Tour Our Second Home, On the Market Before and After

I loved this house well and I had so much fun making it ours, adding my personal style everywhere. The following pictures don’t fully reflect my personal style, because these were the listing photos for the house just prior to us buying it (sight unseen!) and after my friend Ky and I pulled up our bootstraps and prepared the house for showings.

If you haven’t sold a home before, you probably don’t know: you don’t just take pictures of how you’re living in it. You’re going to want to do quite a few things before you put it up.

Prepping a House for the Market

  1. Take down personal items. Photography especially–you want the potential buyer to picture themselves there, not you.
  2. Remove all clutter. Your kitchen counters should be devoid of appliances, your fireplace mantle shouldn’t have any tchochkes.
  3. Take a LOT of furniture out. Open up the space as much as you can.
  4. Take the books out of the shelves and style them instead. Creating space even on your furniture opens up the room to the eye. It’s like magic.
  5. The more you move out of site, the better. Use the garage or the basement, if you have one, to put these items away. If not, rent a short-term storage unit.

As mentioned in our moving announcement, our house sold in three days! We had an offer and a back up offer quicker than we could have imagined.

The Home Tour, Before and After

These are photos that we had listed online of our house when it was on the market in 2015 when we bought it, and months ago when we listed it.

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Dog Friendly Pumpkin Picking & Corn Maze in Fairfield County

SUPPOSEDLY, it’s still fall until December 21. Supposedly. The weather outside is frightful and the Christmas decor is delightful here in New England, so it’s easy to forget. But when the leaves were just beginning to change color, Tobias had a day off for Yom Kippur & we took advantage by heading over to Castle Hill Farm in Newtown, with our dog Laser in tow.

newtown-connecticut-in-fairfield-county-ct Continue reading

Hiking with Dogs in Fairfield County: Huntington State Park

Yesterday we had huge wind gusts come in through our coastal town here in Connecticut, and it wiped away much of the beautiful fall leaves I’ve been admiring over the last seven weeks. Last week the foliage was certainly at its peak when I took Laser for a trail run that, at far too many times, became a hike as I tried to maintain my heart rate while climbing some steep elevations.

This was the second time I’d been to Collis P. Huntington State Park. Last time was while I was training for my trip to Machu Picchu (That I still haven’t written about!) and I got the most lost I’ve ever been on a trail. Laser and I were out for hours. No complaints from that guy. Continue reading

Apple Picking in Fairfield County, Connecticut

It wasn’t long after moving to Connecticut that I began discovering things that are quintessentially New England: calling liquor stores “package stores,” seeing a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner, and having a preference for what style of chowdah or lobstah roll you like, to name a few. I soon looked forward to Autumn, for not only leaf peepin’, but also apple picking.

Last Sunday, on the first weekend after the Autumnal Equinox, we headed out to Silverman’s Farm. (Along with what seemed to be everyone else for miles.) No doubt, this is the perfect place to head to on a date or with a family when you get that first hint of fall weather. Continue reading

Microadventures in Fairfield County, Connecticut: Mill Hill Open Space

Last year, I read an article in The New York Times about NatGeo’s 2012 adventurer of the year, Alastair Humphreys and The Virtue of Microadventures. At the time, it struck me. It’s a lesson that took me too long to grasp: in pursuit of living a big, adventurous life, you don’t always have to go far from home.

Connecticut is perfect for microadventures. As I mentioned in my post about how settling in to CT, there is an abundance of open space areas to wander through & break away. On a run one day, I stumbled upon Mill Hill Open Space.

Town of Fairfield Mill Hill Open Space April 30 May Sign

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Are we Yankees yet?

Fun fact: Yankee Doodle Dandy is the state song of Connecticut.

Come Thursday, we’ll have been residents of coastal Connecticut for four months. A third of a year! The time has gone by a lot more quickly than I thought it would, but I guess that’s how things usually go. We’ve settled in pretty well, I’ll say. Looking back, it’s almost hard to believe how much I hated the idea of the move.

Tobias warmed up to our new town quicker than anyone could have guessed. His first day coming home on the school bus, (after calling for him through the doors, “Tobias! It’s your stop!”) a boy that had just gotten off said, “Tobias, this is your stop, too?!” I soon learned the two boys, who are in the same class, had bonded in the bus line over their love of all things science and their passion for making art. In world full of hockey-loving, football-watching, soccer-kicking, all-thing-sports boys, it’s great that Tobias was able to quickly meet a boy that shared his interests–who lives down the street!

One of my favorite things about the new house, other than the backyard and the wildlife I spot in it, is the 5+ acres of open space that we have to explore down our street. An off-the-leash area, it’s Laser’s very favorite thing and right up there in Tobias’ list. On my runs, I’ve stumbled upon other open space areas that vary in topography and size, and it’s been such a pleasure hiking through and exploring. Between the nearby beaches and these open areas, my nature-loving hippie side is satiated.

Open Space law ConnecticutOpen Space Law CTSasco Beach Connecticut

There’s more great things in store for our little corner of coastal Connecticut. This past Sunday, a Michael’s craft store opened it’s doors that is in walking distance to our house. I can see its sign lit up at night from my 2nd story window–it’s that close. Within weeks, a vegetarian restaurant/juice bar is opening nearby, and across the street, a health food market is being built. All in under a 5-10 minute walk! My favorite things!

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One of the things I was most worried about when moving here, was not being able to meet people and that strangers would have the hardness about them that NYC is known for. I had believed, all these years, that Southern Hospitality meant that people up north lacked the kindness and considerateness I took for granted.  Boy, was I wrong.

Now, it’s different in the city. In fact, the closer you get to the city, the more often you’ll come across someone who’s…well, snobby. But all-in-all, I’ve had more conversations with friendly strangers in the grocery line and the like than ever, and I’m slowly but surely finding out how to make friends in a new town.

I knew going in to the move that the worst thing would be Mark’s commute. And it has taken some getting used to for the whole family. The good thing is, we’re really carving out for quality time more than quantity. And, as spring nears and things warm up, we’re getting back into our triathlon training with better scenery than ever.

Sherwood Island State Park Connecticut

All in all, it’s been a great experience. Do I miss my family, and the friends I’ve had for over a decade? Of course. But, despite my sadness upon learning of the move, I always knew that this would be an experience worth having: the kind of out-of-my-comfort-zone, scary-as-hell, learning adventure that I’m made for.

So, Now I’m a Birdwatcher.

Not really.

Last Sunday, before I got crazy sick, Mark decided it was high time I upgrade my Canon Rebel XS to something…that works.

I feel like I wasn’t actually ready to upgrade, because I still–shamefully–haven’t learned all of the features of the camera. I wasn’t intending on getting something new until I believed I was well versed in the terminology & technology of a DSLR, but then when I was on my road trip to Yellowstone National Park from Denver, I started getting some errors at all of the most inopportune moments. Unable to get the shots I wanted at the right times, I resorted to using my iPhone again and again. Kinda silly if I’m hauling around this DSLR, no?

I soon found that if I turned off the camera, took out the battery, replaced it, and turned the camera on again, the error would subside and I would then be able to resume taking photographs.

Jury rigged, I know. But it was something.

After taking it to the repair shop, I learned the fix was at a higher cost than the camera was worth. AKA: it was totalled. I bought it second hand from a neighborhood Facebook group and had seen negative reviews for the long-discontinued model prior to purchasing it, but it was definitely the cheapest way for me to get my feet wet with DSLR photography before diving in to the higher cost models.

Thus, forced upgrade.

Now, I’ve got the Canon EOS 70D. We bought a refurbished model with a warranty, so we ended up with a great deal. This time, I know I’ll be eating up YouTube videos and blog posts so I’ll really be able to hone some skills.

I’ve also been making a habit of “target practice” every morning. I’ve been using my macro lens and practicing using manual focus on the birds that have been showing up in my backyard.

Here are some of the photos I’ve been taking. I know, I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot of practice I need to do. But now, I have a camera I LOVE!

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