNOW on the ground! It’s currently 83 in NC!! ๐Ÿ˜€


Last Friday we packed everything up and hit the road. 10 hours of mountain driving later, we had landed in a rainy North Carolina. My sister and Mom we’re absolute super humans and not only helped with the driving to get us down here, but willingly helped us unload the entire truck with a constant drizzle.

Really, the journey down started last Wednesday, which was when we got the truck and started to get things ready for the orange tabby. Have I mentioned that my cat is like the highest maintenance mammal to grace God’s green earth, because he is. If that feline so much as catches a whiff of a kitty carrier and a car trip, you best be ready to get mauled by one mad creature. Needless to say, we thought the best plan of attack was to get this little guy some drugs from the vet to make the move a bit easier on him, and us.


Get this – the doctor prescribed our cat Opium. Jay actually had to sign off a form form the DEA saying he wouldn’t snort the stuff. I don’t even know – do you snort that stuff?! The cat was as calm as a cucumber the entire ride down. Not a peep out of him ๐Ÿ˜€

Since our house sold so fa-reaking fast up in Ann Arbor, we decided the best idea would be to get a temporary 1-bedroom apartment to hold us over for a few months with a short term lease. Word to the wise, it’s kinda tricky to fit a 3-bedroom house and garage into a 500 square foot 1-bedroom apartment. See I had it in my head that we’d just use the bedroom as a storage unit, and stuff everything we owned in there while we “lived” in the living room portion. The best laid plans, my friends, the best laid plans.

Moving_From_House_Into_Apartment Not going to lie – we (ahem, I) had some crisis moments as we were unloading the car.ย We were so tired, and so crazed to get the crapola job done that I didn’t get any action shots but just take my word for it, IT WAS BAD. We were maybe half way done unloading the truck when we all kind of collectively realized that things might, just might not fit in the apartment. This is what the bedroom portion of the apartment looked like after we finally unloaded everything.


Like an episode of hoarders, right? Bad.

We initially thought that we’d put both the couches (or at least one of them) in the “bedroom” portion of the apartment, but we quickly realized that it just wasn’t possible to wield them around the corner. Fail. So our living room currently looks like this.


Snicker. Cozy, right? On the plus side, the space is a prime time location for slumber parties ๐Ÿ˜€ The orange tabby loves it since it feels like everyone is right on his level. Really, it’s kinda fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

Malcolm and Jay

Kissy kissy turned to attack three seconds later. ๐Ÿ˜€

Orange Cat Playing

For my cook of a husband, the kitchen is definitely feeling a bit tight. Plus, no dishwasher. Whomp, whomp.


Our dining room table is currently a catch all crap-collector. Since we don’t have a desk space, it holds our computer, along with all the other random things that collect on it throughout the day. Crowded at best.


The one saving grace for this apartment is that it has a in-unit washer and dryer. HUZZAAHH!! I mean, it’s large enough to fit like a towel and 1-sock per load, but Lordy, it’s definitely better than hauling my booty down to a communal laundry mat and waiting while my undies take a few hours to dry. Definitely better than that.


Knowing the space is temporary definitely keeps us a bit more sane, and helps us to focus on the journey ahead. We’re definitely on the hunt for the next Sell House to call our own, but for now we’re just trying to embrace this sorta crazy situation we have going on right now and just enjoy having pretty much nothing to do other than explore our new city and go to work during the day.

I’m super excited to share with you some of the adventures we’re having already in Durham, along with lots of house hunting escapades along the way! ๐Ÿ˜€ Hopefully we find a winner really soon, cause this apartment life is definitely only going to stay charming for so long. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Pack Rat

You know, I’m one of those people that pride themselves on not having a lot of crap. Waste not, want not – William Morris is my home boy. But people. People, I’m telling you when it came time to fit all my worldly belongs in a 17′ truck, I suddenly felt like our life was an episode of hoarders. Seriously, could someone tell me where all this crap came from?

Le sigh.

Since we wanted to make sure everything fit in the truck, we had a pretty formalized packing routine that helped us eek the most amount of space out of all the boxes we had. Let’s just say we got pretty darn creative around here … ๐Ÿ˜‰ My first induced panic, was when I started taking all the art down from the walls. Dear GOD, when did I acquire all this art!!

Packing Up Art

Now, the artwork landed filling up 5 rather large boxes. Not the end of the world, but also kind of a red flag that your stuff might take up more space than you initially anticipated … The other thing about all this artwork was that due to the different sized frames, it often left boxes with odd gaps in them. First, that’s not good since it leaves the frames prone to shuffling around (don’t wan’t them to all be broken by the time we get there …) and second, and most importantly, Mary was on a leeeggitt mission to make sure every inch, of every box was thoroughly and completely accounted for. I’ve kinda been a box Nazi round these parts. Up to the brim, baby!

Packing boxes for move

I found that our throw pillows were actually the perfect compliment to the art array. Extra padding, check! Hole filler upper, check!

Creative Packing

When we were five boxes in after art and this was just the initial round (very preliminary, like the first thing we did), I started to get reeealll worried that we we’re in need of some major purging if we wanted to make everything fit in the truck. So about 2-weeks out from our departure day, I grabbed the good old camera and went on a craigslist bonanza.

Now, part of my heart broke a little as a listed some of the items. It takes time and money and lots of love to fill up a house with furniture that feels like you. Selling half of it kinda felt like I was giving my first born away. But then I started thinking about it a bit, and figured, ya know you got most of this stuff off craigslist – relish in the hunt, you can find it again! Plus, we’re moving down to a region of the country known for producing some of the finest furniture in the U.S. of A, so I’ll take the gamble and unload what I can up here.

Selling Furniture before move

Our living room became a craigslist assembly line, each piece of furniture just chilling up there waiting for their new home. Overall, I usually got just about what I paid for each item, so it made me feel a bit better to be parting with all my lovelies. Plus, that cold hard cash is something we can definitely utilize for all of our moving expenses coming up. Grumble, grumble.

While we wereย I was ๐Ÿ˜‰ in a purging mood, we moved on over to all our clothes. Just like the furniture, I’m trying to view the move as a good opportunity to go out with the old and in with the new. Our local Salvation Army will be getting a pretty handsome donation before we head out of town – a parting gift to Ann Arbor, if you will ๐Ÿ˜€

How to Pack Lightly

As I started to pack up the hangers, I spotted another opportunity to maximize space. Since they left lots of empty space on either side, I decide to use all that extra room to pack all my clothes! It actually worked extremely well, as I was able to fit all my clothes in from the hangers in my closet. Sweetness. ๐Ÿ˜€ Notice that I rolled the clothing, too, which saved lots of space over folding.

Packing Hack

Before I knew it my closet was completely empty, other than a few clothes to carry me over through the move. Ah, progress. ๐Ÿ˜€

Preparing for Long Move

Along with our boxes getting stuffed to the brim, our recycling and trash can we’re also looking mighty full. As I was cleaning out our desk and drawers throughout the house I came across tons of old paper. Chalk it up to my obsession with lists and Jay’s obsession with holding onto anything and everything that crosses his path, we had lots of extra paper lying around. Initially I was recycling it all, but as we started to get low on newspaper for packing up our fragile items, it dawned on me that I could use these for extra packing padding as well.

Proof that Jay is a hoarder? Physics homework from college. Yep, guilty as charged.

How to Pack Boxes

After we we’re done tackling the more obvious space saving solutions, we started to think a bit harder about things and see how we could continue to save space around here. Although we couldn’t disassemble all of our furniture, we we’re able to take legs off our dining room chairs, which I think will actually save quite a bit of space in the truck.

Deconstructing Furniture

In a last and final resort to save space and/or avoid tossing all our fridge contents, we also decided to cordially invite all our local friends over to raid our fridge ๐Ÿ˜€ Since this is the first time we’re moving a significant distance (10+ hours), it really didn’t make sense to bring along our ice cream sandwiches for the ride. So sad, isn’t it? Although we’ve tried to not buy as much food these last few weeks, our fridge is still packed with lots of barely used items that just didn’t make sense to throw out.

Getting Rid of Food

As I depart to pack yet another box, I leave you with one obligatory cat in a box photo. Cause everyone that’s got a cat, knows that if there’s a box, that feline is in it ๐Ÿ™‚

Cat in a Box

Rolling me Down the Highway

People, we’ve got some HUGE news to share. Gigantic. Life changing. I really can’t even believe I’m writing this post right now – everything still feels so abstract it’s hard to put my hands around it and accept that we’ve got a totally new future ahead of us.

See on Monday, this happened.

How to Sell Your Home

And instead of buying another house in lovely Ann Arbor, we’re moving on down to the land of the pines and setting up shop in Durham, NC! WHHAAAAAAAAA??? I know. That’s what I keep saying.

Let’s travel back a few weeks, and I can tell you our tale. See it all started when our attic looked like this (aka NOT done).

Drywalling Attic

My engineer of a husband got a call from a recruiter down in North Carolina, asking if he’d like to interview for a position with a company down in Research Triangle Park, basically a science and technology hub located close to Durham. We kind of looked at each other and shrugged. I mean, on one hand our attic looked like the photo above (scary). On the other, we’d always wanted to relocate to North Carolina and it kinda felt like exactly the right thing. Like we should at least try for it and see where we landed.

And in all honesty, we still haven’t completely landed. See Jay is still interviewing for that job. He’s had FOUR interviews with this company (including an in-person interview, where we drove down to Durham), and we are still waiting (on baited breath) to hear back from them.

But something else happened. While my husband was going through the interview process with this company, I thought I should probably start looking for a place to work, too. Just in case his job worked out. And as luck would have it, the exact position I’m working at right now opened up at Duke University. Since I work in a pretty niche job market (promotion of alternative transportation i.e. walking, biking, transit, etc) – it was pretty insane that a position like this just happened to pop up exactly when I needed it to. And guess what, I got the job. This is where I’ll be working. SOMEBODY PINCH ME. No, I take that back, SLAP ME.

Duke University Campus

I really couldn’t possibly be more excited about it. The job is part-time, which I feel is just right for this phase of my life. As you all know, things have been picking up a lot with interior design clients and of course there is the blog, so I feel like I’ll be able to finally find a bit more balance in my life, vs. working a full-time job, and then working at all my other side ventures practically full-time, too. I’m so excited to take all that extra time and put it back into growing a business that I absolutely love. Seriously, I’m SO EXCITED.

Durham North Carolina

Durham is such a cool city, too. We were not sure what to think about it, since we’d heard some mixed feedback from people. Now don’t get me wrong, Durham is so not Ann Arbor. It’s much more gritty, but in the best way possible. The city has got character and there are so many really, really cool things happening there. A lot of the neighborhoods are transitioning in the city right now, which I think will be a great opportunity for the Mr. and I. You all know that we don’t mind getting our hands dirty every once and a while, so moving into a city with so much activity and rejuvenation going on feels like a completely new and fresh adventure for us. We absolutely adored living in Ann Arbor, but it’s a city that has most definitely already arrived. In Durham, that growth and energy is just happening, so it’s very cool that we have the potential to be a part of that.

Historic Homes in Durham

We’re still not sure exactly what the future holds, but we know that as soon as the hubby has firm employment, that we will be on to the next house renovation in no time flat. And if you know me, you know I’ve already picked out that house! ๐Ÿ˜€ We are so hoping that the job he’s been interviewing for works out, and if it does, we should be in the next house by mid-April. Please cross your fingers for us!!

I know, from the deepest part of my heart, that this is the right path for Jay and I. We’ve dreamed so long about relocating down to North Carolina, so to actually have this be a new reality for us is just a beautiful thing. Even though we are so, SO excited, that doesn’t mean it’s not bittersweet for us. Michigan has been my only home. It’s where my family is. It’s where some of the best friends we’ve ever had the honor of knowing are. I’ll miss (so much!) being able to spend an afternoon with my Mom and sister, or going over to my parents house on a fall evening and watching football, or spending Thanksgiving saying grace with my hands clasped in a chain of 30+ relatives, all of them a part of me. I’ll miss the amazing group of people we’ve met in Ann Arbor, truly just incredible, hilarious, sincere human beings.

But if there is something I’m realizing as I get older, it’s that things won’t always, and can’t always stay the same. If you want something – you’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there and fight for it, even if it hurts sometimes. There are so many things we will miss about our home in Michigan but I know it’s time to start the next chapter. And as bittersweet as this transition is, I know amazing, amazing things are so close to happening for us and that just excites the be-jesus out of me! We’re so excited to enter this next phase with open hearts and minds and can’t wait to have all of YOU along for the journey!