One Year of Home Ownership: Before & After

One Year of Home Ownership: Before & After

Yesterday marked our one year of home ownership. So, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some before and afters. Sometimes I don't even realize how much we've done to this house.

A Trip to Ravenwood Castle & Medieval Village


Ravenwood castle in the woods Mr. T has been talking about this castle-like hotel ever since I first met him. I'm actually pretty sure he's been talking about it before that, but I can only account for the time I've known him. So we finally decided to take a trip to Ravenwood Castle & Medieval Village over his Spring break.

We were originally supposed to take the trip in January. But with all the madness of the house we had to reschedule it. I'm glad we did because going up to this place in the snow would have been terrifying (also really pretty, but mostly terrifying). And, I appreciate Medievaly things because of Mr. T (he's studying Medieval History). I really have no idea about any of this stuff. I barely even know how to spell the word Medieval (it's almost as hard as Rensselaer). But I really did enjoy the place and we want to plan a return trip in the fall.

Now, on to the trip.

Ravenwood Castle sits among Hocking Hills in Ohio. If you're not familiar with the area, GO! It's so pretty there.


Ravenwood Castle Drive

The trip up to the actual castle is a little scary. It's in the woods so you get to travel along a scary little dirt road to get there. According to the folks that work there it is a pain in the ass in the winter. They often have to help people get up there. But I bet it would be magnificent.

Ravenwood medieval village

Where we stayed.

We stayed in the Medieval Village, not the castle itself. The cottages are all different and we chose the Clocktower. It was two floors. The main floor had a little living room area, the bathroom with a garden tub, and a little kitchenette. The top floor was a loft with the bed. And there's also a little balcony that overlooks the trees. It was super cozy. Apparently families have stayed there, but I definitely think it leans more towards couples get away. There's not a lot of privacy and there was only a tub (no shower).

Ravenwood Castle Cottage

Ravenwood Castle Library

Ravenwood castle entrance


What we did.

Even though the place is nestled in the woods, everything is well lit so I never felt that we were going to get murdered like I did during our trip to a cabin in upstate New York. Our phone signals were spotty. But, honestly, it was nice to disconnect for a couple of days.

There's also no cable. Our cottage had the tiniest TV ever. They do have a little library with books and DVDs. And they have tons of games. They let you take both to your room as long as you bring them back. Mr. T and I spent hours playing Monopoly, just like we did on our honeymoon. And we watched the worst Rob Zombie movie ever.

There's also lots of things to do in the area, you know, like hiking and stuff. But we didn't do any of that. We just wanted to enjoy the room and some R& R. So we spent a lot of time in the tub, drinking champagne, and eating snacks.

Ravenwood Castle great room

Ravenwood Castle breakfast


The food.

We called ahead so we knew the kitchenette just had a fridge and microwave. We brought some snacks. Just fruits, cheeses, crackers, and things of that nature so we didn’t need to cook.

They serve breakfast and the muffins were incredible. I seriously ate four each morning.

They also have a pub that serves light food and alcohols. Honestly, I was not impressed with that. The chili and beer cheese soup were good, but the rest wasn't much to write home about. They do have a restaurant open on the weekends.

You can also take all of the drinks you want back to your room. Mr. T and I ordered a bottle of champagne and they took it to our room for us complete with glasses, napkins, and a cute little set up. So that was a nice touch.

The thing I love most about trips to places like Ravenwood Castle is how much you feel like you're escaping everyday life for a little bit. I love being a tourist and seeing the sights of new places. But there is something about disconnecting and holding up in a little cabin for a few days. No to-do lists or schedules or worries. It was the same thing that we experienced on our honeymoon and it's awesome.

All in all it was a great trip and I really hope we can go back again someday.

A Chaotic & Collected Stationery Anniversary Sale

Happy Anniversary SaleGuess what, you guys?!? It's the shop's anniversary this month. And obviously we need to celebrate with an anniversary sale. First things first. Let me get all teary eyed. One whole year ago, the idea that I had been working on for months officially came to life when I launched Chaotic & Collected Stationery. I still can't believe I did it or that I'm still doing it. It's been one hell of a year. Lots of challenges, frustration, and tears (and I expect lots more of that). But also a ton of fun and excitement (please say there will be more of that). I kind of can't believe how far I've come. I'm so incredibly excited for this year and to see where this lil' creation of mine can continue to go. And I have lots of plans! More craft fairs, new & improved pictures to help you really see and get to know the products. Custom sales. Exciting stuff.

You might also notice a few changes around the blog as well. Like, say, my logo and a new fun lil' signature that I'm going to add to all of my posts. I feel like the blog kind of suffered last year because I was all "HOUSE HOUSE HOUSE" or "SHOP SHOP SHOP". So this year one of my goals is to actually stick to my content calendar and make this blog awesome. I have so many ideas. My brain might explode.

Anyway, the point of the post. I want to celebrate with you! So I'm having a Chaotic & Collected Anniversary sale! All month long you can enjoy free shipping + 15% off anything (and everything) in the store. Just use code anniversary at checkout.

And thank you so much for supporting me. Really. If you've given me moral support, made a purchase, or just liked any of my stuff. It all means the world to me. Without support from all of you I probably would have abandoned this whole thing a long time ago!


A Holl & Lane Discount

I talk a lot about Holl & Lane. And you might be tired of it. But I can't help it, you guys. I just love it so much. Really, this magazine is going big places so you definitely need to get on board. We're going to start charging for issues and I really do hope that you'll help support our magazine so we can continue to create something so beautiful and wonderful.


So to help you out and because we love our readers (and because I'm the Social Media Coordinator), we want to offer a little Holl & Lane discount for all of the readers of Chaotic and Collected. You can get 15% off any issue with the code CHAOTIC&COLLECTED. Click here to purchase or click the image if you're feeling fancy.

Please note that the discount does not work on subscriptions. But those are actually $7.99 for 6 months. Which means you get three issues + two bonus issues so that's a pretty sweet deal all on its own.

So go get an issue. Help support us and treat yourself to something really amazing for the new year.

The Holl & Lane Holiday Issue

The holidays are awesome. Holl & Lane is awesome. So the holiday issue of Holl & Lane? More awesomeness than I can describe.

New Goal in Life: Eat all of the Chocolate Mint (Starting with these Boozy Chocolate Mint Recipes)

Photo Credit: m01229 (Flickr) Did you guys hear? It's totally National Chocolate Mint Day. It's a thing. Just like pancake week is a thing. Seriously, I must keep better track of all of these things. I am severely missing out in life. I am a huge (I mean -h-u-g-e) fan of all things chocolate mint. If you remember, Mr. T even added a little mint to the truffles he made from me. And every winter/Christmas I always want to make and buy all of the chocolate mint things. So, what better way to honor this day than to talk about booze and chocolate mint? Here are some delicious boozy chocolate mint recipes.

Chocolate Mint Mojito

Normally I am not a huge mojito fan. I like my drinks to be nice and smooth (it's a texture thing). And I totally hate when a big glob of mint gets stuck in my straw. Sorry, I'm not really making this sound very appetizing am I?!? But, really, I think I would be totally cool with chocolate mint in my drink. So let's all make this immediately. Here's how.

Mint Hotchata

This is actually a Christmas recipe. But I say you can totally make it anytime you want. There are no rules when it comes to chocolate mint. This sounds so easy -- it only takes like three ingredients and it goes in the crockpot. And we all know how much I love my booze in the crockpot. Here's how to make it.

Adult Mint Float

It's a float with booze and mint. Need I say more?? Here's how to make it.

Huge Announcement: I've Opened My Own Online Stationery Store

Chaotic & Collected Stationery LogoI kind of can't believe that I am about to say this, but I have officially opened my own online stationery store. Yes, you read that right. It's been several months in the making and I am really nervous and excited about it. I kind of feel like this is my very own sponsored post. After the wedding, I realized how much I really enjoyed crafting and making homemade things (as I am sure you've noticed on this blog as well). It's actually something I've always loved doing. Everyone told me that I should open a store. That I should be selling my stuff. And, well, somewhere I found the guts to actually do it. So I put together my own little online store front called Chaotic & Collected Stationery. I will eventually start selling on Etsy and other websites as well (I promise to keep you posted on all of that).

So what am I selling? Well, it's a stationery store so right now it's mostly cards, goody & favor bags, drink stirrers, and other fun paper goods. New items will be added often as well as new patterns and designs. Everything is specially designed and created by yours truly.

Right now, in honor of the launch and Valentine's Day, I am running a fab sale. You can snag $5 off any purchase of $10 or more & free shipping when you use code VDAY at checkout. So come check out my new store and feel free to share the news with friends, strangers, and everyone!