• Pack Talks Budget: Unexpected Costs of Home Ownership

    When we bought our first home, we were living paycheck to paycheck. I still remember adding up the cost of all the food in our grocery cart before we got to the checkout line to make sure we had enough to cover it. We saved and we saved but it never felt like it was enough to buy a house. It’s daunting, isn’t it? Here’s the thing. When you rent, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. If you can cut costs and take advantage of all of the first-time homebuyer incentives, you can make your dream a reality. But we don’t want you to go into this blind. Budgeting for home ownership is much more than making sure you can afford the mortgage each month. Here are some costs that come along with that white picket fence that you may not be thinking about:

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  • Pack Picks

    Can you believe it’s Valentine’s weekend already? We’ve never been big on celebrating this holiday because it should be a big ‘ole love fest year-round, amIright? Plus, this chick is not paying $7 for a card. Sorry, Jon! So today, I’m offering some fabulous finds that will help fill your home with love for your better half, your pet, or just for you. You definitely deserve better than a box of chocolates.

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  • I’ll Put A Hex On You

    Some occasions call for a nice bubbly, and some for a brewski, amIright? Same goes for your home. There are so many places you can save, I mean really save, and others where you should splurge. You’ve probably heard a thousand times that kitchens and baths sell homes – mostly true. I’d like to add living space to the list, but that’s for another day. Today, let’s focus on your kitchen. I have a good friend who is about to undertake a major kitchen renovation and she asked me for my best piece of advice as she tackles this project. Here’s what I told her:Read More

  • Dear House Virgin,

    I’ve mentioned before that I bought my first home at 21, barely able to celebrate with a glass of bubbly. I’ve learned so much ten years and six homes later. Man, there are so many things I wish I knew back then. Here’s what I would tell my younger, first time homebuyer self:Read More

  • I haven’t had a bath in YEARS

    Well that was provocative, no? I actually took a bath exactly one year and one week ago when I was trying to induce labor (it worked!). But before that, it really had been years. Who takes baths anymore? First, ain’t nobody got time for that. Second, gross. Laying in your own filth does not sound relaxing in any way. If I’m going to light candles and indulge in a nice glass of wine, I’d like to do it, you know, by a fire, or anywhere really, when I’m not cold and wet. Let this truth sink in (yes, pun!): Gone are the days where a jetted tub in the master is appealing. They are dust collectors. Yank it. I mean it. If there is a bath in your master and it’s not some gorgeous vintage clawfoot tub – we need to take a sledge hammer to it stat. That’s what we’ve done in our last two homes, what we’ve counseled our clients to do and not once have I regretted it. There is one caveat to this. If this is the only bathtub in your home, you need to keep it. Because any parent will tell you, you can’t sell your house without one tub. OK. Is it gone? How amazing did it feel getting your stress out breaking that bad boy into huge chunks? Yasss. Now we can talk about what you need to do instead:

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  • WHO? Gah!

    It took me about a year to learn how to say quinoa properly. Keen-wahh. Fancy. So what’s this new design trend that I have a hard time pronouncing but am madly in love with and have been trying to replicate in my living space, for you know, ever?! Throwback to when I was ten and would make my friends come over to “play” so I could have the manpower to rearrange my room twenty seven different ways to see what felt best. Turns out, that feeling actually has a name and it’s a pretty fancy one at that for a not-so-fancy concept. Spelled h y g g e, pronounced hoo-gahh. Say it with me, hoogahh. Not to be confused with hookah, yuk. Hygge is the Danish word for “taking pleasure from the soothing, ordinary, and inexpensive things in life”. Translated into home design, it’s cozy, intimate, warm. Tuck in with your favorite cushy blanket, light that delicious smelling candle and grab your hot, but not too hot for sipping, mug of tea and check out the latest hygge picks we’re coveting for our next #NixonPack project. Heck, who am I kidding? I’ve already placed my etsy order and the “project” is me!

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  • Couch Potato

    One of our guilty pleasures during nap time is to catch up on all of our favorite magazines or scroll through Instagram for design inspiration. There’s so much goodness out there sometimes it gets overwhelming, right? Without fail, the pages I always flag first are the ones of dreamy living spaces with inviting nooks for chatting and white couches. Gosh, I love a nice white couch. Upon further inspection though, is that baby puke in the corner of that cushion? Black dog hair from the lab who’s claimed the spot for a nice afternoon siesta? No, you don’t see it?! Oh, must just be my house. Right. I can’t have a white couch and probably never will because we have dogs, a baby, a love of wine, snacking on the sofa, a zest for life.  And you know what else? I don’t see a TV on that page. Not only can this family have white couches, they don’t watch television? That can’t be real life. And that’s my point. You can pin all the decor inspo you like from your favorite designers, but most of them don’t design for real life. They design for clients who don’t have time to watch television, have a clean up crew for the inevitable wine spillage, OK, let’s face it they probably don’t even live there.  Here’s what we want you to be honest about when you start pinning:

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  • My husband came home with a…house.

    Jon and I bought our first house when I was just 21. Most people have dreams of owning their own home for a multitude of reasons. The American dream, starting a family, visions of that white picket fence…ours was for the Pack. We were in a tiny little apartment with a no pets policy and Jolea, our Chihuahua. We went out for bagels one morning and stumbled on a rescue group desperately trying to home dogs born in a FEMA trailer during Hurricane Katrina. Needless to say we came home sans bagels, plus two Labradors. And now, we were a young couple with a too cute to be properly trained Chihuahua and two rambunctious lab puppies in a no-pets-allowed tiny apartment. Enter, first house.

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  • Tuesday Tip: No Outlet

    You might be thinking “prop photo” when you see the kitchen above. Actually, this was a real day when I was enjoying my favorite green smoothie and prepping dinner. Ahh, all that fresh farmer’s market bounty has me craving summer. But if you were thinking “props” you weren’t entirely wrong. Look back toward the left of the stove and you’ll see a toaster. That my friends, is indeed a prop toaster. It works, but if you look closely it still has the plastic packaging on the back because my husband has dubbed it the “good” toaster that is too nice to use. No, really. My parents came for Christmas and had the audacity to put slices of bread in it and leave crumbs. Jon just about lost his mind. Do you have anything like that at home or is it just us?

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  • Salvage Statement

    I’m all about the thrill of the hunt. I am constantly flipping through magazines, window shopping, pinning and scrolling Insta for the latest and greatest in home design and decor trends. It feeds my competitive side because I must have that oddball item no one else has (yet) and I’ve got to get it for a steal. It’s a little bit like shopping for baby clothes. Mamas, you know what I mean. Everyone buys the same old Carter’s onesies and I crave dressing my little man in that sweet startup brand that a SAHM just launched on Etsy. You with me?

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