2018: A Year in Review

This year was… tough. But also exciting? Mostly tough though.

To recap:

We started out the year at BN, because honestly the half year before (since I bought him in June) had been about getting to know him, getting to trust him (since he’s such a spooky yellow moose) and then finally growing our skills.

I realize I didn’t post this on its own page, but I did apparently capture my 2018 goals in a post, and it’s worth revisiting them here.

The Horse

Get his weight up.
Done, well, for the most part. A chat with the vet today decided it would be better to get even more weight on him. I figured out what it takes to keep a gigantic worrywort of a horse in decent weight, and the key is: a shit ton of food. Alfalfa hay, alfalfa pellets, boost, rice bran… it’s obscene.

Gain confidence cross country.
Our last trip across the country, I really felt this, and was thrilled. He was hunting fences. He was game, and forward, and I actually had to think about settling him rather than taking the temptation to let him rip and go more forward. It was a great feeling, and I hope that despite his time off it won’t take him long to get back there.

March 2018 BN

Go penalty free at a recognized show.
Well, not yet. We only had 2 recognized shows, but both were not clear in the SJ phase. More work to do there!

Move up to Novice.
Done and dusted this one!

Ride a First Level test
Yeah, this didn’t happen because of us ended our season in May. Hoping to move this to 2019!!

The Photography

Book 1 Gold Session/month from March – November
I’m going to mark this as a success, having done a minimum of the equivalent of a Gold session each month except for September (and I was gone to WEG and Paris that month- can’t shoot if I’m not here!)

Implement a referral program.
Eh, sort of but didn’t put much effort into getting it off the ground.

This was such a fun shoot!

Plan at least one out-of-state photog trip.
Another sort of success. I shot Bette and Chimi while at WEG, and in the process of booking a trip to Welly world right now!

Save up for the Holy Grail of lenses
Done! Jury’s out on whether or not she’s a lemon though. Unfortunately.

Start shooting with more precision.
I haven’t gotten around to back-button focusing yet, but am definitely making the most of all those focus points on the D750. Give myself a B- on this one!

The Blog

Commit to 3 posts each week
Bahahahaha Obviously this didn’t happen. It’s hard to come up with content when months of your horse’s year were just chilling in the field.

Try and get back in the groove of reading everyone’s blogs.
Also a big nope. Work really took off this year, and I pretty much had zero brain cells left for thinking about other people’s blogs. I did what I could, and hope to get back to it in 2019!

Lots of fails/mixed successes in this category. But hey, we went to Paris and dressed up!

Write some posts for The Plaid Horse!
Done! Didn’t write all the posts on the docket, but these came out:

Host my first giveaway!
This was also done! What a super way to collaborate with other awesome Horsey brands! I hope the winners still enjoy their spoils 😀


Overall, this year wasn’t perfect, though I guess what year is? I hope 2019 will be a lot more successful. Goals in a post to come!

Let’s Discuss: Why blog?

On May 1st, 2013, I decided to really try my hand at this blogging thing- so today is this blog’s 4th anniversary!

When I started blogging, it was for the purpose of capturing both my journey with Foster and chronicling the process of flipping our foreclosure home as we lived in it. And even when the house sold, and Foster was retired, I couldn’t give up the hobby of writing this blog. Through it I have met some really wonderful people and grown to lean on and love the blogging community. I also have more than 600 memories and conversations, good, bad, embarrassing, and everything in between, that I can pull up at whim. And I really love sharing stories with you all and hearing your advice, or discussing your opinions, or connecting with you through even a simple ‘like’.

It’s been a great 4 years, and I can’t wait to see how this blog continues to evolve in the future! Thank you to readers, past, present, and future, for making this part of my life so worthy!

Do you blog? What lead you to blog, and how has your journey with blogging changed your life? 


Assessing 2016 Goals

2016 was a roller coaster year for us. In a lot of ways it signifies the closing of several long chapters, and the starting of new stories. In April we sold our house of 3 years, and in May my beloved Foster became someone else’s to love. But we also purchased our dream home, and in September I went crazy bought myself a gangly 4 year old warmblood sight-unseen. So with that in mind, let’s look at my original intentions for the year.

2016 Goals

The Horse:

  1. Find the perfect situation for Foster. Done, and unintentionally done again.
  2. Keep riding, even if catch riding Thank you Darcy and Riley for keeping me in the saddle
  3. Participate in at least one dressage clinic Nope!
Darcy dressaging

Darcy dressaging

The House:

  1. Paint upstairs – hallway, study, State room
  2. Wrap up giant handyman to-do list covering all sorts of small sins
  3. Declutter in the extreme….
  4. In order to put the house on the market!

This was a wrap!! 15 showings and a full-price offer within 24 hours on the market!

House on a Hill 1.0 Before and After

House on a Hill 1.0 Before and After

The Rest:

  1. Health
    • Eat less red meat  Thanks to the husband’s willpower
    • Make a dedicated effort to consider myself an athlete as a rider and take responsibility for staying in decent shape Yes, until September
  2. Concentrate on photography and expanding my range of work
    • Complete 10-15 sessions this spring – my fingers are itching for that shutter button! 11 shoots this year total- still looking for more!
    • First newborn session! Didn’t happen- but first maternity session did!
  3. Stay positive and keep calamities in perspective Found some balance in my life and a new positive attitude
  4. Focus on savings Saved those pennies and then lost them buying a horse!


Final Thoughts
I think 2016 will forever stand out in my mind as a bittersweet year. Bitter in the loss of Foster as my eventing and everyday partner, but sweet in the realization of selling the house- the culmination of 3 years of hard work and literal blood, tears, and lots and lots of sweat. I will say that I’m a happier person now than I was at this time a year ago, and I’m thankful for all that went into that as well.

Let’s Discuss: 2016 in Review

2016 has been a totally weird year. Somehow a little oddity has creeped into every corner of the universe, whether that mean clowns on the street, the Cubs winning the World Series, and please (no really, please) let’s not even mention the election.

House on a Hill 2.0

House on a Hill 2.0

It’s been a strange year here at the House on a Hill as well. Or at least an eventful one. The events that will define this year are ones that readers are familiar with. That is, the retirement of my beloved Fosterpants, selling the house on a hill 1.0 for a snazzier, more permanent version, and of course, the epic horse search that resulted in Smitty.

Photo by Studio in the Stable

Photo by Studio in the Stable


In a lot of ways it’s been exciting, in others, definitely bittersweet. But I’m thankful for the changes, because it means growth and hopefully a little bit of wisdom too.

What are the events that defined your 2016? How do you see 2017 being different from this year?

House on a Hill 2.0: Painting Before and After

Now that the new house is finally finished being painted, I feel that I can share with y’all some images of the new digs.  You may remember my mentioning that the former owner’s taste and my own did not exactly align, and I shared the transformation of the pink room after I wielded my own paint brush one day:


SW Gauntlet Gray

The rest of the house, though in varying shades of either bright (and I mean bright) pastel or beige is now also converted. The majority of the house is painted in SW Repose Gray, a nice clean light gray that highlights the natural light that compliments many of the rooms. Otherwise I will note the colors I chose, just in case anyone out there is interested.


New color: SW Contented

Many of the rooms look sparse at the moment, and that’s because I still haven’t gotten around to putting up much of the artwork and decor. That will come later.


SW Repose Gray

In the kitchen and living room, we also completed 2 other big projects. One of the caveats to buying this home was the black granite, and specifically, the tiered kitchen island. My stubby 5’4″ frame could hardly see over the unusually tall granite tier, making conversation with any living room occupants almost impossible and making being in the kitchen more like operating in a dark black cave. So within days of moving in, we knocked the tier out and replaced the granite on the island with a mostly-white granite that was all at counter height. I’ll post more of the process later.



We also wanted to ditch the living room carpet, which was stained and battered and disrupted the flow of the house. It took some time hunting down the exact type of wood being used, but this is another project that I feel was well worth it.


For a lot of the house, I tried various shades of blue to bring in a modern and fresh feeling. While I knew I wanted blue in both bathrooms, I really hemmed and hawed over the dining room. It was the husband who suggested blue for the dining room, and after putting in this blue gray variant, I must say I am really please with the results. Eventually I will get some curtains that tie in with the color and of course eventually find a table to occupy the space.



SW Storm Cloud


SW Hale Navy

Another fun one was the upstairs guest bath. Already a bit confusing because of the Jack and Jill doors, interior closet and secondary (tertiary?) inner door that separates the shower from the sink room, the former owners also made the bathroom duo-toned- it was both yellow and pink. I was more than glad to unify the space with one color, and the four doors- well, for now they stay.


BM Palladian Blue

Now that the house finally feels a bit more like ours, I’m really enjoying the space. There’s a few more small projects to do here and there, but overall we’re glad to have put our stamp on the House on a Hill 2.0.






The House: The Transformation Starts

Painters are here starting today at the House on a Hill 2.0, and I can’t tell you how excited I am. Well I could, but you’d probably think the paint fumes had gone to my head.

The color scheme that existed in this house is… let’s just say not my taste. The entire house is shades of beige, with the exception of 3 kids rooms upstairs, all varying stages of a so-cute-and-bright-I-want-to-tear-my-eyeballs-out palette. The pink bedroom was the least offensive of the three.

Before: Bubblegum Pink

Before: Bubblegum Pink

Since patience is only sometimes a virtue of mine, and knowing that we’d have guests in this room in a matter of weeks, I took a paint brush matters into my own hands.

After: Gauntlet Gray

After: Gauntlet Gray

It probably feels a little stark at the moment, as I haven’t yet got art onto the walls or found curtains long enough for the high ceilings, but it’s progress.

When the painters are done, get ready for a full house before and after post! Happy Friday, y’all!

The House: An Unexpected Property Discovery

I realize I haven’t posted much about the new house; in truth, I’m loathe to take any pictures while it’s still a kaleidoscope of paint swatches, spackling, and beige (the original owners apparently had a thing for beige).

We did have some news though about the house, or really, the land, that we owned now though. Because I couldn’t take a photo of the situation, I thought I would share it vlog style.

Now the question is- what the hell do we do with this “new” strip of land? (Besides attempt to give it away). Install a cement animal zoo? Cornhole tournament? Inflatable Christmas decorations? Ideas welcome!

Update: Found this on the county website- apparently we own this.


Spring Goal Check In

Well, horse shopping has officially begun in earnest and since it feels like the start of something new, let’s take a look at the goals I set for 2016!

fb_DSC0865The Horse:

  1. Find the perfect situation for Foster.   Blessings abound. May 1 I handed Foster over to a lovely woman who I know will take good care of him and allow me to visit Fosterpants!
  2. Keep riding, even if catch riding
  3. Participate in at least one dressage clinic



The House:

  1. Paint upstairs – hallway, study, State room
  2. Wrap up giant handyman to-do list covering all sorts of small sins
  3. Declutter in the extreme….
  4. In order to put the house on the market!   Done, done, and done! House sold and house on a hill 2.0 purchased!


The Rest:

  1. Health
    • Eat less red meat The husband is surprisingly keeping me on track with this one!
    • Make a dedicated effort to consider myself an athlete as a rider and take responsibility for staying in decent shape
  2. Concentrate on photography and expanding my range of work
    • Complete 10-15 sessions this spring – my fingers are itching for that shutter button!
    • First newborn session!
  3. Stay positive and keep calamities in perspective
  4. Focus on savings Saved enough pennies to be able to afford a new pony- I call that goal accomplished!

Let’s Discuss: Moving

Moving homes is an exciting, exhausting, emotional process. You look forward to it, because it means forward momentum in your life, but you dread it, because of the growing pains.

It’s funny how moving can show you new things about yourself. It’s an experience that exposes patterns and how you are a different person than you might have been before.

The things that stay the same from the House on a Hill 1.0 to this 2.0 version tend to be those associated with use. The toothpaste goes in the top drawer of the bathroom because it always has, the non-stemmed wine glasses go on the bottom shelf of the upper cabinets because that’s where they belong. But then what about the things that aren’t just functional? Why is it that even in this new and unfamiliar space, I get the left sink and he the right? If we wanted to switch things up, this would be a great time, but without discussion we simply assume the familiar.

Then there’s the little things that make the familiar seem odd. The way the light comes in in the morning is still extremely disorienting, even in my own bed. The pause of the lights before they turn on thanks to some special efficiency bulbs. Eventually I’m sure these will become the familiar to me, but for now it’s somewhat unsettling.

But there’s other changes that I look forward to. Paint colors. Not having to pull the weeds out of the patio. Having enough space for lots of friends or family around the table. These are the things, while somewhat trivial, that make the process worth while. That’s the exciting part- to see what eventually becomes the familiar and allows us growth.

When you move, what are the things that you keep the same? What is most unsettling about the process? What are some of the things about a new place that you struggle with or find most strange?

Let’s Discuss: The Dream House

Let’s switch it up for a change and talk houses!

Obviously the husband and I recently went house-shopping, and as people do, we had our list of must-have’s and nice-to-have’s:

Must Have’s:

  • 3 or more bedrooms (master + at least one guest room + potential study)
  • open layout – particularly between kitchen and living room
  • .3 acres or more
    • …so that we can have backyard privacy (we love grilling and hanging out outdoors- much more fun when you’re not feeling on display!)
  • Be within 30 minutes drive from both work places and barn
    • Because I despise driving long commutes, the less the better


  • A large dining room
    • So that hopefully I could inherit one of 3 large family tables (random, I know)
  • Hardwood floors
    • All the easier to clean the pet hair!
  • Built-ins in living room
    • Because books. And horse photos.

It’s a fairly short list, and of course we had our own preferences besides these, but with a fast moving real estate market these items were hard to find! Luckily the new house checks all of these off and more!

House on a Hill 2.0

Introducing the House on a Hill 2.0

What’s on your list for your dream house?