The seller accepted our offer!  :)  After some negotiating back and forth (and pretty big sacrificing on our part) we are finally under contract!  We asked the seller to include the washer and dryer (which we can tell was recently purchased) but because of her financial situation, she was not able to include them since she is renting and not sure if her rental will include those.  She also excluded the home warranty (which we asked her to include) but again, because of her situation, she was unable to include that.  But we are not worried about that because the house is still young and if something were to happen, we definitely would not ask her to front the funds, anyway.  No chance!  We have some kind of heart! :)  But we are so relieved about finally getting the show on the road.  Now, the only things that need to be done are the home inspection and having an appraiser come to the home.  The tricky part is that with an FHA loan, the house must appraise for at least the purchase price . . . if it doesn't, the seller must lower her asking price to the appraisal value or we walk.  Boo.  We are praying that that doesn't happen.  If all goes well, hopefully we will close in about 30 days! Eeeeeek!!!! :)

We have already picked out all of the paint colors, too!  That was probably the easiest thing Josh and I have done.  Don't most couples have a hard time compromising with paint?  We had more issues registering haha! 

And just for kicks and giggles, I am going to show you our house!  There are 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, living room, family room, dining room, and unfinished basement.

The front of the house
Here is the formal living room

And the dining room

The kitchen
The family room and fireplace! :)

The master bedroom with a walk-in closet and full bathroom
This is one of the guest bedrooms (future nursery hey!!)

This is another guest bedroom (future nursery #2 heeeyyy!!)

This is the view from the kitchen/eating area to the backyard

And this is the backyard . . . big enough for our reception! ;)

Posted byAshley C. at 5:57 PM 2 Love Notes  

The offer

Josh and I have been house-shopping the last few weeks and finally found one that we could really see ourselves (and future family) in.  It's so beautiful!  It has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a living room, family room, dining room, unfinished basement, and really nice, big backyard.  The funny thing is that when that home was first scheduled for a walk-thru, I asked Josh and the realtor if we could just skip it; I didn't want to see it because the acreage that was listed was "too small;" but I'm beginning to think that that was a mistake because it is rather large! :)  I am so, so glad that we actually went to see it (twice!).  The first walk-thru, Josh whispered "this is the one" to me as we were walking up from the basement . . . that didn't happen with any other home. 
So, here we are three weeks later and we finally have been able to put our offer in.  The first offer we put in was Friday and was pretty low because we wanted to see what the seller would counter-offer.  We got a call back on Saturday morning from our realtor saying that the seller's husband recently passed away and that with her financial situation, she cannot go any lower than the listing price; we don't believe that for a single second.  Who lists their home at the lowest they are able to go?  On top of that, we have a paper saying that she refinanced her home about 5 years ago at $16,000 lower than her listing price.  We know that she is able to go that low.  So . . . Josh and I offered $5,000 lower than her listing price.  If she doesn't want that, we will walk away and find something else. 

Obviously, we are really praying that the seller accepts our offer. :)  We'd love for that house to be the one that we raise a big family in. ;)

Posted byAshley C. at 12:16 PM 0 Love Notes  


We landed in Hawaii and I realized that I forgot my dress.  My wedding dress.  How in the world did I forget that?  Well, must improvise, right?  Good thing I had a cute bathing suit that I could wear to the "alter" instead.  Although it was something sexy that I planned on wearing for the honeymoon, I thought that maybe I could pull it off . . . cellulite and all.  Oh well, I know that my soon-to-be husband would find it to be the best thing I've worn yet.  Then I looked down at my toes.  What the heck?  Chipped, pink toenail polish?!  What kind of bride forgets to get a pedicure especially with her wedding on the beach?!  It's okay . . . I'll just dig my toes in the sand while remembering to suck my tummy in and creatively hide my not-so-toned bottom.

I am so, so glad that my alarm went off at the moment.  I didn't think this was something I would have been able to pull off anyway.  At least this would have been easier to recover from than forgetting I had a newborn baby and not feeding it for a whole day!

Posted byAshley C. at 3:01 PM 2 Love Notes  

Sweet moments

I am throwing myself back into the blogging world because I have done some thinking and realized that the highlight of my life (since the last time we caught up) was that I was finally engaged.  When I first began my blog, I wanted to be sure that I was able to document that part of my life and for those of you that know me, you know how big that was for me! :)  But, I need to remind myself that every day is worth celebrating and documenting.  Every day is full of sweet moments; ones that I am going to love looking back at and laughing at.  Not to mention, it's amazing to be able to watch yourself transform into someone/something that you never thought you would be.
With that being said, I'm back.  I want to be able to look back at these crazy days ahead of me.  I am in the middle of finding a home, planning a wedding, dreaming about a big family, welcoming another nephew into my life, getting my photography business off the ground . . . moments that I never want to forget.  I guess this is when it is proven that "it's not about the destination but the journey getting there."  :) 

Well, since it's Cinco de Mayo, I've got someone to talk in to going to our favorite restaurant, Tacos el Norte! Yum!

Posted byAshley C. at 4:10 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Doin' it big!

I don't believe I ever mentioned that the hope I had last week for getting my photos back, yeah that it gone.  Josh finally got his computer unlocked from LoJack and the first thing we see is a big ol' picture of a baby on his desktop.  Oh, heck no!  That is like worse than actually stealing the computer!  Putting your own photo on someone else's computer is like a dog peeing on a tree!  So, the first thing he checked was my computer>photos . . . nothing.  Well, no, I'd be lying is I said nothing because there was a lot of nothings.  The same woman standing in the same doorway using the same pose wearing a different outfit was a constant reminder that we didn't have that computer for several months.  Then, we checked my computer>videos and again, lots of nothings.  There was a 6 minute video of a woman recording herself in a van along with the driver, the no-seat back seat with like 3 kids and an older man along with 2 huge flatscreen TVs and laptops.  The woman was going on and on about about they have two homes, and "doin' it big in 2010! Yeeeeaaahhhhh!!!!!!"  She was so excited that she was going to be sleeping in her own bed that night and that she has no money at all but kept reminding the passengers that they were "doin' it big!  Thank America for this one!"  I was becoming more and more irritated watching her talk and seeing all of the cavities in the back of her mouth and smoke filling the screen from what I am going to guess was not from a legal substance. 

By the end of the video, I wanted to yell at this woman for being so ignorant and umm . . . selfish?  But, I have to admit that part of me wanted to say you know what, this is okay.  She was obviously in need of things more than Josh and I were.  If she found so much joy in being able to sleep in a bed that night, she was definitely not well-off.  But then again . . . she was not eating stolen food or using stolen money (the necessities in life), she was using our stolen computer and had huge flat screen TVs in her home; she did not need those things!  Ah, whatever.  I guess it would awesome for us to see one of our computers again, but it stinks that we were able to see who actually used it.  :/ 

Posted byAshley C. at 3:26 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Organic Product Review

Josh and I went on a little field trip the other day to my new favorite store: Whole Foods Market!  I have been researching all-organic cosmetics and beauty products because I know that the chemicals that are in the products that I am currently using are not good for me.  I have been checking my beauty products for quite some time and seeing things like propylparabens, methylparabens, urea, perfumes, etc and have tried my hardest to just dust it off; I knew they weren't good but I was too used to those products that I wanted to ignore it.  Also with me working at a hair salon and using expensive, name-brand hair products (at a discounted price), I was treating my hair so well and did not want to sacrifice healthy hair for those bad chemicals (I know, it sounds bad!).
The last piece of makeup that I purchased was made by Urban Decay; it was a loose powder that worked fabulously!  The catch: the only 2 ingredients listed were methylparabens and propylparabens, both chemicals linked to breast cancer and infertility issues.  Not something that I should have put near my face, but it worked so well and I spent nearly $40 on it so I had better finish it.  Every time I used it, I felt so very guilty and was hoping that I would accidentally drop it and lose all of those nasty parabens.  Finally though, my Urban Decay powder is finally on it's last leg and I will be out of it probably by next week. 

For those that are wondering, I will share what I am replacing my beauty products with.  I'm going to say now that if you somehow stumbled across my blog through a search engine looking for reviews or whatever else, I am not the person to ask about organic products nor do I claim to be some kind of organic, all-natural guru; I am still new to the scene and hope to gain more knowledge about harmful ingredients, etc.  My list is not a list of the "good and bad," it is simply a list of my personal preferences . . . and fears! :) 

I have traded . . .
-Secret deodorant for Crystal Deodorant stick.  From what I have used so far, I can say it works.  At first I  was a little skeptical because it literally is a rock-hard, dry stick.  To use, you must wet the "rock" and use.  There are no perfumes, so there is obviously no smell.  I have not noticed any musty smell or moistness.  So far, I would say that I recommend this deodorant. 
-Cetaphil and Dermalogica Facewash for Avalon Organics Lavendar Cleansing Gel.  I have only used this facewash a couple times (since I have purchased it) and it works fabulously.  I love the smell and that it actually "suds" up.  Prior to this facewash, I was using two washes that were either mild or a clay wash so there were no bubbles.  This smells great and leaves my face feeling clean.  BUT, it does leave my face feeling rather "tight" when I leave the shower.  Would I recommend this product?  Not exactly sure yet, but so far, so good.
-Dermalogica Active Moist facial moisturizer for Dr. Hauschka's Normalizing Day Oil.  This. Stuff. Is. Amazing.  This brand's philosophy is that "likes treat likes;" I have an oily face, so it is apparently better to moisturize with an oil.  Sure, it seems counterintuitive, but trust me on this one.  After my tight feeling face (from the facewash), I put half a dime size of this oil on and it immediately gives me relief and gives my skin a glow.  Oh, and I go through the whole day without any nasty shine.  Recommend?  Absolutely!!  It is a little on the pricey side but worth every penny.
-Redken Shampoo and Conditioner for Neuma products.  This was a hair product line that we just launched at Omni and I was thrilled to use something totally organic that smells delicious and leaves my hair feeling better than it ever has before.  They currently have 3 now 4 sets to choose from and although I have only tried 2 of them, I can guarantee you will never switch from it!  My hair feels and smells great and I know that I'm treating it with one of the best products out there so it makes me feel more confident!  Recommend?  Definitely, definitely!
-Moroccan Oil to Argan Treatment (from Neuma).  I am still using the sample packet (now on week 3!), so that alone says that a little goes a long way.  I was in love with my Moroccan Oil; the smell was great, I felt like it reduced my drying time, made my hair extra soft.  But, because I could try the sample Argan, I did.  I like this stuff because it is colorless and has no perfumes.  I feel that it also does everything that the Moroccan did.  Which do I like better?  Moroccan.  Which am I going to use? Argan . . . it is better for my hair so I will stick to that mentality.  Would I recommend this product?  Yes, but only because it is an organic alternative.
-Vaseline hand/body lotion for Avalon Organics Lavendar Hand and Body Moisturizer.  I love, love, love this lotion!  It is to rich and creamy and makes me smell like I just left a spa.  Not to mention I got a huge 32oz. bottle for about $12!  :)  This brand does not claim to be 100% oragnic (only 70%), but it does not have parabens, sulfates, fake perfumes, or pthalates.  I would highly recommend this product because it is organic, cheap, and works amazingly.
-Covergirl, Urban Decay, Bare Minerals make up for Afterglow Cosmetics.  I do not know whether or not I will be completely in love with it, but I sure hope so because I have replaced my entire makeup regimen.  The most important thing to me in my makeup is the foundation and since my foundation only lists parabens and was way too expensive, I was ready to try something new.  I will let you all know what I think of it after I use it all. 
-Spearmint Chapstick for Whole Foods brand Peppermint "chapstick."  Anyone who knows me knows that I am addicted to Chapstick in the same way that people are addicted to nicotine.  No joke.  Let me explain why I am so picky with Chapstick.  I loved my Chapstick brand because: 1) it tasted, smelled, and felt like spearmint, 2) my lips never, ever felt chapped, 3) my lips never got red from irritation, 4) it was light enough for me to layer it on the 75 times a day like I did.  Now, while standing in line at Whole Foods, I thought I'm going to replace it. No, I'm not. Yes, I am, No . . . OKAY! Fine!  And honestly, I haven't used a lick of Chapstick (brand) in more than 24 hours.  I have not done that in more than 5 years (and I'm not exaggerating!).  This new stuff does not taste like peppermint, but it definitely smells like it and leaves a cool feeling on my lips.  It is also a little thicker so I use it less often.  I also notice than when it "rubs" off, my lips still feel conditioned as though the new stuff actually settles in my lips and is not only surface like my Chapstick brand was.  Would I recommend it?  Sure, but I have a feeling that there has to be something better out there.  But for now, it is by far good enough to get me off of that other bad "drug." 

I am still researching and would love to replace my toothpaste, bodywash, shaving cream and face lotion (for night time).  As of right now, I don't really find it a necessity to change my perfume or hand sanitizers.  Those two things will come in due time.  Plus, would you have really wanted to read 2 more of my boring reviews? ;)

Posted byAshley C. at 2:42 PM 0 Love Notes  

Best birthday thus far!

Happy almost-half-way-to-fiftieth-birthday to my Lover!  I asked him where he wanted to eat for his birthday and he told me Portillo's.  Not The Cheesecake Factory or a nice steak place but a fast food burger/hotdog place.  When I told him no and to choose something nicer he told me, "I don't want to sit down and eat fancy; that's you."  Well, I'm glad that he knows my style then! :)  So, we went to Portillo's, got 2 slices of their chocolate cake with our order and I role-played that I made it.  I know that those days of surprises are gone now . . . we are together too much for those things to play out (and living together will just make it even harder!).  No birthday cake (or candles, of course).  No birthday gift (he didn't want anything, okay?!).  :(  I hope he doesn't think that I've given up on romance and surprises.  Baby, I promise that if you wanted the moon, I would bring you the moon.  But you didn't ask.

After we got home from lunch, there was a message playing on the answering machine from the local police department saying something about laptop and recovered and burglary.  Josh tells me, "Did you hear that?  They found our laptops!"  Yeah right, that was 6 months ago.  Press replay so we can hear the whole message.  And believe it or not, the man on the other end was saying that the laptop that was stolen in July has been recovered and they have it at the department.  I called him back, left a message to call back.  While waiting, we were debating about whose laptop we hope it is (mine, his, or my mom's) and whose laptop would be more important to have been recovered.  He called within 5 minutes.  While I had him on the phone, I asked him, Sir, we actually had three laptops stolen, could you tell me what color it is? "I have a blue Dell XPS."  Babe!  It's yours!  They have your laptop!  Josh is just yelling back, "Nuh uh!  Don't lie!" 
Within 15 minutes, the detective delivered the once nice, now beaten up, raggedy, scratched, holding onto life by a single strand computer back into its owner's hands.  Fortunately, LoJack was activated, the computer was locked and Josh was on the phone with the company getting it unlocked.  I'm still waiting to hear from Josh whether all of his files are safe and untouched.  The one thing that I try to block from my mind is that all, and I do mean all of my photos were taken with my computer.  BUT, all of those photos were also on his computer so hope remains! ;)

Posted byAshley C. at 6:13 PM 0 Love Notes  

Mature Decisions

I just finished doing something very grown womanish.  Something I should have done about 5 years ago.  Yes, Josh and I just budgeted our money!  We sat down, listed all of our bills (gym membership, credit cards, phone, Netflix subscription, etc.) along with our monthly income and our monthly savings deposit goal.  We have plans to pay certain bills off along the way and that money (previously spent on a bill) will be directed to the next bill that needs most attention.  I even have little virtual post-it notes on the desktop of my laptop with all of our bills and their due dates with astericks next to the ones that are "mine."  This is going to be a constant reminder of where our attention needs to be.  I feel really good about the this!  You all probably know how spontaneous me and Josh's spending (and eating out, and random splurges!) are, so this is going to be huge!!
What caused us to do something so . . . mature?  Well, we decided that it would be very silly to spend so much money on apartment rent while saving for a down payment on a home so we are just going to cram (and budget) our money as much as we can before the wedding and see what we have in our savings and hope that we have enough for a decent down payment on a starter home. :)  All of a sudden, I'm that much more excited about getting married!

Today I also made another step into the "paraben, preservative, harsh chemical free world!"  I want to share more on that so I will save for another post ASAP. ;)

Posted byAshley C. at 8:00 PM 0 Love Notes  

Happy New Year!

I haven't been here in a while and quite frankly, I hate admitting that . . . it's pretty obvious that this old thing needs to be dusted off every once in a while; wish I could blame it on busyness but I think it all comes back to laziness or lack of interesting thoughts to share. 
With that being said, Happy New Year! ;)  I brought in the new year with a single resolution.  I will lose 30 pounds before our wedding (go ahead, stomp and beat on that resolution one more time!).  But, the good news is that I have been doing pretty good.  I've lost 4 pounds in 2 weeks but am not sure if my stomach flu is partially to blame for last week's loss.  Either way, I'm doing it.  I'm sticking to it and have to admit I feel like I'm lookin' good and feelin' hot! :) 
I've also been thinking about changing this blog up a bit.  It needs a facelift.  Big time. :)  I am thinking about changing the name to something that I will be able to change through the years but will hold that same feel, you know what I mean?  Our Love Like A Finger Print?  I don't really know what I was thinking.  I mean, it is pretty cute (and true), but the name suggests that I talk about me and the Lover (and he's becoming less of a focus on here! Oops!).  I want this to be a place where I can direct photography clients and showcase some of my work.  The name is hindering me.  Speaking of "place," I'm also thinking about whether or not it would be too difficult switching to a new blog host (Wordpress?). 

Eh.  We'll see.  I've done so much talking and so little acting that you are all probably rolling your eyes right about now saying "Yeah right, you ain't doin' nothin'" under your breath.  But, dare I say watch out! ;) 

Posted byAshley C. at 12:20 PM 0 Love Notes