Yesterday Joshua and I came home after spending five days at Convict Lake with the family for the annual family vacation.

#convictlake #hike #vacation

The last time we were at Convict Lake was four years ago, right before we got engaged, and we stayed in a huge house with Joshua’s entire family. This time we stayed in a two bedroom cabin with his immediate family.

Our Cabin

Our first full day we spent at the lake. We took a hike around the entire lake, which was about three miles. About halfway around the lake we took a break in a nice secluded beach area.

#convictlake #hike #vacation

The next day we ventured to Mammoth Mountain where we rode the gondola to the top of the mountain.

Riding the Gondola View from the Top of Mammoth Mountain

The views were absolutely stunning!

The next day Joshua and I drove to Tahoe to visit my Uncle Steve and Aunt Patty for a couple of hours. On our way back to Convict Lake, a storm rolled in and we had the most spectacular lighting show all night long.

A Storm is Coming

We had plenty of rain throughout the night and into the next morning.

Yesterday on our way home we stopped at Mono Cone for lunch and then briefly explored the salt flats at Mono Lake.

#monolake #saltflats

It was so nice to get away and relax in the mountains for a few days!


Wednesday marked two years in our home. It’s hard to believe it’s only been two years when with the amount of projects we’re tackling feels like we still just moved in.

Back in January I put together a list of projects we want to accomplish. Here’s our updated list of the things we want to do, in the process of doing or have done.

Front of the House

Painted Front Door

  • Put sod in
  • Fill center circle in with white rocks
  • Add shrubs
  • Add weatherproof furniture and decor to front porch
  • Replace front light with sensor one
  • Add solar lighting around walkways
  • Add custom address decal to mailbox
  • Create a sign so people won’t park so close to our mailbox
  • Add shrubs or plants to the area next to the garage


New Front Door

  • Replace front door
  • Add a welcome mat to the outside
  • Repaint the walls
  • Replace carpeting in the closet with laminate flooring
  • Replace the light with a shorter one that doesn’t interfere with the closet door opening
  • Add a bench and/or more storage
  • Organize closet
  • Add a table + charging station?

Living Room

Updated Living Room

  • Paint trim
  • Repaint walls
  • Replace vertical blinds with energy efficient blackout curtains
  • Add more art to walls
  • Paint table from shed and replace LACK side tables with it
  • Replace gas fireplace with pellet stove
  • Replace carpet with laminate flooring
  • Add wall paneling and shelving to create a mantel
  • Mount TV to wall
  • Replace speakers with sound bar
  • Clean out and organize sideboard
  • Replace scratching post (carpet material is coming apart)

Dining Room

Dining Room

  • Replace carpet with laminate flooring
  • Replace artwork above bookshelf?
  • Paint trim
  • Repaints walls
  • Make a chalkboard wall?
  • Remove swinging door to kitchen



  • Clean out and organize under the kitchen sink
  • Replace cabinets
  • Replace countertops + backsplash
  • Replace sink + faucet
  • Replace flooring
  • Replace dishwasher
  • Replace the over-the-hood range

Laundry Room

Laundry Room

  • Create a command center
  • Repaint walls
  • Replace flooring
  • Paint trim and door
  • Add shelving
  • Replace cabinets
  • Make a designated pantry area
  • Create built-in litter box
  • Replace door going from kitchen to laundry room with pocket door


My Side

  • Add blinds to window
  • Replace side door
  • Fix cement walkway next to side door to prevent flooding into the garage
  • Add gable vents and roof vents
  • Add additional shelving

Media/Entertainment Room

Updated Media Room

  • Mount TV and speakers to wall
  • Move satellite connection to the wall
  • Organize and add to home gym corner
  • Paint over orange walls
  • Replace laminate flooring that matches the rest of the house


The Hallway

  • Paint ceiling
  • Replace smoke detector with Nest Protect
  • Continue adding art to the wall
  • Paint linen closet doors
  • Organize linen closet
  • Replace carpet with laminate flooring
  • Touch-up paint the walls

Guest Bedroom

The Guest Room

  • Replace handles on dresser
  • Paint dresser
  • Paint trim and door
  • Replace closet doors with mirror doors
  • Add either a wall clock or digital clock to nightstand
  • Add a couple more guest amenities
  • Replace carpet with laminate flooring

My Office

My Office

  • Fix area on desk where pieces of wood are coming off
  • Paint inside of closet
  • Organize closet
  • Paint door and closet door
  • Replace closet handle and hinges
  • Organize desk drawers
  • Replace carpet with laminate flooring

Guest Bathroom

Guest Bathroom

  • Repaint walls
  • Paint trim
  • Add shelving
  • Replace toilet
  • Add a couple more guest amenities
  • Accessorize and organize
  • Paint or replace vanity
  • Update flooring

Master Bathroom

New Colors for the Master Bath

  • Replace shower head
  • Replace vanities
  • Replace closet doors
  • Turn vent into a floor vent
  • Paint trim
  • Repaint walls (closet/vanity area)
  • Replace print on shelf above toilet
  • Organize vanity drawers
  • De-gold shower
  • Replace pocket door
  • Replace carpet with laminate flooring

Master Bedroom

Bed in the Master Bedroom

  • Create a make-up vanity
  • Add more art/prints to walls
  • Add décor to dresser – vase, flowers, pictures, etc.
  • Replace curtains with white energy efficient blackout curtains
  • Paint trim
  • Repaint walls
  • Add another coat of paint to the ceiling
  • Replace carpet with laminate flooring


The Backyard

  • Finish pulling out unwanted plants, trees, shrubs, etc.
  • Remove stone fountain and other stone planter boxes
  • Create a fire pit + seating area
  • Put in irrigation
  • Add new shrubs and ground-cover
  • Remove garden beds
  • Acquire more chairs and umbrella for table on deck
  • Get new table to go with outdoor furniture on deck
  • Add more outdoor lighting
  • Fix electrical in the shed
  • Paint, clean-up, and organize shed
  • Get a hot tub

In October of last year, we went over our front yard and backyard with our landscaper (aka Joshua’s adopted dad). While we got started with clearing stuff out of the backyard we paused on it to focus on the front yard.

We got our motivation back this summer, of course during the hottest days. I focused on tearing out all the oddly placed planter boxes, tearing out overgrown grapevines, and clearing out the garden beds.

Clearing Out Old Planter Boxes

Joshua tore out what we suspect to be some kind of water feature gone glorified plant box.

Fountain dismantling in progress Tearing apart the fountain All torn down!

We also managed to get a fire pit going with the spare stone from disassembling the fountain-thing.

The Fire Pit

As much as we’ve cleared out and done, it still feels like it’s gotten out of control. We need help, so we’re going to be bringing in Joshua’s dad and brother to help us out with landscaping.

Really what it comes down to is we just want our backyard to be simple, clean, and green. A great example of our ideal backyard is my Uncle Steve and Aunt Patty’s backyard in their Tahoe home.

Backyard Backyard

Just grass, shrubs/trees, and bark. That’s the goal this fall.


Joshua and I have decided to take the plunge and move forward with removing all the carpet in our home and replacing it with laminate. We spent our Labor Day weekend visiting various flooring stores to compare pricing on materials and installation.

We came home with a lot of samples.

Adventures in Flooring

Our goal was to keep both the cost of materials and installation under $2 per square foot. Since we have roughly 1600 square feet of carpet to replace, we have to keep it budget friendly.

The winner? Lowe’s (I swear, we always end up going with them).

Adventures in Flooring

They had the lowest price for the flooring we wanted (the Tavern Oak seen above), low price for installation, lowest price for installing base board, and no sales tax! No one else could compare.

Since the majority of our house is carpet we’re going to start the process of packing things up that we don’t need. We have a bit of planning to do, so the goal is to get the flooring in by the end of next month.

With four animals, I know my allergies and Roomba are going to be a LOT happier with this change!


Summer LAN Party

This weekend we had our annual Summer LAN party.

The Gaming Boys The Gaming Boys

As usual, we made our famous dip and had an amazing array of food brought by others.

The Food

My sister’s boyfriend came up for the weekend and made tacos. They were SO good!

Dani's Boyf Grilling Meat for Tacos

Because of the drought, heat, and fire ban we couldn’t break in our recently created fire pit.

The Fire Pit

But we lit a couple citronella candles and placed them in the pit, so we had a “fire” to gather around, hehe.

Mr. Big likes BBQ

Mr. Big had a great time socializing, especially around the barbecue.

Sleepy Gamers

And everybody slept quite well! People who spent the night left around 1pm, so the rest of the day was spent cleaning and relaxing.

Looking forward to our next LAN party – New Year’s Eve, when we can really break in the fire pit!