refurnishing our home was a nightmare

Wamie house update!

In this cozy place we call home, we have been working hard to make it everything we want it to be.  We have added pantry shelves, gone through countless paint samples to find The One, installed a fence and gutters, and so many other odds and ends that we are so excited to share with you in future posts.

But first thing’s first, if you want to follow along with our adventures of newlywed life, turning a house into a home, and all of the highs and lows of everyday life, click the subscribe button on the right (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile).  It doesn’t send you crazy stuff or give your information to anyone—it just sends blog updates directly to you!

Okay, let’s be real for a second. 

Some of us only dream about fully refurnishing our home, but rarely get to do it.  Especially not all at one time.  Usually we painstakingly save up for that new couch.  We stalk Black Friday sales for our new flatscreen.  We refinish cheap furniture that we find at an estate sale.  Refurnishing from scratch only happens in our dreams.

Well friends, let me break it down for you.  I’m not sure that it should be a dream.  I would call it more of a nightmare.  

If you want to read all about how we lost all of our furniture in Hurricane Florence, click here.  If not, here’s a quick breakdown. 

We searched for and put an offer in on a home in North Carolina while we were living in Arizona.  The day we left for North Carolina, my car was rear ended in a tiny town in New Mexico and we found out it was a total loss (read about that here).  Because we were under contract for a home we would be financing, we couldn’t replace my car until we closed on the house.  Luckily, everyone we worked with was a rockstar and we closed just a few days after we got into town.  The following day, we emptied our storage unit and found out that we had lost a LOT due to water damage.

On some level we were expecting some damage.  But to lose all of our furniture?  We literally kept our kitchen table and two chairs, a tiny desk, a drink cart, and our bed frame.  Those were the only furniture items that survived.  

Luckily we had insurance and had saved some money while in Arizona.  Through our own savings and the generosity of others, we have been able to mostly refurnish our home and are loving everything.  Here’s a breakdown of everything we have so far:

Couch

We found this beauty at Ashely Furniture, which is actually where be purchased almost everything for our new home. We found that the value and quality met exactly what we wanted at a price we could afford. This three seater is soft to the touch, firm, and perfect for our living room.

Chairs

These chairs are one of our favorite things. We bought them the same day we got our couch and the sectional we put in the bonus room. They are a similar fabric to the couch above but are not from the same collection. They are situated right next to our window and are perfect for afternoon book reading sessions with a big mug of tea, or for a late night blogger who may or may not writing this from one of these chairs.

Bookcase

If you are ever in need of anything for your home, Wayfair is like the Amazon of furniture. We have been so excited to find some great pieces on their website.

We actually purchased two of these bookshelves, intending to put them both in our office. However, while arranging our living room, we found that putting the bookshelf here tied the whole room together and made it exactly how we wanted it. It’s a grey wash finish and we only put very specific and limited books here so that we wouldn’t overwhelm the space.

Bonus: my parents were getting rid of their coffee table and end table and we were able to snatch them!

Nightstand

We got our bedroom pieces from Ashley Furniture on Black Friday. We were blessed with some very generous friends who gifted us a mattress and therefore only had to replace our nightstands and dresser in the master. I wasn’t so sure about the arrangement of this nightstand initially, to be honest—with the shelf on top and the drawer on the bottom—but it has actually been great for this bookworm who adores reading before bed.

Dresser

The dresser is from the same collection as the night stand, and like the bookshelves is a grey wash. It is a good size dresser—not too deep or gargantuan, but has great drawers that offer a lot of storage space. Bonus: being a newlywed and learning to share space for clothes is teaching me how to declutter and get rid of things I don’t need. Also, having your storage unit flood will do that to you too.

Mirror

So funny story. I put this mirror on my amazon wishlist (linked here if you want one!) and got two of them for Christmas! I am putting the second one in our guest bedroom.

Sectional

This stunner is from Ashley Furniture. It is a four piece sectional that we specifically chose so that it could fit upstairs in our bonus room. Our bonus room is the the only room in the house with a TV so we have to be intentional about any time spent watching shows or movies. We are so excited about this space, and this sectional has been perfect!

Side tables

The sweetest girl who I used to work with gifted us their old end tables that fit perfectly in this space. We have loved them!

TV Stand

Yet another gem we found on Wayfair. Our TV stand is our newest piece and I absolutely adore it. Again, it is a grey wash modern farm house furniture item and I can’t stop ogling it. God bless my William for putting it all together (some assembly required!).

Really this nightmare of refurnishing our home is a blessing in disguise.  We get to choose everything we want and build a cohesive home.  We get to start from scratch with items we picked together and can build our marriage in the comfort of new beginnings. 

While the stress and time spent on insurance and trips to the dump was overwhelming, and the time spent in stores and online searching for what we need was only lessened by the fact that I love shopping—while all of this is real and hard, we can find joy in our time spent with one another. Our lives in this home will be much more enriched because of everything we have been through.

What do you think of our progress so far? Let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to join the family and subscribe if you haven’t already!

Until next time,
Jamie out.

my Instagram Top 9 2018

This is my official “top nine.”  The one the app pulls up for you and says, “Here!  This was your year!”  And these were my most liked posts on mrsjamieshugart from 2018.

While I actually think this Top 9 did a pretty dang good job, I still stare at it and think, “How on earth can my 2018 ever fit into nine little photographs?”  

According to this photo, 2018 was our Golden Retriever Blue (who is quite important, don’t get me wrong), our new furniture, our NEW HOUSE (first time home buyers—holla!), us, and adventures.  Not a bad representation, but probably not exactly what I would choose.

2018 in a nutshell:

  • Will and I spent the first three months apart.  We took our engagement photos and then he was whisked away.  
  • Just as soon as he got back, we got married, honeymooned in Maine, lived a few more weeks in North Carolina, and then packed all of our possessions into a storage unit for safe keeping.  
  • We drove over two thousand miles away to Arizona to spend four months with each other, with work, and with the desert.  
  • I launched my blog, we road tripped to Utah, explored several national parks (including the Grand Canyon), spent a weekend in San Diego, and ate all of the tacos we could stand.
  • After four months of desert living, we began our trek back to North Carolina and I got rear ended on the first day of our drive.  My trusty little car was a total loss.
  • Just a few days later we arrived in North Carolina and closed on our house.  
  • The next day we emptied our storage unit (that had flooded in our absence) and discovered that basically all of our furniture was toast.
  • Within 5 days, we bought a house, lost all of our furniture, picked out our puppy, and bought a new (to us) Toyota.  
  • Just two weeks later we brought our Golden girl Blue home.  The first month was extremely overwhelming and all of the emotions of the car accident and storage flood caught up with us during our lack of sleep during puppy and potty training.
  • Will started his new job with a much busier schedule that will demand a lot from us in 2019.
  • I started working almost full time as a photographer, being self employed and working a lot from home.

WHAT.  A.  CRAZY.  YEAR.  WE.  HAD.  If I could choose my own top nine for this crazy year, these photos would be it.

#1

My baby nephew was born and adopted in February.  This is what I had to say at the time:

For this child I have prayed.

Little baby Harkni, how we have prayed. And we know now, why it all happened the way it did. Because you were absolutely always His plan, and without the years of waiting and praying and sadness, we wouldn’t get to love you the way we get to love you. We wouldn’t have YOU, and what a beautiful and miraculous thing that there is now this precious new person in the world. And that precious new person is ours to love.

We are so blessed. We are so happy. We are so in love. Our family is growing this year, and 2018 is The Best Year Ever.

With all of our hearts, baby Harkni.

#2

My bridal shower!

This was a crazy season for me.  I was stressed beyond measure (planning is NOT my thing) with the wedding, Will was far far away from me, and I was working all hours of the night and day with my full time job, photography on the side, and worship team shenanigans.  My amazing work family threw me a surprise bridal shower that was extremely generous and made me feel so loved.  My bridesmaid/bestie and her mama also threw me this shower on the day I got my hair done for the wedding (conveniently) at this adorable and delicious restaurant downtown with some of my very favorite ladies.

May you all feel loved the way I was blessed to feel so loved.

#3

#4

#wamieswedding

In April, we got married in my parents’ backyard under sunny blue skies.  I wore lace and tule and we didn’t have a first look.  I watched all the guests arrive through a slit in the blinds of my parents’ master bedroom and ogled my fiancé in his tux from afar.  Will cried when he saw me and we said sweet simple vows.  We snapped a couple pictures and then spent the reception with our loved ones before we jumped in a very decorated car that told passersby to honk, JUST MARRIED! and drove to Raleigh to stay the night in a fancy hotel before setting off the next morning for our honeymoon.

#5

On our honeymoon, we went to the beach, but in coats.  We didn’t get tan, or drink cocktails, or go snorkeling.  We flew to Maine—my dream vacation—and stayed in a little cottage outside Bar Harbor on an island called Mount Desert.  We drank wine and ate blueberry preserves.  Our first little breakfast, I got crepes with Maine blueberries and we drank our way through the island’s coffee supply that week.  We wore activewear and fleece and hiked up mountains to see the views.  We looked off into the distance of the Atlantic on a very clear day and had lobster multiple times at fancy restaurants on the bay.  Will tried a glass of twenty dollar scotch and we did a Marvel marathon to prepare for the release of Infinity War.

We even went to see a lighthouse that I had been ogling pictures of for years.  I had saved a photo of the very lighthouse to my phone exactly two years prior.  To the day.

#6

Our Arizona adventures!

After packing up and moving, discovering hotel and desert life, and launching our blog, we began to realize our dream of visiting as many National Parks as possible, beginning with the Coronado National Memorial.  We love hiking, camping, and exploring.  We were stoked when we found out that Coronado has a cave that you can explore without a guide!  We hiked the half mile trail up the mountainside and then spent a long time exploring the depths of the cave with one headlamp and one sort of okay flashlight.

We then drove up a windy, dirt road to a view point.  If you turn around, you can see well into Mexico.  It was beautiful and green because of monsoon season, and we were so blessed to experience it.

#7

The Grand Canyon

Another dream of mine!  And a culmination of all of my goals and aspirations in Arizona.  I did a work out program called 80 Day Obsession specifically to be able to keep up with my super fit husband on all of our adventuring in the desert.  At the Grand Canyon, we got up around 3am to make it to the rim in time to watch the sun rise.  We then hiked the rim trail for over twelve miles and spent over 13 hours in the presence of the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.

#8

A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona

This photo is a great representation of our Arizona adventure.  On our last weekend, we drove up to Saguaro National Park to catch the sunset among some of the biggest cacti I have ever laid eyes on.  We had a mini photo shoot with my camera on a tripod and the remote in my hand.  It gave us a moment to slow down and cherish every adventure we had been on, the four months we had gone through just the two of us, and this incredible way to start our marriage.  It was a bitter sweet last adventure in the desert, but it was probably one of the best ideas we have had to date.

#9

All of our last two months of 2018 wrapped into one photo, with our new house and our new furniture and our new pup.  What a whirlwind the last 70 days of 2018 were!  I’ll be honest, I hope we don’t go through any more of those, but WHEN we do I will be grateful to do it with Will by my side.

Last year was a blast!  (Most of it!)  I was a little sad to see it go, to be honest.  2018 was very very good for my soul.  For our marriage.  For our future as the Shugarts.  We are so blessed to have had 2018.  

Now here we head into the unknown of a new year.  Our bags are unpacked.  We are setting down roots.  We have plans and adventures and explorations to do.  The world is a big place, so let’s hop to it, shall we?

Until next time,
Jamie out.

our puppy is a genius

Blue update #2—Weeks 10 & 11

In the past two weeks we dog sat another puppy, marveled at Blue’s genius, and had a potty training regression.  

My favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • Transitioning to only getting up with Blue once every night.
  • Getting lots of good puppy snuggles and kisses.
  • Watching tiny Blue climb up and down our stairs.

My least favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • The great potty training regression of 2018.
  • Hand bruises from sharp puppy teeth.

Things I have learned:

  • That Blue is really really smart.
  • That Blue is already great at posing.
  • That Blue loves to please us.

Blue has gained over five pounds since we brought her home.  At her eight week vet visit she weighed 10.8 pounds and at her 11 week vet visit, she weighed 15.8 pounds.  We feel pretty good about her size and are hoping she is right in the sweet spot when she is an adult, which should be between fifty-five and sixty-five pounds.  She is happy and healthy and still learning daily.  It is amazing to watch her pick up on things.

For the most part, things got easier for us as a family these weeks compared to the first two.  I have definitely grown more attached to our high energy fur ball and absolutely love her snuggles and puppy kisses.  She is really good at hugs and snuggles, especially when she is tuckered out after playing with a puppy friend.

On the weekend Blue turned 11 weeks, we dog sat our friend’s puppy who is one month older than Blue and twice her size.  He is a shepherd mix—a herding breed—and is much more calm and less high energy than our girl Blue.  He is also better at sleeping through the night than she is.  And while they were both mostly house trained in their own homes, this weekend turned into utter chaos that caused both dogs to regress a little bit.

Our visiting pup wasn’t sure how or where to potty at our house, so he decided that inside was the perfect spot.  We had a lot of accidents the first couple days, especially because he refused to go outside.  At first Blue just observed this, but eventually she started to go inside as well.  As you can imagine, this got pretty frustrating.   

The short story is, we got the dogs on a strict schedule for going outside.  If they weren’t in their crates, they were going outside every twenty minutes, whether or not we thought they had to go.  This cut down on the accidents dramatically, and improved our relationship with them as well.

Dog sitting also emphasized repeatedly how intelligent our Blue is.  Not in comparison to the other dog, but just in the way that she would help him when he didn’t understand.  For example, he was terrified of going down our stairs, so Blue got right next to him and went down every step with him one at a time.  He also kept chewing my carpet, so Blue finally laid a chew toy across his paws and showed him to chew on that instead.  I have never been more proud in my life.

We are growing closer daily, and as Blue learns more and more, Will and I enjoy her more and more.  Often times before bed you will find the three of us sitting on the floor and playing with a ball or rough housing.  By the end of week eleven Blue weighed in at almost 19 pounds.  It’s safe to say she is heading into a big growth spurt!  She is still fearless and resilient.  We didn’t go a lot of places during these two weeks and she is definitely learning that the house is her den.  We still keep doors to a couple rooms closed to avoid temptation for her, but in the rooms she is comfortable, she is great at only chewing on her own toys.

Until next time,
Jamie out

Read more: 
Weeks 8 & 9Bringing Blue Home

the pitfalls of potty training

Blue update – Weeks 8 & 9

If you didn’t know we got a puppy, go read this blog post ASAP!

Being a puppy mom has been incredibly hard and incredibly rewarding at the same time. Blue is a smart cookie. I can tell when she’s just ignoring me, or when she’s sneaking off to do something she knows is naughty. But I also rejoice with her as she begins to get it. As she begins to ask to go outside so that she can “go potty” and as she obeys when we say “come” and “sit.” I am so surprised that at nine weeks old she knows so much. Obviously there is still a lot to learn, for BOTH of us. 

Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

My favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • When Blue learned to go up and down the stairs to the bonus room.  She’s still so small that she looks like a bunny hopping up the stairs, and I have to encourage her down every step when we go back down.  It’s adorable.
  • The first time she asked to go outside to “go potty.”  
  • Watching her grow right in front of my eyes.
  • Her play date with our friend’s three month old puppy where they played until they literally dropped.
Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

My least favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • Her tiny sharp puppy teeth as she grabs onto my hand and won’t let go.
  • How dry my hands got from cleaning up pee accidents inside and washing my hands afterward.
  • How much she cries at night and how much we had to get up with her the first week.
Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

Things I have learned:

  • It is okay to change your mind and do what is best for your family and your pup.
  • She is really really smart.
  • If she is acting “bad,” it is most likely my fault, not hers.
  • I cherish my sleep.
Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

Her first week here was hard on all of us. We coddled her a lot at night and she struggled to sleep. We got up with her seven or eight times one night.  She learned that crying would be rewarded, so in her second week here we had to try to unlearn that.  We all lost some more sleep.  But we are confident it is what is best in the long run.  We want her to be comfortable and confident when she is home alone and when she is sleeping at night.

It was our intention to not crate her, however after having her for a week we caved and got a crate.  She went in voluntarily on the first night to go to sleep, but after that it got a little harder.  She is attached to the stuff IN her crate—like her blankies—but she isn’t so keen on the crate itself.  As her fur mama I know that she is safe in her own little den while I am gone, and I have peace of mind that my home isn’t being destroyed while I am at the grocery store.  And I am certain that she will grow to love her place once she realizes it isn’t a punishment and she isn’t lonely.

Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

Potty training is no joke. We are finding a better routine and schedule that we can all adhere to, but as our days are never the same as one another, that can prove challenging. After four or five days of training she asked to go outside. A week after we got her she asked us three times in one night to let her out. This is where I feel the rewarding aspect of training—to finally see results of hard work. 

She is super smart and Will loves putting her brain to work to train her and then practice things they have learned.  We got her a puzzle ball we can put treats in to help her work her brain also.  A tired puppy is a good puppy, and even though she is very high energy, tiring out her brain is just as important as tiring out her little body.  

Or not so little body.  Two days after we got her I took her to the vet and they weighed her at 10.8 pounds.  By the end of week 9, she weighed a little over 13 pounds.  She is going to be too big to pick up and carry in no time so I am enjoying the lap snuggles while I can.  

Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

With full disclosure and honestly, we did not enjoy our first week with Blue.  We were very sleep deprived and potty training proved to be very stressful.  Once we got the crate, things began to improve and I started to get attached.  We made a plan for taking her out at night that would negate some of her crying and got us all on a better schedule. 

We are so excited to watch her grow, to learn with her, and to be the best fur parents we can to this little ball of energy.  Stay tuned for the perils and pleasures of puppy ownership as I take you along for the sometimes bumpy ride over the next several months.  There is so much that we will all learn and experience.

Do you have any puppy advice for me?  The biggest one right now is how to make her happy with her crate and cut down on the crying.  Please leave any knowledge in the comments below!  If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to subscribe to join the family if you haven’t already.

Until next time, 
Jamie out.


Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

If you watched the news in September, you know that Hurricane Florence hit the east coast and caused a lot of damage.  Most of the severe losses were in coastal towns, but places inland were affected as well.  The Cape Fear River that runs through Fayetteville and the surrounding towns crested around 60 feet, majorly surpassing the 35 foot flood stage and causing families along the river and other water ways that run off it to be evacuated.

While we were in Arizona, most of our worldly possessions were in a storage unit in Fayetteville.  We, luckily, decided to opt into the insurance the facility offered well before the storm.  While I do not believe the storage unit was within a mandatory flood evacuation zone, we were informed by management that our unit had flooded.

We returned home at the end of October and took a peek at the damage.  Initially we thought it wasn’t so bad—only a few boxes had been on the ground and it was mostly furniture that took the brunt of the water.  We assumed we would be able to clean them off and be on our merry way.

After closing on our home, the next day we got a U-Haul and invited friends and family to help us empty our unit.  We went out and bought gloves and masks for everyone, as long as a lot of white vinegar and cleaning supplies.

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

It was not just a little bit of damage.  A whole box of picture albums was on the ground.  Most of our furniture is wood or fabric, so the material held onto the moisture and mold grew rampant.  Even boxes that weren’t soaked with water allowed moisture and eventually mold inside and we had to go through everything carefully.

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence we lost it all in Hurricane Florence we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

Luckily, we were able to save money while we were in Arizona and we deliberately put some away for purchasing things we would need—like a washer and dryer.  Luckily, like I said above, we put insurance on our unit and its contents.  Luckily, we had the support of our loved ones as we unpacked, cleaned, and photographed the damage.  Luckily, we serve a great God who has been gracious in providing, even through the troubled times.

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

I know people who lost everything in Hurricane Matthew.  People who lost their homes and all of their possessions.  In the hurricanes that have hit the Carolinas recently, many people have lost their lives.

We lost some furniture.  Financially and emotionally that is certainly not the easiest thing to go through.  But we have our lives, and we have each other.

On the plus side, we get new stuff.  We get to pick the things that are to our taste.  We get to design our house from the ground up, so to speak.  And while it may be tough and draining and arduous, especially during the waiting (we are still working through the insurance claims process and have not been reimbursed for our losses yet), we know that now is not forever and that now will always change.

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

After over three weeks, we have been able to almost fully furnish our home with what we NEED, with either the money we saved or the generosity of others.  We are grateful and happy for what we have, and we know that having each other is much more important than having a mattress, although it is much easier to sleep at night with one.  For real.

Until next time,
Jamie out.

We bought a house!

We are first time home owners!  And we did it all from over two thousand miles away.

What a rollercoaster this process was. I was super surprised that the part I thought I would love—the actual house hunting—was the worst aspect for me. When it got down to the nitty gritty though, we had some amazing professionals on our team who worked super hard behind the scenes to pull it all together in less than 30 days. 

Our realtor was a good friend of mine who has been building me up and encouraging me for almost four years now. She is a rockstar. When we told her we wanted to buy a house in North Carolina, but do basically all of it while we were in Arizona, she didn’t bat an eye. She was down for the challenge. 

My parents, who coincidentally LOVE “window shopping” for houses were game to go look at houses for us. They looked at neighborhoods, the condition of the property, the drainage of the lot—all of the things you can’t change and all of the things you can’t see in the photos.  

Our realtor took us on video walkthroughs so that we could get a feel for the place as well. We talked over all of the positives and negatives. We searched for over a month and we fell in love with multiple homes. We were so ready!

Finally we found The One and we got an accepted offer. It was smooth sailing from then out (for us, not so sure about everyone else on our team, haha!) and we were so excited to close and get our keys just four days after we arrived in North Carolina. 

Since leaving Arizona, everything has been a little crazy for us. We got in a car accident and my car was totaled, but because we were under contract on a house, we could not buy a car until we closed, otherwise it could mess up our mortgage. Luckily we were able to close just a week after the accident and our insurance was understanding so they let us keep our rental car a little longer than normal. 

We were also super lucky because we closed on our house on a Friday and got our keys the same day, which doesn’t always happen in North Carolina because of the legal process here. 

Even though we had no furniture, food, or toilet paper, we booked it to the house as soon as we got the call. Just thirty minutes before the courts closed, our realtor called us to tell us that the house was officially ours! We drove through the rain and pulled up outside just after five. Will even insisted on carrying me over the threshold. It was amazing. 

We spent the evening at the grocery store buying toilet paper and frozen lasagna, and then back in our house to just soak in every foot of its perfections. 

We are so excited to make it our own. To fill it, and decorate it, and host in it. It is our favorite investment, and we are so very happy. 

Until next time,
Jamie out. 

We bought a house! We bought a house!