The New Blog is (Almost) Here!

Hello, friends! Just checking with a quick update, but first, our gorgeous weather last weekend has me totally ready for spring, so here are some beautiful flowers for you.

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I wrote a few weeks ago about my plans to migrate to a completely new blog, and the exciting news tonight is that that blog is alllllllmost ready. Sometime in the next 1-3 days (but hopefully tomorrow, all goes well) my new site at www.brittkingery.com will be live, and I will start publishing content over there.

WordPress and RSS friends, your subscriptions should update automatically (woot!). If you follow at Bloglovin’, I will add the site there soon after it’s live so that you can find it. If you follow through some other blog reading platform, I hope you add me there and come along. I will continue to be on Instagram at the handle brittkingery, and honestly lots more happens there than makes it to the blog, so you can always find recent updates there!

On behalf of myself and my muse, Jellybeans, thank you for reading white dog vintage over the last year and half. I will implement a site redirect here so that you can still find me through this address for a while longer. I look forward to sharing so much more with you on the new blog!

 

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New Year’s Updates and Announcements

Hello and Happy New Year to all! I don’t know if it makes sense anymore to say I’ve been taking a blog break when I am breaking about as often as not, but in any case, it’s been a while. I hope everyone had a healthy, happy, and safe holiday season, that you shopped in your pajamas, that you ate the requisite amount (or more!) of pumpkin and peppermint things, and that you’re jazzed and ready to go for 2016.

I’m not sure whether I’m ready for it or not. I turned 30 in 2015, and I realized recently that I only ever really thought as far as the year when I turn 30. So 2016 feels like uncharted territory. It’s a new decade, and I’m excited and nervous to see what it brings.

So what have we been up to lately? Personally, I have been eating a lot of candy. And I’m not just saying that to make you feel better about what you’ve been eating. I feel like I need to confess it to someone. For someone over the age of about 12, it’s been a really astounding amount. But as far as the house goes (which seems a little more relevant to this particular venue), we have been working several labor-intensive and frankly not very exciting projects.

Like fixing this big patched area in our upstairs hallway.

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And starting work on our front entryway, tearing out the tile and beginning to refinish the stairs.

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I’m so excited for the green paint in the entryway. I’ve gone with more neutral paint in most of the house, and this little bit of drama feels exactly like what I’ve needed.

I’ve also been scraping popcorn wherever I can, which you can see on the hall ceiling above. Do I love the scraping? NO. I do not. The mess is crazy, and it makes me crazy. But the more I do it the more I realize that I gotta scrape it all. It makes that big of a difference.

So now that I’ve filled you in on what’s been going on around here (scraping, patching, tile demo, painting, candy eating) and justifying the break to myself if not to you, I want to mention a couple of things that are coming up on the blog horizon.

First of all, staring NEXT WEEK, I’m participating in an exciting New Year’s room refresh with a few other awesome bloggers.

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Clearly I need to get motivated in the new year, and I’m really glad to have these ladies to get me moving in a meaningful direction. It’s the perfect time to do a little somethin’ somethin’ to cheer up a neglected space. Not all-out crazy time like I tend to do during these room makeovers (hello One Room Challenge) but something smaller-scale and more doable.

Finally–and this is the big one–though Jellybeans will remain my muse forever and always, I will be retiring White Dog Vintage and migrating to a new blog at the end of this month. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but have hesitated to put a plan in action. Part of this been uncertainty about what I wanted to the new blog to look and feel like, but another big part of it has honestly been fear of losing all you lovely people who read here but–who knows?–may not make the leap with me to a new site. I’m staying with WordPress, so if you follow through WordPress or an RSS feed, you will automatically be following the new site when it switches over, but if follow through Bloglovin’, Feedly, Pocket, or another platform, you will probably have to add the new site with the new address, brittkingery.com (don’t bother checking it out just yet–there’s nothing there at the moment), and I hope you will.

I’ll be posting more about the move before it takes place, so you will have other reminders. But just to give a sneak-peek, here’s a look at the in-progress interface of the new site.

 

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Nothing is set with it yet, and it doesn’t look super realistic because there isn’t any content in it, but I think I hope this gives you some idea of the direction the site will be heading. It’s a little more sophisticated and professional than the site I’ve been using, which I hope will get me feeling enthused to post here more often. Hey, it could happen! I read that people who love their blog design actually do publish more frequently. It could be true, or it could be a ploy to sell WordPress templates. In either case, I was clearly buying.

So that’s the update! Don’t forget to come back next week for the beginning of our room refresh challenge, and stay tuned for more new blog news.

What Color Is This? & Other Little Things Couples Disagree About

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When Justin and I were first dating, I wore a shirt that brought out a long-standing and recurrent disagreement between the two of us. The shirt was obviously blue, except that Justin was completely committed to the idea that it was purple. Ever since, we simply cannot agree on the colors of things. Case in point: last night we were evaluating the paint I picked out for the dining room. I was going for a shade between blue and green, but when I got it on the wall, I wasn’t sure I liked it. It’s SO blue, except that Justin insists that it’s really very green.  (The color is  “Geyser” on the middle of the front swatch.) The argument doesn’t always involve blue, though–pink or orange, black or navy, gray or muted green–name two colors that could be confused for one another, and we have debated them.

I imagine that all couples have these insignificant topics of contention they simply can’t agree on. Aside from color, Justin and I routinely disagree about whether/what preparation is needed before getting in bed at night (it’s never already made, which enables this conversation to continually occur). I absolutely have to straighten and smooth all the wrinkles from the sheets; Justin climbs in regardless of the level of disarray and makes himself comfortable. When he goes to bed before me, a conflict of interests (his need to remain comfortably arranged vs. my need to straighten and rearrange) inevitably occurs.

These silly disagreements always remind me that no matter how well you know a person and how many weighty, important issues you feel exactly the same about, there is always still a fundamental, insurmountable divide between you and someone else. Knowing that Justin and I stare at the same wall and see two different things–and that I literally cannot ever see it through his eyes–feels baffling to me.

It also seems like knowing how to resolve small and unimportant issues is maybe the real art of making a relationship work. Odds are a relationship where two parties don’t agree on foundational topics like politics, religion, money, work/life balance, etc, won’t get too far anyway. But working out which tool is the correct one for washing a pan, how plastic bags ought to be stored in drawers, whether it’s acceptable to play a musical instrument while watching television with another person (this has really been discussed on multiple occasions in our house)–these are the questions life is made of.

Do you have these silly sorts of disagreement with your significant other? If so, how do you resolve them?

Our Yard Transformation

One of the things I’ll miss most about our current house is the beautiful yard filled with roses of many colors, tulips, peonies, lilies, hydrangeas, and other flowers that we got to enjoy every spring and summer.

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I say that now, but beautiful was about the last word I would have used to describe our yard when we moved in. We bought the house in January, when the garden was dormant, and the yard in general was a neglected mess of sticker balls among some questionable landscape design.

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For the record, there was not a blade of grass in the entire yard. The green stuff is just moss that eventually grew on the dirt because of the damp, cloudy winters we enjoy here in southwest Missouri.

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In fact, the previous owner warned us that grass wouldn’t grow in that yard, but lo and behold, Justin put down some seed, and look what sprang up! The grass made a big difference, and with a some reconfiguration of the garden area and better arrangement of the stones, the little front yard really turned out  nicely.

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The backyard was an even bigger project than the front. For one, you had a view of this contraption from the side yard. Now, this fort looked fun at first, but I’m positive that if there are any safety standards for lofted kid forts, this thing was wayyyy below them. It actually had a working light bulb in the underneath area, though I have no idea where the electrical came from.

That said, Justin still managed to sell it on Craigslist. An older couple bought it for their grandkids; they came with a moving truck and a shirtless friend and hauled it off. This really happened.

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The backyard also had an abundance of sidewalks, which aren’t necessary in backyards purely by definition.

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Painting the greenhouse apparently became too strenuous about five feet up.

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One of the yard fixes that caused Justin the most grief was the abandoned Koi pond.

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It had been stagnant for some time, and the water was, shall we say, none too fresh. When he punctured the liner and drained it, it turned out to be several feet deep, with a cast iron tub in the bottom. It took a year’s worth of yard waste and debris plus several loads of dirt just to fill it enough to make it level with the rest of the yard.

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Oh yeah, and no grass in the back, either.

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It took Justin two summers of hard work to get the yard whipped into shape (I know–I watched it all through the kitchen window), and even so, he still had more planned for this summer.

Last July, we finally reclaimed the full yard space by removing the sidewalk areas. This entailed Justin and his brother busting up the concrete with sledge hammers, and a team of the two men, two women, and three children (myself, Justin’s sister-in-law, and our nieces) loading the pieces onto a trailer to be hauled away. Justin’s brother also cut a remaining piece of sidewalk for us to make it flush with the rest of our patio, and I feel very lucky to have a brother-in-law who owns and knows how to operate whatever equipment it is that can cut concrete.

Then we were mostly left to clear out the gravel as best we could.

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Put down dirt.

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And try to grow some grass. (I say “we,” but my involvement really ended with the gravel.)

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It was the end of the season by then, and the grass didn’t come in 100% as Justin might have hoped, but considering what we started with–or even not–I’d say there’s nothing too shabby about our yard transformation.

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(PS – I’ll be excited to show you our new yard, because it has some interesting parallels to the “before” of our current yard. But you’d better believe it already has grass.)

Lucky Dog! Fatty is 7

Fatty was my first dog. Growing up, my dad was allergic to furry things; he told us the only kind of pet we could have was a camel. My dad knows more about the hypoallergenic properties of desert animals than most people, apparently. We did have some indoor/outdoor cats through the years, as well as some hamsters and a guinea pig, but never a dog. In fact, I was pretty afraid of dogs for most of my childhood/adolescent years.

When I met Justin, he had a 160-lb English Mastiff named Bilyeu who was way too sweet and goofy to be afraid of for long, but Bilyeu was never my dog. He only listened to Justin and liked to make a fool of me when I took him on walks. Fatty was the first dog that was mine–that I had as puppy, that I named (I did a great job, eh?), that I could take care of as better than anyone else, and that loved me as only your own dog can.

You can’t do enough good in the world to deserve a dog like Fatty. He’s just the funniest, handsomest, most loveable dog there is. Since puppyhood, Fatty’s been known for being super awkward in social situations, but that’s part of his charm. He’s also been voted best smile for 7 years running (you’ll see why below)!

Here are a few of my favorite Fatty pictures throughout the years.

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A lot of these pictures are not super high quality, but they’re basically our old family photos, and being blurry and chaotic is what makes old family photos wonderful and special. Part of what makes Fatty special, too, is that he’s been with us since wayyyy before we had a nice camera. He’s been with us through everything–our first year together, moving from Missouri to North Carolina, three years as grad school ragamuffins living life on a Wal-Mart futon, moving back to Missouri, his two sisters joining the ranks (I know he’s thankful for that daily), and more houses and apartments than he can count.

Happy 7th birthday, Fatty! Glad we’re the lucky dogs who get to be your owners.

New Year, New House

Happy New Year, friends! Hope everyone is settling into 2015, that you have your new calendars hung, and that any resolutions you made have lasted at least this long.

2014 ended with a lot of excitement here at the puppy palace, but now that several trees worth of paper have been signed and we could probably be sued for backing out, I’m really happy to share that we are moving to a new house!

We always knew that our current house would be more of a short-term home. Part of the reason we picked it was for its potential as a rental once we got another place. Still, I think we are a little surprised to be moving on so quickly (we are just approaching our second anniversary as homeowners). We weren’t exactly house hunting, but as I explained when I started this blog, I’m a pretty hopeless real estate window shopper. For a while now, we’ve been feeling the limitations of our current house, primarily in terms of space. So naturally, I’d been doing a bit of MLS cruising, trying to get a feel for the inventory in our budget and desired neighborhoods. Justin and I both know we’re not people who could decide to move and pick the best option at the time. We knew we would have to buy when the right house found us.

That brings us to the night of Saturday, December 13. I’d spotted a sweet little place in an adjacent neighborhood, less than a mile from where we currently live. I told Justin that even though “I’m not saying we’re going to buy it” (that’s my favorite line), we should go to the open house scheduled for the next day. He agreed, because the place looked nice and we had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon. It probably goes without saying that we both loved it. It’s bigger, brighter, more open, and even older than our current house, and I can see it meeting our needs for a good long time. By Wednesday of that week, we were under contract. Life moves really fast sometimes! Day by day we plug along trying to make a little progress, but more often it seems like change comes in currents and waves that carry us forward unexpectedly. I have to say, I credit my window-shopping ways for helping me find and recognize a good deal, but I also think I need to stay away from the MLS for a while. As a hobby, it’s starting to get expensive.

Here’s our new place! It’s another bungalow, this one built in 1921.

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Like our current house did, it’s coming to us with a white exterior and off-color trim, but don’t worry, we’re going to fix that up as soon as the weather gets warm enough. Leave no house unpainted–maybe that’s my mission in life.

2014 Family Christmas Pic

For several years now, we have been taking a yearly family Christmas portrait with the dogs. I am writing this morning away from my regular computer, or I would share them all for comparison, but I can tell you that this year’s picture is probably the worst one yet. I think we have proven that the maximum number of dogs that can effectively be photographed with a camera set to a timer and a photographer who also has to be in the photo is two. Because with Pepper added to the mix this year, we were simply unable to get any picture in which all the dogs were looking toward the camera. That’s why our official family picture this year looks like an outtake, but it’s actually the best one! Our usual strategy is for Justin to throw a set of keys across the room toward the camera right when the timer goes off to get the dogs’ attention, but this year they were just too interested in each other. They also seemed to disagree on the mood and style of the photo, which is why I think:

  • Pepper is posed like the subject of an 18th century portrait
  • Fatty looks like a brooding author on his book dust jacket photo, and
  • Beanie has the expression of a cheeky ’80s teen movie heroine.

Meanwhile, we’re smilingly oblivious to the whole thing.

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Once our photographer got back behind the camera, we did manage to snap a picture with all the dogs at attention.

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Merry Christmas, friends! Hope your holiday is filled with good food and good people.