Office/Nursery Progress

We’ve got LESS than a month before we welcome this new little one into our world. There’s a TON we have left to do, not gonna lie. I’m working on sub plans for my maternity leave and generally trying to get a jump on things at work while juggling the usual tasks, trying to get ahead of any writing work I’d like to accomplish pre-baby, and, well, generally getting ready for the baby — name picking, analyzing what we may still need, etc.

But, one area that we’re trying the “slow and steady wins the race” motto out is our office/nursery; our “offisery,” if you will. It doesn’t need to be done immediately since the baby will be in our room with us for the first month or two (or more), but we realize that we won’t have the time to do it after the little one arrives. Plus, ticking things off of our “to do” list is always enjoyable.

So, most nights, we’ve been doing something *small* in the space. We started with a buttload of books, which we packed up except for the ones we always like to have available. (I’m talking about YOU, two copies of “Little Women”…you!) So, after finally emptying an entire 6-foot-tall bookshelf, we dragged that sucker down to the basement. Let’s call it additional storage, although we all know the cats prefer the term “jungle gym.”

Then, after vacuuming up a lifetime’s worth of dust, it was time to assemble our version of a changing table. As you may (or may not) remember, we repainted a free dresser to use for Hadman’s changing area when he was a baby. This time, we’re using one of the more heavy duty “cube storage” units from Target. It’s definitely thicker than the usual flimsy ones, so I feel more comfortable using this to support the little one. We also grabbed some feet to attach in case the height wouldn’t work and, of course, a few of the nicer cube boxes to up the fanciness quotient. If cube storage could be called “fancy.”

So, what’s left? Well, we already moved my desk out and the crib in, tossed down a big, fluffy, natural wool rug that I got from Rugs USA (seriously, cheapest high-quality rugs ever), and purged/boxed up tons of stuff we don’t need access to. Here’s where we’re left:

– Obviously, um, declutter more. Lots of random pieces hanging around. And an extra chair. We’re still discussing the fate of the cat tree (yes, that ratty, scratched-up thing that my husband seems as attached to as any of the cats) and whether or not he can foresake the ugly office chair for a comfy, fits-an-office-AND-nursery-decor alternative. And, yes, we’ll be saying “see you in the next house!” to much of the comic art on the walls, which Dave’s been super good about. I just want to leave him with SOMETHING of his own…that doesn’t involve violent crime-fighting. Because, y’know, babies.

– Switch out some new wall art (which will involve some touch-up painting, ugh). I’m thinking of grabbing some canvases and a gold paint pen to do some DIY art, and I already picked up a bunch of swatches that I’ve ironed and chopped into fabric tassels for a wall hanging. But, yeah. Art.

– Floating shelves to the rescue. This is one of those “if we have the time/energy” things, but the floating shelves in Hadley’s room and our bathroom (seriously, how have I never showed you guys a final reveal for that space?!) are amazing, so we may do something similar above the changing area in this room. Plus, it’ll give us some more options for combining decor styles and a little extra storage. But, again, it’s not a “must-have” right now.

– Bring in the baby stuff! (sing to the Muppet Show theme song) “It’s time to strip the diapers, it’s time to clean the clothes!” So, I’ll be utilizing under-crib storage, which I’m in love with, for the “next sizes”, but otherwise keeping the newborn and 0-3 stuff at-hand as best as possible.

What do you guys think? I know we’re fighting an uphill battle with the color, ugly as heck rug, and, well, general officity (can that be a word? It should be) of it all, but this is FAR better than we were even a month ago. 🙂

Nursery Inspiration

We live in this tiny little sphere of the universe called Limbo. It’s a slightly unsettled, anxious place where the daily norm is that of the unknown. After you live there awhile, you find yourself adjusting to the feelings, and actually find calm in preparing for all the various “what if” scenarios that might unfold.

In other words, still no news on the house hunting front. There are other balls being juggled, too, that we’re figuring out, but that’s one of the biggest. So, with each week blowing by, closer and closer to the baby’s arrival in November, we’re pushing forward with any and all possibilities: in this case, turning our office into an office-slash-nursery (I kid not).

I’m hoping that whatever general scheme we go with for the space will fit swimmingly into a new place, should one pop up, as well.

See? Prepare for the future, in whatever possible incarnation it may be. 😉

That said, these are the two different mood boards I whipped up to decide between. We’re fighting a losing battle with an outdated, cheap diamond-patterned brown and tan carpet (which simply isn’t worth replacing with the crappy paint splatters someone left underneath) and, well, the fact that the place is also A (not large) OFFICE. Dave may or may not allow me to replace his fur-covered black office chair. (Beardslee sleeps on it during the day…and night…and forces Dave to abandon desk when he so pleases to use the damn thing. It’s hilariously sad to view.) But, dude, Mama needs a nursing spot, so we’ll see who wins this one. Admittedly, I used our bed the first time around which wasn’t always comfortable.

We also painted the walls when we first moved in and the color is neutral enough to help sell the house…even if it is a tad pink-ish for my taste. (It’s tan…but with a fleshy undertone, if that makes sense.) The background on these boards indicates a facsimile of the color. So, nope, we’re not painting!

So, check these out and weigh in down below (comments, please)! I’m not saying which has been floating in my head far more…so your results may have me in tears. Or not. I’m not THAT hormonal. Oh, and the inspiration colors will be accent colors that will work their way in as bedding, art, and possibly a painted furniture piece or something.

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I don’t want to give either a “theme” because, well, then it turns into a whole thing. Like collecting. If you say you like one thing, the flood of “I know you like owls!” gifts begin…and continue 10 years past when you gave up on the things. So, no. But you can still guess the vibe I’m going for, right?

I’m loving the golden brass lately. If you told me I’d be into it 5 years ago, I’d have smacked you…or at least raised a cynical eyebrow. But, anyhoo, mixing it with the walnut tones we already have going on (with the crib, desk, and one bookcase…we have three, sigh) and neutrals gives some glam and texture to the space. Toss that with a deep green and fuhgetaboutit.

And, speaking of texture: can you say “DIY pouf”? Because that’s all my itchy Pinterest finger can peruse. Can’t wait to hit up Goodwill to see what sweaters they have in store. Mwahaha.

As far as art, we don’t have a TON of space, and I’d like the whole room to just accept its bipolarity and enjoy the ride – so, if there’s an inspirational wall hanging, it must inspire child and office-user alike. Throw in a vintage map and it screams “Oh, the places you’ll go!” as much as it does “this is a rad office, where’s the scotch?”

Mmm. Booze. I miss booze.

Can you tell I kinda want that Target chair? I’m still searching for something with a small footprint that’s upholstered on wheels that can be used as an office chair OR a spot to comfortably nurse, so this is just a thought for now. Hoooooly crap, am I picky? But, clearly arrows are non-negotiable. And tassel garland. Which I fully plan to make. I guess I have a thing about DIY art in a kid’s room. Maybe I need some in our room while we’re at it.

Notice the fluffy white rug, too? It’d be nice to have a landing pad on the floor and soften up the place. Plus, major points for detracting from the diamond monstrosity currently enveloping the space. I truly think that a well-placed layer like this will make the carpet read more like a neutral. #fingerscrossed

In this board, I clearly am all about the mint accents. Sure, a bit of peachy coral helps, but there’s just something about mint + brass in a neutral room lately. Yum.

So, here’s what it’s your turn! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments (and maybe even a vote or two for which is your fave). As usual, all the stuff shown depends on availability and whether I find (or make) something a million times cooler, but they give you the general vibe I’m going for.

Please and thanks for any thoughts!

Oh, and nope. We’re not finding out the baby’s gender in advance. Happy picking! 😉

Welcome Back, Red

In the early days of my blog, I had a lot of red decor in my house — and I HATED it. So, over the years I neutralized things with a white slipcover, a switch-out of pillows/curtains, and (the best part) a freshly painted no-longer-crimson dining room. I had a huge bias against anything and everything red.

But, now it’s Christmastime again, and I decided to pull out some candy cane colors…mixed with some traditional neutral, vintage and woodsy items, of course. It’s how I do.

I’m a great believer in picking a theme every year. It makes it way easier when I’m looking at the bins of decorations, deciding which to use (can’t possibly use them all in our tiny house). It also helps me flex my creative juices, which I always find fun. I even found a few minutes to string some white and red pom-poms onto some red threat for a homemade garland (to add to a banner that I made in the fall and totally forgot to share with you…so let’s pretend that’s new, too, mkay?).

One of my favorite things is that everything except for that new garland (which was super cheap; under $5 with plenty of materials leftover) were free from our stash. I’ve had a stack of vintage Christmas cards that I bought in VT years ago that my husband loves as much as I do, so I love that I was finally able to pull them out and find a purpose for them. With all of the old-school movies were tend to pull out this time of year (okay, and throughout the year), it’s very “us” to use these, with messages and images that harken back to those lovely, simpler times. 

I’ve added a thing here or there since these crappy cell phone pictures were taken, like building up the greens more (had to trim the tree) and I realized that the chunky trim above our built-ins is PERFECT for displaying Christmas cards, like a free ledge shelf.

So, here’s a little view of our Christmas cheer this year.

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Hard to see, but here’s some detail…

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The tree is super simple this year (it’s a Toddler + Cat Tree). Looking through the pictures, I realize how many are personal touches. I grabbed some red books from our upstairs shelves and mixed them with my winter magazine collection. The beautiful, rustic blue painting in the dining room is one Dave did in high school (I know, right?!). We mixed antiques and chalkboards (did a quick reindeer sketch on my $1 board and a surprisingly simple drawing of Nest of Posies’ printable) and some of my favorite all-season accessories (like mercury glass candle holders and switching out vase fillers).

I like to think this mix makes the house feel fun and festive but in a cozy, hint-of-the-modern way. Oh, and I only decorate those few spaces, usually. (No bathroom or even kitchen decor here this year.) What about you guys? Do you decorate the same way every year? Do you try new things or find comfort in the tradition of your favorite pieces? How does your place look this year?

And I totally know I don’t have a tree topper. I’ll actually be talking about that later this week. 

4 Simple Fall Decor Ideas

I recently shared a teensy decor switcheroo to help autumn-ify the living room a bit. Since I finally had a nice day to take pictures, I thought I’d share a handful of the other super simple add-ins I used for this year’s fall decorating.

I’m not a big “spiders and skeletons” person. I’ve seen some awesome spookifications going on in the blogosphere, but this year I’m keeping it simple, stupid. Er. You’re not stupid. I’m keeping it stupid simple. Better? 🙂

While giving you guys a quick tour of our living room/dining room (I pretty much decorated the entry way from the living room into the dining room, so it hits the main living areas), I’ll give a few SUPER simple tips on bringing a little autumn inside.

This year, I took my hints from nature. The first way? Bringing in some nature, of course! See those twigs adorned with dried leaves? Free, from our backyard. Instant pops of rust, orange and yellow. You’ll also notice gourds and mini pumpkins placed throughout, along with some individual leaves strewn strategically.  

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(Pay no attention to the hideous rug.)

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This pretty lady has hung in this spot for years. I just can’t bring myself to switch her up. Her neutral colors and gorgeous frame, rocking sense of style, and clear adoration for books has made her a kindred spirit. So, she stays. Plus, she really fits any season or holiday, doesn’t she? I say yes.

That said, a tip here is to use stuff you LOVE. What else do we love? Stacks of books and magazines. I also love sneaking in an old script. 😉 

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Going hand-in-hand with my girlfriend up there and bringing in some nature, I love using neutrals and various textures. Hence the super easy-to-make twine and linen bunting (seriously, F-R-E-E), small dollar store wreath on the window, bundle of sticks on the sidebar, and various rattan balls (I got them on clearance at Pier 1 awhile back, wish I remembered how much they were…maybe $2 each? And you know I’ll use the crap out of them). And my favorite thing during fall is white pumpkins.

Plus, what’s more fun than buntings? I think nothing. When I first hung them, Hadley assumed every day was now his birthday.

Oh, yeah. More nature. A huge vase filled with apples. Had to keep it simple since the little guy uses the dining room table for tons of pretend play. 

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If you’re having a hard time freshening up your surroundings (believe me, I’m with ya), try the new-ish chalkboard trend. Think it’s too hard to find one? Too expensive? Nope. The one we have in the living room was Dave’s as a kid (free) and this small one (that reminds me of an old school tablet, which I’m searching for while antiquing) was a dollar store find. Yup, it was a BUCK. Can you believe that?!

And don’t worry about your artwork. You get graded on effort, not perfection. 😉 My favorite part of this trend is how interchangeable it is. Come Thanksgiving, this witch’s hat will probably be a turkey or a Pilgrim’s hat; come Christmas, who knows? Stocking? Elf? A snowflake? Endless options, really.

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On a final irrelevant note, we may not have a black cat, but we’ve got a drama queen king gray one. He’s pretty intense. Does that count?

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It just occurred to me that all these tips could also be eco-decor tips, too. Awesome!


It’s no secret that I enjoy home decor stuff. While I love simplifying, parenting, eco-tip, and humorous personal blogs (I’m talking about you, Roo and Christine), the DIY and home decor ones clog my daily feed.

Ha. That sounds like a personal problem. Pshaaaahaaaa! Ha! Ha.

Ahem. Anyhoo. I’m pretty sure I got the bug from my mom. While we don’t really match in taste (she’s more country traditional, although she’s veering into the simple transitional realm lately — love it), I’m more into straight, modern lines and eclectic mixes of old and new (and, yes, transitional, too). But, her general enjoyment of freshening up her spaces and buying a few new pieces here and there (not to mention a great fondness for antiques), I totally get.

Being on a budget and being of the opinion that the Earth needs looking after, I’ve had issues here and there considering my purchases and their environmental impact. We can’t all afford to look for a sustainably harvested chair with organic linen upholstery when shopping. It’s a big enough purchase as it is, right?

But, there are plenty of small ways to surround ourselves with beauty inside our dwellings with friendly consideration for the beauty outside. See if you’re already doing any of these…

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Thrift and claw your way. Okay, I honestly use a lot of excuses when it comes to thrifting. We don’t have the room to buy a lot of furniture (which would need to be stored until I could refinish or upholster, then use it). We only have two thrift shops that mostly stock broken Target furniture (which is what we use for our TV console) and too-traditional stuff. I also don’t find a lot of time to visit them. 

But, when I need an emotional lift or creative boost, I stop by on a whim. The Goodwill store is literally a minute drive (I drive ‘cuz ya never know when you need to haul a big piece), and the Sally Ann’s (or Salvation Army for those not in the know) is two towns over. I find the best accessories and frames (keep an open mind; the art or filler pictures usually suck, but a frame for 50 cents? Get out!) at Goodwill. Sometimes you can even find a brand new blanket, curtains, or pillows here. Yes, seriously, unused. I used a mix of frames from Goodwill for our nursery’s wall collage.

Our Sally Ann’s is best for furniture. I don’t find the mod pieces I wish I could get, but there are super cheap, rehab-able stuff, like this bench (which I’m thinking of rehabbing again) and this chair I love for a bit of the unexpected.

Side note: I also shop these stores for my theater costumes. Our theater has a huge attic of clothes but somehow I hardly seem to find what I need. There are only so many ballgown roles, y’know? So, this is the best costume selection for the price. Same goes for DIY Halloween costumes!

Craigslist is a great alternative. Again, since our area is stuck in the land of country traditional, there aren’t always great finds to be had. But, it’s nice to check and see what’s out there. I’m not giving up hope that I’ll find some awesome pieces one of these days. And, in case you don’t notice a trend here, one of the eco-friendliest ways to furnish and decorate your space is to reuse items that might otherwise end up in the landfill.

Don’t scoff at hand-me-downs. If they’re in your style realm, or you think you could transform the piece into something you might love, go ahead and kindly accept the offers from friends or relatives. I know my stepfather has offered us many items (he has worked for tons of sweet elderly folks who don’t need their stuff anymore) for F-R-E-E! It’s how we got Hadman’s awesome dresser, which we painted a cheery yellow and changed out the hardware for something more modern…and, come to think of it, all of our dressers are current hand-me-downs. Not only is this cheaper, it keeps these pieces from ending up in a junk pile.

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of the piece, itself, don’t write it off. Dave brought his old bachelor-ish blue couch, which I’m still not in love with, but adding an inexpensive white slipcover gave me the look I craved without having to drop a buttload of money into a brand new piece of furniture.

Find a piece of history. What’s better than giving new life to an antique? Some of our favorite items were picked up at antique shops. Rustic tables, awesome accessories, cool kitschy kitchen stuff — you never know what surprise you’ll stumble over.

Our all-time favorite antique is our dining room sideboard (you can see it on display in this post). We found it while antiquing on our honeymoon in Vermont. Not only was it cheaper than any new versions we had found, it was full of art deco character and history. Oh, and that $#&! is solid. Way better than press board. Blech.

The best thing about antiques is that they fit so many tastes. If you’re into mission-style stuff, there’s an antique for that. If you’re into mod, there’s an antique for that. If you’re into quirky, there’s definitely an antique for that. If you’re into romantic…well, you get the point. Antiques got your back.

Know whatchya like. Take quizzes and visit Pinterest, Houzz, and blogs to determine what your style is. I take outdated magazines that would otherwise end up in the trash (and that teachers or art classes overlooked) home from school; my faves are Country Living, Good Housekeeping, and Real Simple (which I, admittedly, buy), and my mom passes us This Old House from time to time.

I love that the mags get a second life, sometimes even living IN my decor, as well as helping me find what I love. The inspiration helps me think outside of my comfort zone as well as determine what fads are for me, might be a long-term thing I can get lots of mileage from, and what would just make me buy new crap which would end up being discarded sooner than later. I’m still 50/50 on chevron.

Knowing your style definitely helps you but less crap and only what you know can find a home with you for the long haul.

When buying new, try to be cognizant. Sure, not every item you fall for will be eco-friendly, and that’s okay, but the sustainable seal of approval is becoming more and more mainstream. After coming to know my style, I’ve stumbled upon some stores (mostly online) that accompany my tastes. And, what do ya know? Some of my faves happen to have some sustainable options!

I sign up to find out when sales are popping up and always keep in mind what my needs are. Just because something awesome is for sale doesn’t mean I jump at it. Ain’t nobody got time money for that.

For example, lately I’m on a hunt for rugs. Yes, plural. I know what I’m willing to spend, so when I get an email that, say, West Elm (which has a good mix of eco-friendly products), I check out the site. I also keep an eye on discount stores and remember to look at eco-friendly materials (generally wool/cotton/hemp/jute vs. poly-something-or-other).

What matters most to you? A big purchase like a fridge or bed might be more important for you to find to be Energy Star approved or organic; or not. Maybe you’d rather have all-organic sheets instead. Or eco-friendly pots and pans.

Since none of us is a Rockefeller (right? You’re not a Rockefeller?), it’s unrealistic to buy all eco products all the time. Just figure out what matters most to you, and you’ll be doing just fine. It’s not a competition, after all. Don’t stress.

Bring the outside in. Not only is it beautiful, but bringing nature into your surroundings is super zen. Rocks around candles on a plate, geodes as paperweights, plants to clean the air, flowers to add some color and texture, water features to provide a calming white noise; nothing’s off limits. Just think about what makes you happy and hook yourself up. I know I’m into the succulent trend right now, actually (although who else but moi can kill frickin’ succulents? Seriously).

If you have pets, just check into what greenery is safe for animals. Because…y’know…they like to nibble. Mine do.

If all else fails, DIY it. I haven’t got a lot of experience in building things from scratch, but I dipped my toe in with this desk. It’s not perfect, but it works for us, and was way cheaper (and more creative) than a real parsons table. 

My best suggestion for you is to check online for plans if you want to undertake this type of endeavor. Start with something simple but that you truly want around your house. My favorite site to search is Ana White, in case you’ve lived under an Internet rock. Apparently she has a new gig on HGTV, too (speaking of living under a no-cable-induced rock). Can’t wait to catch some eppies online.

And keep an eye out for sustainably farmed or reclaimed lumber, and low- or no-VOC paints and stains to keep the off-gassing to a minimum. ‘Cuz off-gassing sounds gross enough as it is without actually dealing with a gas bomb in your living room.

There are also a bunch of tutorials out there for inexpensive ways to decorate your house. If you totally adore a how-to craft project or a pillow tutorial, go for it! Use whatever materials speak to you, and add your own pride into a job well done that you love seeing everyday.

Do you think about what you fill your house with and where it comes from? What’s your decor style? Any tips you’d like to add? 

Oh, and that graphic? Not my house. Just an awesome royalty-free pic of a space I admire, just so ya know. 😉

The Old Art Switcheroo

Last you saw our bathroom, it was darn near finished except for the tub surround. Needless to say, that’s still not done. The shared roofline angle poses an extreme challenge, so I’m calling the room finished — with that very large asterisk.

But, something else has been nagging at me every time I’ve entered the room. It’s the first thing we see, and I made it myself. You’d think I’d like the thing, but nope.

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Vertical. Horizontal. All bad.

I blame my beloved shower curtain. It’s damn near impossible to match.

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I added some deeper orange awhile back to try to get the art to work, but, try as it might, the little painting that could…couldn’t.

It’s been a year since I created this little beauty, so it’s been staring at us taunting us for awhile. I’ve been hunting for ideas for just as long. Vintage botanical print? Framed scrapbook paper? Cheeky phrase or graphic? Buy, print, or DIY? 

I searched online for every variation of my ideas. Nothing worked.

Then, while Dave was sitting in the car with a napping Hadley and I was in Target running an errand in the frame section, I found myself perusing the wall art. Most of the time, regardless of the store, I run into art that doesn’t suit our taste for one reason or another, but I tend to look, anyway.

On this particular day, I looked quickly, assuming there’d be nothing. Then I saw these two, and skeptically sent a picture to Dave to see which he liked.

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Initially, I liked the one on the left, but in person it’s a bit busy. I wasn’t sold yet, but the more I described them, the more I liked the juxtaposition of the large graphic cochlear shell against the faded map and linen lining on the right. Plus, the teal blue looked like it just *might* coordinate, if not match, the curtain.

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I think it does. It’s the same tone family as the lighter blues and even plays well with the cornflower blue (looks navy, but it’s not). It all goes to show you that you needn’t have a matchy-matchy room to have a nicely put together one. And, sometimes you can’t tell until you bring a piece (some art or an accent pillow or new sheets or anything) into the space whether it’ll work.

About $15 later, it was more than I wanted to spend, but still not much even in DIY standards. Plus, I don’t want to pull my hair out anymore when I walk into the bathroom…which helps.

Now, if only I could get some guidance on my tub’s wall surround (it’s getting worse; someone did something wrong way back when). Otherwise, I’m calling the bathroom D-O-N-E! I’ll share a final reveal soon.


I’ve spoken often of my disdain for the closed-in, burgundy monstrosity that is my dining room. Well, I can finally say that in the past tense. Ding dong, the red is dead!! For memory’s sake, here’s a fuzzy old picture. I tried my best to deal with it, really I did!

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Just. So. Dang. DARK.

Things take twice as long when scheduling around an almost 2-year-old, don’t they? Enter “bursts”, stage left. I took an afternoon to empty everything out (lots o’ crap in that room, I tell ya! One compound word: bookshelf), a full day to prime (with two coats of trim) and paint (again, two coats of trim for some odd reason), another nap time to prime the baseboard/built-ins/windows/kitchen door, still another nap time to paint the aforementioned stuff white…and let’s just say I haven’t put everything back in yet. Goodbye, Spring Break! 😛

I’m too excited not to share a couple of crappy iPhone pictures, though. 😀 Can you hear me squealing where you live? It might also be my husband, though. He didn’t want the red gone, but has since changed his tune and LOVES how open it is. I can’t blame him. It’s a huge, awesome change.

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In some light, it’s a light tan/beige with a gray undertone. In other lights (such as the weird, overly-bright shot here), it looks green. I promise you it’s the perfect shade of greige (read: beige + gray) with no blue or flesh or purple undertones. Actually, no green undertones, either. Just the perfect neutral.

I still need to (obviously) fill the room and bookshelf, find a rad new rug to replace my, um, attempt at dealing with the red (let’s just say that I’ve become gun-shy to decorate with red…at all…THANK YOU, dining room! *grumbles*), and do some styling.

And, yes. So far, the Boston Massacre has survived. At least until Hadley starts questioning why we have a crude drawing of people being shot on our wall.

So…what do you think? Improvement? When all is said and done, I’ll be sharing the color name and taking better pictures. Just couldn’t wait to share it so far!

Time to go celebrate with the family. This is such a weight off the ol’ shoulders eyes, and it’s time to enjoy the last couple of days of spring break.

Embracing Self Care – Peace in the Home

Welcome back to our third installment in the “taking care of yo’ self” series! (Not really; I just called it that.)

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This week’s “Embracing Self Care” theme involves peace in the home. Now, this can encompass many different topics — from finding peace through organization, surrounding yourself with decor that helps you find peace (or finding decor that helps you feel at one with yourself; finding your “style”), finding a schedule/routine that works for you, etc. See? It really can mean ANYTHING! Love that!

For me, this involves a couple of things. Obviously, I’m in the midst of some “low-stress” spring cleaning. (Taking it a day at a time, folks.) When I’m done with the “cleaning” part (ie the scrubbing, dusting, mopping, vacuuming stuff), I plan to attack on the organizational front. I’m weird that way. I see cleaning as more of a “must destroy dust bunnies!” and “wash windows” sort of thing; yes, things are neat and orderly afterwards, but more in a “picked up” way.

So, after things are spic and span, I’m going to address any organizational issues that we have. This will entail looking at areas where we’re falling short (like finding better uses for our closets and built-ins, and my bills…I pay them, then pretend they don’t exist ‘cuz, y’know, I don’t like them…so they just end up in random piles) and areas that just need our attention, like the basement and garage (y’know…the dirty places).

This is twofold for us. Yes, we want to have an organized, happy, serene environment…but we also hope to ready our house for a possible move. See? Two birds, one stone. 😉 (Hate that phrase, but it’s relevant.) And, of course, I’ll share any tips I pick up on the way.

The second “peace in the home” factor I hope to work on (which goes hand-in-hand with readying our house for a sale) is our style. This is the week I’m FINALLY working on painting the red out of our lives dining room, with the help of my uber-motivated mom. (Spoiler: It’s already gone! Just got some trim to do before sharing.) The other rooms are relatively light and airy (our bedroom is a little moody with a green wall, which we may or may not keep) or at least neutral, and the burgundy sticks out like a sore, outdated, 1990s thumb. 

Aside from that, I’ve got some Pinspiration regarding other areas of the house. Our front room was a spot that helped sell us on the place originally, so I’m hoping to modernize it a bit with the help of some better window treatments (we still use the short sheers that came with the house…for shame). So, I’m on the hunt for some extra long white curtains to hang “high and wide” and a few more bamboo shades, for an effect kind of like this —

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I’m also excited that my stepdad has offered to help me complete the tub surround with a ghetto he-thinks-it’ll-work solution (I have my doubts), so that’ll finally be a done project. I’m not happy with the art I made for that space, so I’ve got my eye out for other DIY art solutions that’ll make me happy. Not to sound picky, but I’m not a huge fan of the word art stuff (“Brush your teeth. Wash your hands.” Uuuummm. No comment.); I guess I’m more into either a graphic or a vintage botanical print type thing.

Maybe something like this… (Different colors.)

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Not sure of original source 🙁 Hate that!
If anyone knows, let me know, please!

Or this type of botanical…

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Original Source

I also recognize that a big part of moving will be weeding out things that we don’t wish to drag with us to our next residence. That can be a horribly daunting task, or it can be an uplifting “ahhh” getting rid of stuff we don’t NEED in our lives task. Probably 50/50, in all honesty. There’s a part of me that looks forward to taking all the wine bottles off the shelf and in storage, putting only the pots and pans that we need in our cupboards, and having less “visual clutter” around the place. I’m already asking myself how many mugs we actual need to have on-hand for guests and for ourselves, how many utensils should be in our drawers, and what food we truly need around cluttering up our cabinets. Maybe it’ll be therapeutic, who knows?

So, the only way that “schedule” really fits into this “finding peace in the home” concept is that we need to better schedule our “to dos” to actually, um, y’know…get them done! 😉 The goal is to remember to keep the peacefulness of our lives while working on these projects and focusing on our future, and to make sure that the monkey doesn’t get his routine too knocked out of whack.

What about you? What “peace” do you hope to achieve in your own lives? How are you hoping to achieve it? Feel free to post a link to your blog (if you have one), or just share in the comments.


TThisWednesday, April 16: Peace in the Home

This can encompass home decor, fashion, organizing and decluttering, schedule and routine, etc. Whatever needs to happen in your life in order to restore peace and equilibrium will be represented during this week!

Wednesday, April 23: Taking Some R&R

This week we’ll dive into taking time to pamper ourselves, time to fully relax, putting aside the to-do list, etc. We will recognize that we need to find healthy ways of treating ourselves so that we aren’t tempted to bad habits that ultimately harm us (i.e. emotional eating of sugar, etc.)
– See more at:

Facing Our Home’s Imperfections

I love our home. It’s our first. We went from separate apartments to, for a short time, one apartment, to this starter fixer-upper. It’s the place we became a family and learned how best to live together. Where we brought in one cat after another until, one day, we cautiously – anxiously – carried in a newborn in a carseat.

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Sarah Beck Photography
and our pretty darn cool kitchen.

This is where he first smiled…gloriously rolled over on his protruding belly…danced like Fred Astaire (sort of)…tippy-toe walked…slept a full night…said anything resembling a real English word…got scolded for pulling one of those patient cats’ tails. This is his place. This is ours, and we love it.

But, we’ve always known it wasn’t our forever home. We’ve yet to find even a forever town or village. It has been a challenge – perhaps because we’ve been watching far too many Andy Hardy movies lately. There is no Carvel anymore. No white picket fences. No absolute security.

So, while we search and hunt and constantly adjust our mindsets, we take the bull by the horns (says the stubborn Taurus) and decide to take control of the factors that we do have control over. Namely, getting our current abode sellable.

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Walk-through day picture of the can’t-wait-to-paint-it dining room…

Ugh. When I say “I love my home”, I might want to attach a disclosure – I love it as a home, but as a house, it ain’t perfect. Hence our not staying here forever.

It is by far a different house from the one we purchased. Then, it was in pre-foreclose, so its pipes had burst and it was quite outdated. Some of our current, hopefully fixable quirks are thanks to those irresponsible owners. Paint – smeared on woodwork and a horrific red dining room – is my latest bane, but there are a dozen (that’s actually a conservative number) tiny issues from previous owners floating around.

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What our bathroom project USED to look like…

Then there’s the age factor. Funny thing is, I’ve always been the sicko who’d love living in a 200-year-old house. Yes, I know the cost of upkeep is high. Yes, I realize that the issues are greater than a newer build. But, much as with adopting a shelter animal, there’s a sense of selfless pride that comes from saving a house from poorly executed modernization, or worse. The fact that you’re that house’s steward vs. owner is pretty rad. Bring on the crooked ceilings.

That said, ours is a 1925 build. Love that era. Post-WWI, pre-Depression. Lots of great details. (One set of built-ins clinched the deal for me; for Dave, it was the “front room” aka sun room.) Of course, it’s small – around 1,000 square feet. Closets are pretty small, too.

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We do have a crooked factor. It’s darn near impossible to hang a shelf straight (although we’ve done pretty well a couple of times). We’re working to get our doors to close and shut. (It’s not being a mom that gives me zero privacy in the bathroom – it’s Winston + non-shutting doors.)

Paint is piled, so I’m going to be busting out my sander to take down some of the build-up on our kitchen cabinets before painting them (inside and out, God help me).

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From our walk-through. These aren’t nearly as grody.
The handle hardware is changed and it’s all been cleaned, but it needs a once-over again and, as mentioned, paint.

Then there are just those “lived here so long it’s hard to look at it with a fresh eye” things. Like, the aforementioned front room. It’s a bright, calming room full of windows and we can’t figure out how to best play it up. I think I may have an idea or two, but it’s not 100%. A few rooms have me stumped. Pinterest, here I come.

But, when we do leave, any of those quirks will fly out of my heart. All that will be left is the happiness that we’ve shared as a family here, along with those memories that happened in such fleeting moments. I know I’ll be quite practical about our pricing (our neighborhood is very working class), but will know that, no matter what we accept, it won’t be enough. That I’ll mostly be concerned that a nice family moves in – for the sake of our wonderful neighbors as well as the house, itself. That they’ll be able to appreciate it as much as we loved (and, some days, were frustrated by) it.

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Wow. Okay, NOW I see how he was over ten pounds. My “see how fat I get” pregnancy pictures were taken in the hallway outside of our door, near my beloved built-ins.
And, yes, my eyes are BUGGIN’.

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Where Dave learned to be a daddy…

As we roll along, I’ll make a wishlist for you of what we’d like in our new home. We like to think we’re not one of those high-maintenance HGTV couples (hopefully our realtor doesn’t think so!), and it sometimes bugs me when I’m reading what other bloggers want in a home — like, seriously, raise your hand if a multimedia entertainment room AND separate man cave are a must (not sure if it’s good or bad that you won’t be seeing much of your hubby…maybe good? Who knows) amidst two dozen other “absolute must-haves”. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

These guys get me. Thank yooooouuu, Buzzfeeeeeed!

Oh, and we also live in the Stone Age in our part of the country/state. We weren’t too affected by the housing bubble and its subsequent burst. That said, housing is supa dupa low in our county (like, a good house for under $100,000 – I kid you not). However, that brings up the idea of what type of area we want to raise our family. We’re not in the ghetto…but there are car break-ins all the time and drug crimes that were unheard of maybe 10 years ago. Not to mention, a recent article doesn’t paint our town in the best light (at the bottom…that little place you probably haven’t heard of…that’s where we live).

So, it’s tough to wrap one’s head around moving out of a relatively inexpensive (relative to, say, the 1800s…yeah, that’s our competition in the housing market) county for a nearby one (again, while my brain is in “get a good deal” mode) while paying up to 60% more for the house. I mean, as I mention to Dave quite regularly — some of these crimes are totally random and can happen anywhere and at any time, so who’s to say we move and will be completely untouchable?

It’s a good thing we have those guard cats…

Conversation to be continued, but any thoughts are (as always) welcome below!

Color Conundrum

Ohhhh, I love this pre-painting phase. It’s the “use your noggin” part (ie the don’t-lift-a-finger part). Just walking around the paint chip aisles, picking things that look good under their light, only to get them home and see how they look in your own space.

Then comes the “oh, crap” moment. The “I’ve gotta make a decision” moment. And we all know how great I am in such a moment.

I grabbed a bunch (about 19, to be exact) of swatches that fell in the “greige” (gray/beige) range to replace the atrocious red of our dining room. After sticking them to the wall with painter’s tape, I immediately knew I could subtract over a third of my selections. RIP Flaxseed!

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And was left with these…represented in a blurry arse iPhone picture. At least the color’s pretty clear…if not totally true-to-life.

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The bottom two colors are less greige and more…grayish-beige with undertones of other colors (blue and green, kind of?), which I will probably nix. But, they look pretty cool next to bright white (which will be replacing the current “dirty cream” of our trim…it’s clean, it just looks dirty to me; drives me nuts).

So, I’m asking for any opinions. Here are the colors in a truer sense (and are still probably a little weird since we all have wackadoo monitors):

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It’s kind of funny, this whole paint-picking thing. I can analyze the heck out of them and explain that the graphic didn’t even come out as true as the swatches (for example, the two “maybe, maybe nots” on the bottom left? Rope is way bluer and Travertine is way greener, and they’re ALL lighter.) So, when I ask your opinion — wait for it, I’m about to do just that! — feel free to mention “the one on the bottom left in the picture” or “Dove’s Cry on the ‘color options’ graphic!” or whatever works. Mkay? Mkay.

Can you pick one that you really like? Or three? Most of them would go pretty well, and coordinate to the colors in the accompanying rooms. (Heck, anything goes better than the outdated red.) We really appreciate any opinions on this one!