Monday, October 27, 2014

Home, Entertaining, & Neighbors

{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}

As much as we all know it sucks that Santa Barbara is such an expensive place to live, I must say I have grown to love the little condo that Joe and I call home.  It took me awhile to accept it as “home” and not just “that place I live until we move into something bigger,” but once I decided to embrace it, I really began to appreciate our cozy space.

For one thing, a smaller place equals a lot less to clean and organize!  And seeing as how I’m still trying to make a habit of keeping things tidy, I am definitely glad to have less square feet in which to make my epic messes.  It’s also been really fun to do little decorating projects and looking up ways to maximize small spaces on Pinterest.  (For the record, we actually have a lot more storage space in our condo than one might guess!)

Joe and I love to entertain, and our place has proven to be pretty great for game nights, movie nights, potlucks, and Bible study or small group gatherings.  We have a projector mounted up high in the wall above our couches, and it projects onto the opposite enormous wall of our living room.  (And hey, that’s one less wall for me to worry about decorating!)  Plus, Joe installed a great surround sound system, so we are all over the action movies, is all I’m saying.

Our living room, which is one of my favorite things about our home.

We’ve also hosted a couple of pretty large parties, and while the space does get a little crowded, I think it’s actually been kind of fun, and it doesn’t allow anyone to hide out in the corners being anti-social.  (Not that we even have any anti-social friends.  Everyone we know is super friendly!)  I hosted my friend Julie’s baby shower a couple years ago, and I think we had about 18 people in the living room at one point.  But even crazier than that, we had a Christmas party last year and I think there must’ve been around 25 people crammed into the living room, dining room and kitchen!  That was an amazingly fun evening.

Kitchen overflow during our 2013 Christmas party!

One other thing I like about where we live is that we’ve had some pretty great neighbors over the years.  There was Jeff and Leah (and eventually their son John), who moved in right around the time I moved to Santa Barbara when Joe and I were still dating.  We had lots of fun game nights and dinners with them, and we even took them with us to San Francisco one December for our annual Dickens/Monterey weekend!  

Then when Jeff, Leah, John, and still-in-the-oven Abigail moved to Alabama (boooo), two amazing ladies (who are now two of my favorite people ever), Natalie and Michelle, moved into their old place.  That whole situation was a blessing, because Michelle and I found out we work together, and all of us also go to the same church!  We hit it off right away and had many game/movie/dinner/ladies’ nights, and we jointly hosted a fantastic summer solstice party that was a big hit with our friends and other neighbors.

Me with Michelle, Natalie, and our awesome piƱata at our solstice party last year.

Then when Natalie and Michelle ditched me moved out for totally valid reasons that had nothing to do with me, our other neighbors Brian and Shannon moved literally across the walkway into the girls’ old place, since it had a second bedroom and they had just had a baby boy.  And THEN by pure happenstance (aka the brilliant plan of God), another couple from our church, Eric and Becky, moved into Brian’s old place!  Those two are also super sweet, friendly, and good-neighborly.  Becky is the very same Becky who did our five year photo shoot, and she's also in my Beth Moore small group this season!

So basically, today’s “thing I love about Santa Barbara” is the blessing of being “stuck” in our current living situation, and realizing that it’s what we make of it.  I spent the first couple years of marriage just wishing to move on to the “next” place, and then finally realized that it was much more enjoyable to make this “now” place a place I could love to live in for another five or ten years.  And now that I've done that, I think it’ll end up being pretty bittersweet whenever we do move on from this condo (and say goodbye whichever neighbors we may have when that time comes).


  1. I do terribly miss living so close to you! (aka tuesday jello shot nights and super easy tgiflexday activities)


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