Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Firstly, Happy Easter!! We didn't do church or anything, but we did have friends over and do a ham and the whole thing. We've been trying to do paleo for the last couple weeks, so we made sure that everything we were eating today fit the bill.  Since we needed sides, I clearly went directly to Pinterest to figure it out and found pastel deviled eggs - perfect for Easter!

The recipe is pretty straight forward, and to be honest, I didn't follow the filling at all as I've been making my mom's version since college.

So firstly, I boiled eggs. Once they had cooled, I halved them and put the yolks in a gallon bag.

After spending more time than I'd like to admit deciding which colors I wanted, I put the halves in a cup of cold water with a few drops of food coloring and a capful of white vinegar and let them sit for 45 minutes. 
While these bad boys marinated in the dye, I set out making the filling.  It's pretty easy actually, especially now that I've been using the zip top bag method. Take all the yolks and put them in the bag, add about 1/2 cup mayo (we used homemade paleo mayo), add 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, add 1/8 cup finely chopped pickles (about 1-2 pickle spears), 2-3 tablespoons yellow mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Then seal the bag and mash the heck out of it!! Once the filling is sufficiently mashed and you've seasoned to your liking, snip off the corner and BOOM - instant pastry bag perfect for filling the little yolks! (Thank you Pinterest for that tip! No pun intended...)

Once they got to the color I wanted, I set them out on some paper towels to dry off a bit 
Ta Da! Easter Deviled Eggs!
What did you do for Easter? Any Pinspirational Projects?

Love and Bacon,

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I Love Amy Poehler

I don't like The Office. I love Amy Poehler.

It was a toss up on whether or not we'd like Parks and Rec, so we just assumed we wouldn't.  What a terrible idea!!  We started watching it last week and legit cannot turn it off. We are almost done with the third season - yes, THIRD season! If you've never seen it, you absolutely need to go to Netflix right MEOW.  

Yes, it's a comedic mockumentary, but it's so funny!! It's a bit awkward, but you just want to cheer and cheer and cheer for Amy's character, Leslie. Rashida Jones is hilarious and uplifting; and I have a newfound appreciation for Aziz's special brand of humour. 

So really, go forth and watch this goodness. 

Love and Bacon,

Friday, March 29, 2013

Advances in Bacon Goodness

Guys, prepare to have your mind blown. You know me, I've got a membership to the bacon of the month club and I pretty much stand by the statement of "if there's no bacon, it's not breakfast." So what is this advancement?

Drum roll please...

Bacon Scope! Ok, it might be a joke, or some kind of a viral marketing stunt, but c'mon guys, BACON mouthwash?!? I'm not sure if I love it or hate it. Kinda like those bacon mints I got in my Christmas stocking... Verdict is still out in those.

So what do you think - if it is a real product, would you try it? Or better yet, if you could take one everyday item and make it into bacon, what would it be? I'll share my answer tonight :)

Love and Bacon,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Warning: Boring Bits Ahead

So I say this all the time, but this time I mean it: I am going to try and write more. To get better about opening up my Blogger account and staying up to date, I will be sharing info about me. Yes, I know a blog is supposed to be about me and my life and tips and what not, but I find myself waiting for the "right" topic to write about. So, for the next while, I am going to write a post a day about whatever comes to mind... and it may be boring.


Folks, I make no promises on the interesting-ness of the stories I tell, but hopefully, this blogger-cise will help me get back into the groove and I'll find an interesting voice.

Do you have any tips to help you stick to blogging regularly?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bikram? Yes, Ma'am!

It's been about 11 months since the last time I went to Bikram, not because I didn't like it but because I didn't want to get up at 5 am to do it... so laziness. I've tried some Hot Yoga places, but I really missed Bikram - I'm a hot yoga snob that can only really be satisfied by the sweaty awesomeness of Bikram Hot Yoga.   
What is Bikram?  It's a technique that was developed by Rajashree Choudhury in the late 70s centered around exactly 26 poses in 90 minutes in a room that is heated to 105°F degrees with 40% humidity. Pretty much, you go into the yoga studio wearing the least amount of clothing you can stand, start sweating immediately, work through 2 reps of each position, and leave covered in sweat and feeling better and more accomplished than you'd believe. 

So anyway, I saw a Gilt deal for a new studio on the west side of town and couldn't resist a $40 for 20 deal. It had been so long, and I kept reminding myself of last year's resolution to "Recommit to my Bikram yoga practice by going at least 3 times a week." Clearly I let that 2012 resolution fall by the wayside last April, so with a good deal in my sight, I thought it was time to go back.  

 I definitely had forgotten how hard the classes are. I sauntered in there all "Oh yeah, no problemo, it's just been a few months since my last class," then I kept finding myself sitting on my mat with my head spinning thinking "WHEN WILL THIS END?!?!?!"  By the time the class ended, I had to accept that I'm way out of shape, that I have no right to be caught in stretchy shorts, and that I will absolutely be coming back as soon as I can. 

Have you tried tried Bikram? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

This is Our Final Offer!

Ok, that blog title is a bit misleading, but you get the idea.

After being crushed not once, but twice on places that we loved, the Baconator and I were not going to let the Humboldt Park Duplex slip through our fingers.  As soon as we decided to walk from the house, we made an appointment for a second viewing of the duplex to take it in with the critical eye needed to draft up a proper punch list.

Not to be all "gut feelings" and what not, but once we got in the front door, the condo really felt right. It was like we'd been through all these hoops with the loft then the house so that we could truly appreciate  how great the duplex was. The finishes of the duplex were really nice, especially when compared to the house; just little things like the quality of the tile in the bathrooms and the continuity of finishes throughout do a lot to pull the place together.  So with that said, we were eager to put our offer on the table!

Our Offer:
Price: 92% Offer and $5K for Closing Costs
Punch List:

  1. Build out Closets in (3) Bedrooms
  2. Build Wall and Door to close off basement bedroom
  3. Back up Battery on Sump Pump
  4. Fix Chip in Kitchen Sile Stone
  5. Hood has 2 dents - fix dents
  6. Finish Carport with Solid Garage Door
  7. Installation of Wine Fridge in Kitchen Nook
  8. Install Sile Stone in Kitchen Nook
There are a bunch of things that we asked for at the House that aren't on this list because the developer of the Duplex already took care of it during the building process (Alarm, Mirrors, Washer/Dryer, Back Fences, Pulls for Drawers, Tile Backsplash, 1 Year Developer Warranty, etc). 

Within 24 hours, we were happy to get a response from the developer!  Great news on that front:
Seller's Counter Offer:
Price: 99% asking price and No Credit for Closing Cost
Punch List: 

OMG!? They said yes to EVERYTHING on the list? Seriously? No wonder our realtor was so confused when the other developer kept turning us down!! After some quick math, we went in with our best and final offer with guns blazing and fingers crossed:

Our Best and Final Offer:
Price: 95% asking price and $5K for Closing Costs
Punch List: Everything already agreed to

The only thing we had left to do was wait and hope they came back with something that we could agree to... and they DID!

By noon the next day, we had agreed to the seller's counter offer of:
Price: 97% asking price and $5K for Closing Costs
Punch List: Everything already agreed to

After 3 long months and more viewings than I can count, we were finally on our way to having house!  We closed just over a month later with no bumps along the road - here are our keys as proof :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Making an Offer... Again

So we were down to the Humboldt Park Duplex and the Logan Square house with a pretty exhaustive list of pros and cons in hand. The duplex was gorgeous but at the end of the day, the dream has always been to own a HOUSE in the city, so we went in and put in an offer on the house!

Based on comparables in the area, the house was over priced, so we knew we would be offering lower than asking and since we were negotiating with a developer, we asked for some work to be done to bring it up to the value that we offered:

Our Offer:
Price: 93% of Asking Price plus $6K for Closing Costs
Work to Be Done aka Punch List (my comments in italics weren't in the offer...): 

  1. Pulls for kitchen, bath, closets (because it's WEIRD that all the drawers and doors were naked)
  2. Built out closets (not asking for California closets, just a bar that we could hang hangers on)
  3. Battery back up on sump pump (So important for a place with a basement)
  4. Tile backsplash with a cap at $8 per sqft (Not a dealbreaker, but worth asking for)
  5. 1 year developer warranty which includes all appliances, mechanicals, roof, windows (Pretty standard when buying from a developer)
  6. Credit for bathroom mirrors (Why would you sell a house with 3.5 bathrooms and no mirrors?)
  7. Side by side front load washer dryer - or credit at closing (Not a deal breaker, but worth asking for since developers could get them cheaper)
  8. Build out a overhead front door awning (Without an awning, rain/snow water could get in under the door and warp the floors by the front door)
  9. Home security system installed or credit (In a "transitioning" neighborhood, with a brand new place, you really need a security system!)
  10. 6' Privacy fence on North to match South side (There was only chain link on the North side of the yard)
  11. New Garage Windows as stated by seller at second showing (Window had a crack)
  12. New Microwave door - current is dented (I mean, c'mon, the whole place is brand new, but the microwave is already dented?)
  13. Stair risers to be finished (Just needed to be painted since they were naked)
  14. Upgraded stove and refrigerator (The Baconator dreams of Viking and Wolf ranges every night)

Once that was submitted, we just had to wait and wait and wait...

After 36 hours of nail biting, they got back to us with:
Seller's Counter Offer:
Price: 98.8% of Asking Price and $3K credit for Closing Costs
Work to Be Done aka Punch List: 
     1.  Pulls for kitchen, bath, closets
     2.  Built out closets
     4.  Tile backsplash (cap at $8 per sqft)

     5.  1 year developer warranty which includes all appliances, mechanicals, roof, windows.
   11.  New Garage Windows as stated by seller at second showing
   13.  Stair risers to be finished

Hmm, at least they countered, right?  So we got on the horn with our realtor and had some #realtalk about what we were willing to do to get this house.  In the end we settled on:

Our Best and Final Offer:

Price: 99% of Asking Price and $6K credit for Closing Costs
Work to Be Done: 
Everything on the original Punch list, but instead of a new stove and fridge, we'd pay the difference for a nicer stove and fridge on top of the value for the base models already in the house.

Then it was radio silence. TWO whole days of silence before our realtor got this email in response:

"Talking to the partners, they need to net 97% asking, including any modifications.  That would mean the punch list items would be treated as extras with a corresponding adjustment to the price.  I know this is a ways off from what you had proposed below, but that is realistically over $20,000 off the listing price when you add up all the work requested.  I see no other homes with this level of new construction for under $(109% asking), and some of the items like the fence and washer/dryer were not included so that we could price it at the point we did." - The Developer

YIKES! It was time to sit down and be realistic. We didn't have an extra $20K just sitting around waiting to be spent on the work items we wanted, even at our Best Offer, we were already $35K over our budget and the house is located in a place that pretty much demands that we get a car, too. There was just no way that we could swing it and the house really needed things like an alarm system, and we would need mirrors and a washer/dryer as soon as we moved in.  

So what did we do? We walked... and offered on the Humboldt Park Duplex instead!