We Bought a House! 3 Lessons Learned in our Home Search.


Preston and I are so excited to share that we bought a house. We have been searching for SIX MONTHS which is why we advise all of our buyers to 1) start early and 2) be patient! This house wasn’t even o the market, we found an off-market house and negotiated with the owner to sell it. People always ask how did you do that?

Three keys to finding your Home:

The answer is, we got specific with what we wanted. Through our search, we knew we wanted a house in a specific neighborhood and with a specific style. For us, it was a historic craftsman with a large front porch. The neighborhood we narrowed in on is a historic neighborhood that several investors are flipping homes in. This means that inventory is low and goes very quickly so we knew we had to get creative! Preston and I are lucky that we have several buyers in the area as well so we had a great idea of what inventory was coming up and were always nearby to catch things like moving trucks and for rent signs to ask if they wanted to sell. We also had to be flexible on other items, like updates and number of bedrooms.

And that is exactly how we found our house! It was actually for rent so we called the phone number on the sign to ask how much they wanted to rent it for and if they ever considered selling. At this point, we were searching for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house. When we made the call to find out about the house we knew one thing: we loved the curb appeal and it met our two must-haves: location and style (aka porch for Preston). A big risk that I would not recommend to anyone not in real estate is we gave an estimate price range we were willing to pay without even seeing the house! Some of these photos are not the best because the first time we saw the house it was getting painted so ALL of the windows were taped off making it feel a lot darker and outdated.

This was definitely a long process of listening to our hearts, taking risks, negotiating, and praying. Preston fell in love the first time we saw the for rent sign. I honestly took a little longer to warm up to the house-it needed more updates than other homes we saw and it was smaller than we were initially looking for. But at the end of the day, it felt like home and we knew we were meant to be the next owners to take care of this well-loved house. When we met the sellers it was clear they had amazing memories in this house and when we closed, they were so happy we are getting the opportunity to make more memories in it.

We have learned so much as first time home buyers and are very excited to share our lessons learned through the buying and the renovation process. If you have any questions, let us know!

Homemade Chicken Potpie Recipe

There is something about the colder weather that always has us craving comfort foods. I like to think it is our stomachs reminiscing our Grandmother’s cooking with the holidays, but we joke that cooler weather brings layered clothing aka our focus on eating healthy is is let loose. Recently we tried this chicken pot pie recipe. Preston loves chicken pot pies and lived off them as a child, so when he found this recipe on the cover of Food and Wine Magazine, he knew he had to make it.

Let us warn you: it took a lot longer than anticipated. We started it at 6 pm on a Sunday night and were not done cleaning up until closer to 10 pm. Part of this was a struggle with the dough that we will share. As tasty as the made from scratch crust was, we might use a store bought dough to speed up the process.

Below is the recipe:


2 1/2 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup duck fat (this is what we used since we save duck fat) or schmaltz (rendered chicken fat, but hard to find in a grocery store)

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk



2 lbs skin on, bone in chicken

Dash salt and pepper

1/4 olive oil

6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 celery, diced

3 garlic closed, minced

1/4 cup flour

1 1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 minced fresh parsley

2 tbsp minced chives

2 tsp minced thyme

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 large egg (beaten with 1 tbsp of water)


First, make the crust. blend everything in a food processor, starting with the flour, sugar, and salt. Roll out the dough into a 12 inch round, 1/4 inch thick piece of dough. Then ease it into the pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans to keep the crust against the pan. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and let cool.

Make the filling by seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper, cook the chicken until fully cooked and browned. In this case, we used leftover homemade roasted chicken. Then add the chicken stock and boil. Let the chicken cool while you caramelize the carrots, celery, shallots, garlic, and onions in a saucepan with butter and oil. Once cooked, add the chicken to the saucepan. Gradually stir in the milk and reduced chicken stock. Once thickened, stir in the parsley, chives, thyme, vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cool for 30 minutes.

Roll out the remaining half of the dough to make the top crust. Once rolled out, place the filling into the bottom of the pie pan over the base crust. Then place the top of the crust over the pot pie. Brust the crust with the egg wash and cut slits into the top to vent steam while cooking. Bake the potpie for 40 minutes until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool before serving.

Chimichurri Steak Recipe

Want a fun new recipe to spice up steak night? We love this one because it can be used as a sauch for leaner meats or on potatoes. I personally love it and {warning this sounds crazy} I dip popcorn in it the next day as a snack.


Chimichurri Sauce – (Makes about 1 cup of sauce)

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of Fresh Oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of Crush Red Pepper
  • 3 teaspoons of Red Wine Vineger
  • 1/2 of Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup of Parsley
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic


  • This one is VERY simple. Simply put all the ingrediance into a food processor (We use a Vitamix) and pulse. You don’t want the consinsency to be too liquidy, so try to pulse it until you its smooth, but not liquid.


What you need:

  • A Flank, Skirt or Flat Iron Steak works best for Chimicurri


  • Simply Pan sear or Grill the meat. Since you will be putting Chimicurri sauce on it, no need to get fancy with the seasoning. Just Salt and Pepper, thats all you will need. Anything more, and it will be too much.
  • I set the pan to medium-high heat with a splash of olive oil in the pan
  • Since these are thin peices of meat, just a few mimutes on each side. No need to finish in the oven or anything like that.
  • Remember to let the meat rest for about 10 minutes under aluminum foil. This lets the fats find its way back into the meat, and not all over your plate after cutting into it.

When Steak is complete, slice the steak into thin slices and pour chimichurri over the meat. Then viola, you have a fantastic dinner.

We like to pair this with oven roasted potatos and veggies. This night we chose broccolini.


Tips to Sell your House for Top $$$

Currently our area-Dallas and Fort Worth Texas is in a sellers market. This means homes are selling 0-90 days on the market. It is important to note that it does not mean your home will sell no matter what. The homebuying process is an emotional one: not only is it sad to leave your home you have lived in, but showing and selling that home to complete strangers can be stressfull. The longer your house is on the market the more strangers you have to let snoop around your home and the less likely you are to get the top price. To make this process smooth and sell your house as quickly as possible at the top market price follow these steps.


  1. Minimization is Key. See what I did there? I did not call your beloved sports memorabilia collection or 1,000 framed photos of your dog clutter. Because I understand it is not clutter to you, but you want the future buyers to see how big the living room, kitchen cabinets, and closets are. That means move as much stuff out as possible.
  2. De-personalize. This means remove any family photos, diplomas, or other information that makes a buyer think of you living in this house instead of them living in their future home. I am sure your personal photos are beautiful, but you want the buyer focused on your house and not on where you went to college. You also want them to picture themselves in their new home and not think about who currently lives there.
  3. Repair that leaky faucet. We all know those items on your home that you have just lived with over the years. The leaky faucet, the sqeaky steps, the door that wont shut. It may not bother you, but to your future buyer that is one more thing to fix (aka costs!) which means less money they want to offer you for your house.
  4. Repaint. There is nothing like a clean canvas on walls to help a buyer imagine their decorations in their new home. This requires you to take all items off the wall, patch any holes or cracks, and repaint the whole house. We recommend painting something neutral like a soft grey so it does not distract the buyer from your beautiful house.
  5. Get professional Photos. Once you have fixed all of the items you wanted to fix, cleaned, repainted, and minimalized, get professional photos done. Our brokerage requires us to take professional photos for all of our listings, but not all do. You want great photos because in this world the first look of your home is online of the photos. Buyers will nix a home without even seeing it from photos alone so you want to make sure they portray your home as best as possible!

Finally, trust your agent. Sometimes it can be hard to hear that you need to spend money to make repairs on a house you are trying to sell. But trust them. There is a good chance that you will have to come down on the price or pay more of the closing costs to help the buyer with the cost of the repairs. That is assuming they make an offer on your home because major issues could scare them away from the begining.

Homemade Chicken [noodle] Soup

I put the noodle in brackets because we do not use noodles. To clarify, Preston prefers rice and although I LOVE egg noodles (how my Mom would make it) he convinced me that wild rice is healthier and does not get soggy if you freeze it. Therefor, we do not use noodles. Regardless, the saying is true that homemade chicken soup is a cure all. I used to assume it was due to the water and salt content in the soup that it rehydrates you and gives you electrolytes. It wasn’t until I started searching the Paleo Diet and Whole 30 that I realized the bone broth from the chicken has so many nutrients in it and the fresh parsley and onion helps to detoxify your body.

We also have a couple of servings of this soup on hand because it is healthy, easy, and honestly very cheap to make. We make a large portion that we then put into 6-8 individual size glass containers. The glass containers are key because we then freeze them and pop one in the microwave for a quick and easy meal. They say that plastic containers can leach toxins if put into extreme temperatures = freezing and microwave. Literally, I have gone months eating this for lunch before if I didn’t want to pack a lunch and knew I wouldn’t have time to buy lunch at work. I was explaining this process to my sister about how easy and healthy it is and she was baffled at how I was able to transport soup without making a mess. This is why freezing it is so key because even if you have a long commute, it is not able to fully dethaw. I then put it in the refrigerator at the office so it is not an ice cube when I microwave it at lunch.


Chicken Soup Recipe:

What you will need:

  • 4 Carrotts
    • Slice them in about 1/2 inch slices (and give the ends to your dog, Jilly is a carrot addict)
    • We buy “rainbow” or heirloom carrots because they are different colors to brighten the dishes up
  • 4 Ribs of Celery
    • Simply break off four ribs of celery from the stock and slice them into 1/2 in slices
  • 1 Onion
    • Dice the onion (do not give this to your dog, onions and garlic are bad for them)
  • 5 sprigs of Fresh Thyme or about 2 Tablespoons of Dried Thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 of Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter or Ghee (if you are Paleo)
    • Coat the bottom of a large stock pot (we use this one below) with melted butter
      • Copper is a good heat conductor so it gets hot very quickly, yet cools off just as quick once removed from the heat source (aka no more burning the bottom of soups!)
  • 1 Whole Fryer Chicken (about 5-6 pound)
  • 1/2 Cup of Rice



  • Place the chopped carrots, celery and onions in the soup pot and let them saute until the onions get soft, but not carmelized. At this point, add the thyme and bay leaves. Let simmer for about a minute or two.
  • Pour 16 oz of Chicken Broth to the soup (they sell them at Costco so we always have several on hand)
    • For true bone broth you could add water, but we like the rich flavor chicken broth provides
    • Note: we buy unsalted so we can salt to taste once the whole soup is ready
  • Add the whole raw chicken to the broth and let boil. Ensure all parts of the chicken are submerged
    • My sister always thought I was taking about the rotisserie chickens they sell precooked…
  • Once chicken is completed white pull it out and place on a cutting board to let it cool. BE CAREFUL chicken is going to be very hot
  • Once chicken has cooled off (10-15 minutes) pull off the meat from the bones and place it in a bowl. Once chicken is stripped, you can put the meat back into the pot
  • Add 1/2 cups of Rice. We use ancient grain rice because it stays crunchy even after you freeze the soup
  • Season soup with salt. Soup takes a lot more salt that we would like to admit, but considering how many portions it makes, I can understand. Salt to your own taste, but don’t be surprised with how much you use
  • Add a handful of finally chopped fresh Parsley to the soup
  • Turn off the heat to the soup and let it cool. Once soup is at room temperature you can portion it out into containers like these Pyrex glass ones to freeze.shopping

Homemade Chicken & Pesto Pasta

What are you cooking on a Wednesday night? Preston whipped up a homemade pesto sauce! It was so good that I had to share it. Below are some photos to give you an idea of how amazing it was. Disclaimer, the actual noodles were not homemade, but we have made it before-Preston always has to try to make it homemade, but sometimes he decides store bought tastes good enough to save the time making it from scratch.

Forgive me, these are from my awesome iPhone 5. Still rockin the old school phone. I have always wanted to get better at photography and will eventually purchase a “real camera” instead of resorting to iPhone pics. Preston works so quickly that I have to snap them when I can!

To make this recipe you need: fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese, chicken breast, noodles (your choice we switch between linguine and rigatoni) salt to taste. I always recommend pairing it with a glass of wine, but it is not required for the recipe 🙂

Pesto Sauce: 

  • Two tablespoons of Pine Nuts
  • 3 Garlic cloves (we love garlic)
  • 2 cups of basil leaves aka two handfuls
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt


  • 2 servings of Noodles: Linguine or Rigatoni
  • 2 Chicken Breasts

Blend all of the above until smooth. Afterwards boil pasta until “al dente” or to your liking. We honestly make more pasta than a traditional serving, so it is personal. A traditional serving of long pasta like linguine and spaghetti is supposed to be the size of a quarter when bunched up in your hand (or 2 ounces).

After blending the pesto and while pasta is boiling start cooking the chicken. Preston recommends to salt and pepper the chicken and place olive oil in the pan before cooking. He wanted limited seasoning to have the flavor come through in the pesto instead. A trick in cooking chicken is once it is white halfway through the chicken breast, it is time to flip it over! Preston diced the chicken and let it cool on a cutting board while he tossed the cooking pasta in the pesto sauce. He then added the diced chicken to the pesto coated pasta in the pan before seperating it into each serving.

Once on the plate, he addes another sprinkle of pine of pinenuts and more parmesean as a garnish. Voila! Bon appetite.


Pantry Must Haves

Remember that feeling when you move into a new place and realize you have nothing in your fridge? Not even staples like salt, pepper, butter, eggs. I remember when I first moved into my own apartment by myself I realized I didn’t have ketchup. I am not a huge ketchup user, but I had a friend in town and had cooked some type of frozen breakfast bites (shows my cooking skills) that required ketchup and it was never the same. Here on out, I always make sure to buy the “staples” everytime we move.

Now that I am lucky enough to live with a selfproclaimed chef, our list of “staples” has graduated from salt and ketchup. To be honest, Preston is sitting here cringing that I was making frozen breakfast bites for a house guest. We recommend having these on hand if you are learning to cook, trying new recipes, hosting a dinner party, or last minute meal prep for the family. I also use several of these ingredients for “green cleaning.” Below are the Preston approved Pantry Must Haves to always keep on hand that can be used for multiple recipes that we will share:


  1. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Lemons and Limes
  4. Butter (or ghee if you are palio)
  5. Chicken Stock
  6. Carrots
  7. Celery
  8. Brussel Sprouts
  9. Lettuce (and or spinach). We love living lettuce because it lasts forever!
  10. Garlic
  11. Onions
  12. Chicken (we recommend buying a whole chicken from the butcher-more details coming soon)
  13. Seasoning Spice. One of our go to spices is Tony Chachere’s
  14. Dijon Mustard
  15. Balsamic Vinegar
  16. Coconut Milk
  17. Rice. Our favorite is Basmati
  18. Topo Chico (or any other sparkeling water!)
  19. Beer and or wine (we love French wine as Preston is French!)

We use these ingredients to make cocktails (no I do not mean just pouring yourself a glass of wine!), soups, salads, entrees, and cleaning supplies!