Well, it’s that time! My first official Christmas post of the season is up today. I’m teaming up once again with a bunch of my fave bloggers in the Seasons of Home Tour hosted by the fabulous Kristen from Ella Claire & Co Everyone is sharing how they like to add a little bit of Christmas cheer to their kitchen’s this time of year.
I’m trying to keep things pretty simple this year in order not to drive myself crazy with clutter by December 15. The Mr. has teased me in the past about dismantling the Christmas tree while our kids are still opening presents, haha.
This is entirely an exaggeration, I waited until at least after breakfast last year to start taking it all down. ;) Don’t get me wrong, I love all the fun of Christmas decorations, but they start to make me twitchy by the end of the season. I always crave a fresh and clean start for January.
I started with a pretty branch print that I found at Hobby Lobby and a few cute juniper plants from my local nursery. I like their little simple Charlie Brown tree vibe.
An old Balsam Hill wreath I have had for years got an update with a new green velvet ribbon and those brass bells I mentioned in last week’s post. I love the warmth and a little bit of shine that they add to the kitchen.
Once again I trudged through the snow to snip a few branches in the woods. I found this pretty green glass vase to add some drama and a plate of pomegranates for a pop of color.
Bonus I love pomegranate seeds in salads, so these have been slowly disappearing over the last few days. I’ll have to restock them soon!
I swapped out the pillows in the breakfast nook and hung a wreath up in the window.
I promptly took it down 2 days later because it was driving me nuts as it was blocking my view of the kids playing basketball outside, ha! It was pretty while it lasted though.
I told you I’m being pretty cutthroat about this twitchy eye thing when it comes to Christmas decor this year. I’m basically like the Marie Kondo of Christmas decorations – if it’s not sparking joy off it goes!
A little green ribbon wound through my cake stand was festive with my pumpkin spice bundt cake (I used this muffin recipe here and just added frosting – so good!)
Now be sure to head over to all of my friends’ gorgeous kitchens and check out their fun ideas!
Welcome to another Friday Feels where I share what I’m “feeling” this week. This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.
I’m gearing up for Christmas over here, which I know is too early for most normal people like you, but it’s all part of this weird blogger gig, being ahead of the game. I like to think that I’m giving my kids good stories to complain about to their kids someday :) Like instead of “I had to walk 2 miles to school uphill both ways!”, it will be “We had a Christmas tree up Halloween to Valentine’s day one year!” Or “I never knew if the food on the counter was actually dinner or just a photoshoot waiting to happen!” The tree til Valentine’s day has only happened once for a magazine shoot, but still, my tween daughter was trying to explain to her friends over facetime the other day why there were Christmas lights in the background and I couldn’t stop laughing. Her explanation was basically that her mom is insane… she is not wrong. :)
I thought I would share a few things I’ve ordered in my Friday Feels today in case you are starting to get in planning mode too!
The green velvet pillow I bought at Target for fall has me thinking green for Christmas decor too! So, I snagged a few of these green velvet ornaments for this year’s tree. I plan on mixing the green ornaments in with some of the gorgeous mercury glass ornaments I used last year (check out last year’s tree here).
Over my 7 years of blogging, I have amassed quite the Christmas collection, so it’s easy to buy just a few new items to rotate in here for a new look. Well, I’m hoping it’s easy anyway :) Here is what I’m planning this year so far:
- Green velvet ornaments – H&M is a great spot for inexpensive seasonal decor, I snagged a bunch of these green ornaments.
- Mercury Glass ornaments – I have a bunch of mercury glass ornaments from last year, these are similar.
- Silver Ornaments – I picked up some bronzey silver ornaments at a local store to mix in these are similar.
- Green wood bead garland – Studio McGee has a bunch of beautiful Holiday items this year (well everything they have is beautiful, I love their stuff). These emerald beads are so unique.
- Iron Bells – And I also picked up these brass bells to hang somewhere
- Striped Pajamas – Speaking of kids I’ve been hunting down Christmas jammies on amazon. I just need to get final approval from the previously mentioned tween in the house who has the final say on all her wardrobe choices.
- Green velvet pillow – I also bought a few of H&M’s velvet pillow covers as well. I love the texture of velvet for the holidays.
- Emerald velvet pillow
- Metal Bowls – I’m anxiously awaiting these 2 brass bowls to arrive, I’m thinking they will go on the coffee table with some ornaments resting in them?
- Brass Candle Holders – I think I’ll be using these pretty brass candlesticks on my mantel this year that I picked up at Stoffer Home which is a gorgeous local store but they have online ordering as well.
- Christmas tree – Don’t throw things at me but I already have one tree complete in the basement and I debuted it on Facebook and Instagram today as part of the Michaels Dream Tree Challenge. It was so fun to do a colorful kid-friendly tree. I will be doing a full kid’s Christmas tour downstairs in a few weeks, but this is the new tree they sent me and it’s so beautiful! The price on it is awesome right now too!
So far the vibe I’m going for seems to be brass, mercury glass, green velvet thing. Upstairs anyway, downstairs is all fun and color this year!
We haven’t done a “Building Series” post in a while, and I have been stockpiling a bunch of “do you regret doing…. when you built” questions. My house is currently in a confused standoff of pumpkins vs Christmas ornaments as I prepare holiday content, so now seems like a good time to answer a few!
First off, I will say because this is our 5th house and we spent SO much time being really thoughtful about our needs/wants for this hopefully forever home. So, that the regrets are thankfully few and far between. It’s a daunting task to take on the expense and decision making of building your own home, and every little decision can feel like the end all be all when you are in the thick of it!
We realized this time around that the floor plan was the number one thing we wanted to concentrate on. We cut costs in other areas to make sure we got the layout exactly right. I will say that we are to the limit on every single lot line in our allowed footprint, so there are a few spots where I would have bumped out the house differently here or there (more for architectural interest vs bigger space), but we weren’t able to do so due to our setback restrictions. I will also say, of course, that there are a zillion things we would have added if
the Mr. WE hadn’t been so committed to sticking to our budget. But off the top of my head, here are a few things that I would change.
Pantry – I love having a large walk-in pantry, but now that I have lived with it a bit, I would reconfigure a few things. I thought open shelving would be so great in here for my kids to just grab what they needed and go – and it is – BUT things are usually a mess in here after they come flying through after school. It’s really not that big of a deal, but this sliding door is always open, and I think doing big drawers along the bottom filled with snacks would have served us better in here.
These drawers we have in our kitchen would have been nice for the back wall, and I could tuck bins inside with different snack sections.
Fridge – while we are in the pantry, let’s talk about my regrets with my fridge/freezer situation. Looking back, I realized I have such a large pantry that I could have put a full-size freezer in the pantry and a full-size fridge in the kitchen. The appliance store manager actually suggested this at the time, but I couldn’t quite picture it. Now that I have seen several examples of this on Pinterest, I could kick myself. When we entertain in the summer, our fridge is constantly overflowing and this would have been SO nice! Our freezer is always jam-packed too because we live so far out from the grocery store and I try to stock up to save trips. In a dream world, I would also have put an ice maker in the pantry as well rather than on the fridge door. We run out of ice at least once a week in the summertime when we have a house full of kids and friends. It’s on my “someday years from now wish list” to reconfigure this space a bit.
Kitchen Island – I absolutely love the look of our island. Our cabinet maker did an amazing job on it. This is one spot where I picked form over function though. The open storage on the sides is such a fun detail, BUT if we hadn’t done that, we could have fit a full 4 barstools here. I anticipated us eating at the breakfast nook at all times and we do. The island was going to be a snack/homework place for the kids and it is, but I didn’t figure their friends into this scenario. It would be nice to fit the kids and their friends at the bar there after school.
Workout room – I haven’t even really shared this room on the blog as it’s not ready for its internet debut yet (you can see it on my Instagram tour) we have an extra bedroom/workout room in the basement as well as an unfinished storage space (also not ready for the internet!). I wish we had made the workout room a true guest bedroom and the unfinished storage space into a finished workout space. I was so excited at the thought of having basement storage that I forgot about the fact that we have an entire 2 stall garage across the street for storage. We really didn’t need both spaces. Our plans are still to have a guest space across the street in the pool house (which is why we didn’t worry about a guest room when we were building), but there have been a handful of times where a guest room in the house would have been helpful.
Closet – our master closet is smaller in this house than our last few houses, and it is constantly disorganized because of its size. If we both (ok really just me) were a bit more cutthroat with getting rid of some old things, we could make it work better for us. I also talk in this budgeting post about how we saved money in here by using wire closet systems. I think if we swap it out someday for a better closet system that will help. Our master bathroom is much bigger than it needs to be and we could have easily stolen some space from the bathroom for a bigger closet.
Heated floors – which leads me to another small regret, the tile floors in the bathroom! We have heated floors through our whole basement level and it is SO nice! Why our kids have nice toasty bathroom floors all winter long and we don’t is so not fair haha! I so wish this is something we would have added to the master too.
It’s a pretty short list so far, at least after 2 1/2 years of living here! Minus a few cosmetic things here and there (remember we already changed the carpet out in the basement and painting the wet bar cabinets is happening soon too!) those are my only regrets as of now. Here are a few reader questions that I’ve gotten as you all are building and making your own decisions:
Wood floors – Do I regret our engineered white oak wood floors (find them here)? I have a whole saved Instagram story on our flooring that is super helpful, but I will say that I still love these floors. They are beautiful in person and add a lot to our home. They have a raw UV oil finish, which is more high maintenance and we do have to worry more about spilling and moisture. We run a dehumidifier in the summer and a humidifier in the winter to keep them happy (although we had to do this in our last house on the lake with our solid wood floors too, it’s just one of the hard things about being so close to the water). That said, they didn’t have all the amazing luxury vinyl plank options when we were building and I have seen some really beautiful ones since. In fact, I think that is what will end up going in the pool house down the road. I think I would still choose these because I love them, but we know that we have to be careful in the kitchen especially. We have felt pads on everything, we don’t wear our shoes in the house, and we don’t have a house full of 80 lbs dogs running around.
Screened/Covered Porch – I have been asked numerous times now why we didn’t put in a screened porch or a covered porch off of our bedroom or dining area. I think covered porches are so nice, but I hate how closed in they make the space attached to them feel. It really cuts down on the natural light a room gets and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice that. We have a lot of mature trees surrounding our house thankfully so we have a good amount of shade most of the time. We also don’t deal with bugs too much out on the deck, not sure if it’s because we are up higher or there is good breeze off the lake? I also burn a citronella candle if we sit out there at night too.
The molding/board and batten/ceiling treatments in our house – Someone emailed me asking me if I think I will regret this down the road. The answer so far is no. I really wanted a classic, cottagey vibe and I think board and batten and wood molding is something that is pretty classic in that sense. My grandparents built a cottage across the lake 64 years ago and all the walls and ceilings are paneled in pine and I still love it. I think it adds character and interest without taking away from the lake views.
Kitchen configuration – Our kitchen isn’t set up like most new modern builds where there is one back counter and a massive island that is completely open to the rest of the home. It’s a bit more old school and feels like its own room tucked back into the corner. I actually love old houses (our first home was built in 1939), and if we didn’t live on the lake, I would love to redo an old home with all sorts of separate rooms and nooks and crannies. Not wanting to sacrifice lake views, we went with an open floor plan. I love that this kitchen feels completely open and part of the living/dining space and has a nice lake view, but it’s still cozy and tucked away from the front entry.
Slate floors – I always get questions on the upkeep of our slate and the grout (you can see them in our entry here). We had them sealed with a matte sealer when we first moved in and haven’t touched them since. We will probably seal them again before summer, but they clean up really well and we haven’t had any issues. Also in photos, the grout looks white, but it’s actually a grey/blue color so we haven’t had any discoloration issues there yet either.
Ok phew, my short list of regrets post is getting long! So I’ll leave it there, but this was such a fun question to think about! Back to the Christmas crazy prep, can’t wait to share that with you all soon!
Check out my other building series posts below:
I slowly showed you little updates here and there all summer of this basement space. It’s the one spot in our house that never felt quite right. I started with getting rid of the too blue carpet that drove me nuts. I added the couch from upstairs and a new chair in the mix. Plus a coffee table and some new comfier game table chairs.
Next up is tackling the wet bar area on the opposite side of the room. If you remember the original plan was to put butcher block counters down here, but my contractor and I couldn’t really come to an agreement on what kind of material to use, so we last minute just popped a laminate counter on it. After building two houses, I will say this sort of thing happens sometimes at the end. You just really run out of steam after making 10,000 little decisions and sort of throw your hands up and say whatever!
It’s not my fave counter combo with the paint color. Let’s talk about paint colors a minute. This is the exact same paint we used at our old house in the laundry room – Newburyport Blue by Benjamin Moore. See how deep the blue is in here? I love it!
Now, look how bright it is in our basement. Definitely not the same look – isn’t that crazy!? I didn’t take into account the tiny little laundry room window vs the giant wall of south-facing windows the basement has.
This is why testing specific colors in your specific space is SO important. I wanted an almost black blue and what I got is almost royal blue in person. It’s been bugging me since we moved in but I thought maybe if I change the carpet/couch/everything it will look better. Sometimes it’s just good to admit when you are wrong (do not tell the Mr. I said that!) and start over.
So, now that I’m resigned to painting these cabinets (not my favorite DIY) here are a few of the paint colors I picked up today that I’m planning on trying out. I’m thinking the Anchors Aweigh (top right corner) may be the first sample I pick up. I’m toying with the idea of a more gray tone too like Cyberspace in the middle there.
I also have plans to finally switch out these countertops for a butcher block I found at Home Depot. I don’t think they carried this option when I was looking the first time around.
Last, I’m debating spray painting this hardware or swapping it out. The black really just disappears on these cabinets. Again another oops! I’m starting with the cabinet color and I’ll go from there until the space feels right.
My kids have fall break the end of this week and we were all excited to be going back to New York for another hiking/yurt trip (you can read about that trip here – it was so fun!). BUT the Mr. fractured a bone in his foot last week running. So, hiking is definitely out for him. Thankfully, we scored some last-minute cheap tickets to fly down to FL to visit my parents instead and we are all so excited to hit the beach! Which made me think maybe I will do a blog post about our trip there or what fun things we like to do when we are down there? Leave me a comment below if there is anything you would like me to cover in a post about Florida when we get back!
The only bummer is I think we are going to miss the peak color weekend here in Michigan, but I did snap this photo in my bathrobe and uggs this morning :) Had to catch that morning sunshine!!
And if you are new here, you can check out some of the fun transformations we did of my parent’s home
You can also find all of our house paint colors in this post here!
Have a great week!
The Mr. took me out on a much-needed date night last week in downtown Grand Rapids. We stopped at one of our favorite little bars for a drink before dinner. Little is the keyword. It’s a tiny little bar that I’m not sure I even want to mention because I don’t want to let you in on the secret. It only has about 20 seats and it only serves cocktails, but they are all handcrafted and just special. It’s hard to describe, but think unusual flavors and unique combinations you won’t get anywhere else! Ok, fine locals, I’ll tell you it’s called the Sidebar and it’s the best little spot in town. I ordered this drink called the Snowball, which was basically a lemon maple bourbon cocktail with a hint of rosemary.
I did my best to recreate it for you all because it was so delicious. All that taste testing was a hardship ;) but I powered through! Side note, my UPS man now thinks I’m insane I’m sure. Envision me standing on the breakfast nook table in my bathrobe with my camera and a bottle of bourbon at 10 am waving at my delivery guy through the window. Just another day in the life…
Also sidenote #2, we ate dinner at Osteria Rossa in Grand Rapids and it was delicious start to finish! Get the Burrata, and the Rigatoni Bolognese – so good!
Sidenote #3, I got the Mr. one of those silicone giant square ice cube molds for Christmas last year, and it’s one of his favorite things! If you have someone in your life who enjoys scotch or bourbon, this is such a good gift. It chills your drink without watering it down too fast.
Ok for the cocktail – use a shaker for this so you can get everything nice and cold and also really mix up the maple syrup and lemon juice. Use any bourbon you like; I had Buffalo Trace on hand for this, but I love Bulleit, Basil Haden and the Mr. loves Jefferson. We are bourbon fans in our house and always have a few different varieties on hand.
- 1 shot of lemon juice (1.5 oz)
- .5 shot of maple syrup (.75 oz)
- 2 shots of bourbon (3 oz)
- 1 sprig rosemary
- Add lemon juice, maple syrup, and bourbon to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake well until cold and well mixed,
- Pour over a large ice cube (optional) and add a sprig of rosemary.
Lemon Maple Bourbon Cocktail
I’ve received a few questions about our master bathroom recently, which made me realize I haven’t shared this space since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago! Since I know not all of you have been around that long and I’ve made a few changes in here, I thought it would be a good time to update! I also have a new favorite organizer – is that not the dorkiest adulting sentence you have ever read? :) Welcome to age 36 where bathroom organization is exciting! A new shower head filter is saving my hair too, so let’s dive in.
First, I’m still loving our fun blue cabinets. It’s hard to believe these are the same color as our kitchen island, but this is one of those colors that looks so different depending on the light and time of day. You can see it in these photos because, in typical Michigan fall fashion, it went from sunny to thunderstorms in the 30 minutes it took me to shoot this room.
I swapped out the tray in here for a smaller white one to give me a little more counter space. I really don’t like to have clutter on my counters, so one trick I rely on a lot is using a pretty tray to corral the things I like to keep out.
I do this in the kitchen for bowls of fruit and napkins, etc…and on our coffee tables to hold remotes and coasters too! It feels more like a decorative choice vs. a practical necessity that way.
I keep a few products on the counter that I use every day plus a magnifying mirror and candle to pretty things up. I also keep a Trader Joe’s orchid here all year long. They usually last me a good 3 months or so and for $14 that is a great value. I love the little pop of color it adds. If caring for orchids scares you, the best trick is to put a few ice cubes in the container once a week and that’s all they need!
I also recently snagged these foaming soap dispensers off amazon, and I’m not sure why I waited so long for us each to have our own soap dispenser.
I like having these little stools over by my tub to set a book or glass of wine on. I also end up perching on one of these to rinse Charlie’s paws off too. That’s his towel hanging over the tub. This time of year it seems like he spends more time relaxing in this tub than me, but white furniture plus muddy paws don’t mix.
Oh and I should mention that we have cellular shades from Budget Blinds that you just pull down to cover these windows, I get that question a lot!
I’m still loving our IKEA linen cabinet tucked in this corner. Originally this was just supposed to be a closet, but I’m so glad we swapped it out for a piece of furniture to add more character to the bathroom. The Mr. even put this one together, but I don’t think they carry this exact style or color anymore.
Another swap I made was adding a taller shower curtain. We have 9-foot ceilings in here, and it felt a little dinky having such a short shower curtain.
I’ve talked a few times about how hard our well water is and that was one of the reasons we decided not to do a big tile shower with a glass door. It was also an easy spot to cut our budget when we were over in other areas (like our living room ceiling and all the board and batten trim). I’ve had a lot of emails asking if I regret this choice. Yes and no. Well, first this is an easy upgrade we can add down the line someday (once we finish the pool house and a few other dozen projects that are more pressing).
Do I think a gorgeous tile shower would be pretty in here and make more of a statement? Yes. Do I want to constantly be battling the hard water and rust stains? No. I also still hate glass shower doors. Especially with how open our bathroom is to our bedroom. I still don’t want my 543 hair and bath products on display (remember how I hate clutter?). You can see this is just my half of what is currently in my shower, so you know what I’m dealing with. I will never claim to be low maintenance when it comes to hair products! I love the ability to pull the curtain closed over the mess.
Here’s a view looking into the bedroom so you can get a better feel for the space. Our closet is the door on the left and the little toilet room is to the right.
You can see the shower filter head I added to this shower above, it just screws right on no tools required. I bought it 6 months ago and it has really really helped with our hard water. It has great reviews on Amazon, and I can tell it definitely cut down on the brassiness my blonde hair tends to pick up from our water. I just changed out the filter cartridge this week and look at all the gross stuff it filtered out!
Even my hairstylist mentioned a difference. It’s really reasonably priced and you can change the filter out every few-6 months depending on your water. And yes, we do already have a water softener and filter system. We also have a reverse osmosis system for our drinking water and fridge hookup. This is just one of those little downfalls of living out where we do. I’ll link it below if you want to try it for yourself!
Ok, let’s talk organization a minute. I got this organizer a few months ago and I love it! It’s the perfect size to fit underneath the bathroom sink and I just pull the whole thing out and plop it on the counter when I get ready. Then when I’m done I tuck it right back under the sink again. Rather than searching through a makeup bag for mascara, I now have it organized by foundation & concealer, bronzer & blush, eyeshadow & eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick/lipgloss. I swear this has cut down on my routine a ton just knowing everything is in the right spot. Also if you are curious about my fave makeup products you can read about them here.
So that’s our little updated bathroom tour!
I’m in a little bit of limbo land right now with blog posts. I have a million DIY projects to tackle (painting our wet bar cabinets, finishing my daughter’s bedroom, wallpapering my son’s bathroom and planning the pool house reno), but I also have a Thanksgiving tablescape set up in the dining room and a Christmas tree in the basement. Ah, the life of a blogger ;) I have no idea what I’ll be sharing next, so if you have any requests leave me a comment!
SOURCE LIST: (Disclosure- contains affiliate links)
Water Filter – find it here
Makeup organizer – find it here
Wall Paint colors – Silver Strand and Extra White by Sherwin Williams
Cabinet Paint – Blustery Sky by Sherwin Williams
Wood Stools – Find them here
Rug – Find it here
White tray – find it here
Faucet – Delta Cassidy Single Lavatory Faucet
Cabinet – Ikea
Mirrors – Hobby Lobby
Countertop – Misterio quartz by Vicostone
Bathtub – Signature Hardware
Lights – Quorum
I’m a day late with my post this week, but I’ve been a busy little bee meeting with contractors, picking out windows, and looking at pool tile. If you follow me on Instagram you know that we have big plans to finally fix up our pool and our pool house this winter/spring and I’m so excited!
If you are new around here the previous owners of this property built a 20 x 40 underground pool across the street in the ’50s along with a two stall garage/pool house. It was one of the things that really drew us to this property because it had so many potential fun projects! Here’s what the space looks like after we fixed it up, minus eleventy-billion pool floats and squirt guns.
The pool house was in rough shape when we first bought this property and we have been slowly fixing it up over the last 2 years. Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane with the original look of the pool house.
The first step was putting a new roof on it since the old one was falling apart and leaky.
Then the Mr. and I painted and added these grids to the doors by gluing wood lattice to the windows and adding gate hardware. The two of us also put the new fence in at that point too.
Last summer we added a driveway which is the least glamorous thing to spend money on, but it has been great for family basketball games and extra parking.
We also planted hydrangeas, vinca vine, and hostas. Oh and we stained the fence which was probably my least favorite project of all time to complete! I feel you on this one Tom Sawyer…
Now we are going to tackle the rotting wood siding and the plexiglass windows that are mostly broken and won’t stay closed. These windows are so odd I didn’t even know they made windows out of plexiglass and I’m not sure they actually do, as they seem to be sort of an odd DIY mish/mash situation from the 1950’s. Last winter, we ended up with 6 inches of snow in the upstairs section during the polar vortex when all the windows blew open and we didn’t know it for a few days. Needless to say, we would like to avoid that mess again, so new functional windows will be a nice addition!
Here is the pool house in its current state from inside the fence by the pool (pretty dramatic change from the above “before” photo with just paint, shutters, and landscaping!) –
And here is my little kindergarten sketch (if you’ve been following for a while you may remember these from the planning stages of our house and now I’m blessing your eyes with my handiwork yet again) of what our plans are. It’s not exactly to scale but it gives you the idea.
We are going to replace the wood siding on the top section with the same vinyl shake that is on our house. The coat of paint we added only camouflaged the rotting wood, and 2 years later, it’s in really bad shape. We are going to replace all of the windows and add a set of french doors (with windows on the sides) with a little Juliet balcony that’s about 18 inches deep off the top.
Here’s what the space currently looks like upstairs, bahaha yikes – it’s my kid’s playroom/slime factory/old furniture graveyard at the moment.
If you remember we want to make it into a bunk room/hang out spot with a tv and a table for board games, foosball table, etc. This will serve as our guest space, but also be sort of a fun kid hang out when they need a break from the sun and the pool. That’s why we went with french doors – we wanted to be able to open it up and have it feel like an indoor/outdoor space.
Here’s what I have tentatively planned for the other end of the room. We are going to get rid of the 3 small windows and replace it with 2 larger windows to make room for a tv wall. I’d like to add built-in double beds on both sides of the room with a seating area in between.
Let’s take a peek inside to talk about plans down here – welcome to our current very scary before pics. We really haven’t touched this space since we bought it. Behind that picket fence stall situation is actually a bathroom complete with pink toilet, it doesn’t currently flush properly, so we don’t use it at all right now. I especially enjoy the half drop-ceiling vibe happening in here. This room also has these odd built-in cubbies that we would like to replace with more functional storage lockers.
Phase 1 of this project will be building out a new safer staircase to access the upper level and framing out this room into 3 separate rooms. A bathroom, a pool equipment room, and then this entry room to access the stairs and towel storage, etc..
Enjoy another one of my fancy drawings…
I mentioned the pool was built in the ’50s and it’s starting to fall apart as well. A huge section of the tile fell off this past summer so we have to have it completely retiled and a new coating of marcite put on. That ended up being a bit of a surprise cost, but this will last us the next 25 years so it’s worth doing it right. Unfortunately, that cut into our budget for the pool house, so we are going to tackle it in phases. Phase 1 will be new windows, siding, and framing this space. Phase 2 where we complete the bathroom. add flooring, and do the interior of the bunk room, will have to wait while we save up a bit more.
I’m really excited to at least get the ball rolling over here and have everything look nice and finished on the exterior to match our newly resurfaced pool for the summer season. We are ordering windows at the end of the week, so look for more progress posts on this project in the next couple of months!
A few weeks back, I asked you all to submit any questions for a little “ask Kelly” blog post series, and one I got several emails about was wondering what the day in the life of a work from home mom/blogger looks like. This may only be interesting to those 12 people who emailed me to ask, but here goes with a rushed iphone photo/run-on sentence version of my typical day!
6:10 alarm goes off, Charlie takes this as his opportunity to sit on my chest, lick my face, and request a tummy rub by smacking me in the face repeatedly with his paws.
6:15 stumble downstairs in my bathrobe and wake both kids up (you are welcome for not providing any photographic evidence of this event, it’s not pretty)
6:20 wake my daughter up again, and again at 6:22, and 6:25… she is not a morning person – there is a lot of indiscernable mumbling and bumping around.
6:30 pack lunches, make coffee, remind everyone to grab homework/gym clothes/instruments/library books.
View from the bus stop.
6:50 kiss the Mr. and run out the door for the bus. Drive the 6 minutes to the bus stop in my bathrobe, as one does, (we live too far out from our school and this is as close as the bus gets). Chat, pray, and enjoy the sunrise in the car with my kids while we wait. I love these few minutes of quiet with them in the morning…unless they are fighting, in which case, I can’t push them out the car fast enough. A non-negotiable for my kids though – they have to hold my hands and pray with me before they head out for the day…even if they aren’t speaking to me that day. For such totally fair reasons like when I won’t let them wear shorts to school during the polar vortex… If it’s an especially crabby morning, I make everyone say one thing they are looking forward to that day (insert tween eye rolls here). I know, I’m a fun mom – haha, I think they secretly like it ;)
7:10 back home and I drink my first cup of coffee (bless you caffeine) while I make the bed/empty the dishwasher/do a general 20 minute pick up of the main level/with the Today Show on in the background. I’m a huge neatfreak and having a tidy house is one of the things that keeps me sane working from home. I cannot concentrate on emails if I’m looking at a big pile of laundry to fold.
Charlie typically messes my pillows up as soon as I make the bed, it’s a “fun” game we play.
8:00 think about working out and answer emails from brands/PR companies/readers/school moms etc…
8:30 still thinking about that workout and cruise through Instagram answering comments and dm’s. I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to comment and interact with me, so I really try to answer most everyone back!
8:45 ok fine, I’m going to do that workout, ugh. I usually walk Charlie around the lake (about 3 miles) and do a 20 minute Tone It Up workout on the app or a 45-minute HIIT workout if the weather is bad.
Someone is mighty pleased with his muddy paws, oh the joys of rainy day walks when you live in the country.
9:30 I toss Charlie in the bath, then I shower and get ready for the day while I listen to a podcast (I like Armchair Expert and This American Life).
10:15 – 12:30 either work on a project for the blog, shoot the project, edit photos, write a blog post, conference call with a brand, etc… It’s a little different every day, which I like.
Writing a blog post with my social media intern Charlie.
12:30 lunch break! I usually make a quick salad or I do turkey with mustard, lettuce, and cucumbers on this Traders Joes Crispbread with a LaCroix. I check in with Instagram messages while I eat. Then I sneak a few dark chocolate peanut butter cups to get me through the afternoon.
1:00 Back to working on whatever blog project is due that day. I love working from the living room especially on sunny days.
3:00 try to post an Instagram post/stories/Facebook post. Usually spending way too much time trying to come up with an interesting caption.
3:15-3:45 take a break from the computer and finish up any household stuff, run the vacuum, etc.
3:45 drive to the bus stop and then sneak in some reading to slow my brain down while I wait for the bus. I always, always have a book on my kindle app or a book thrown in my bag. Right now, it’s Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I’ve had it in my pile of books all summer and I’m finally getting to it.
4:15 back home with my kiddos. Time for a snack, homework help (unless it’s math which I save for the Mr.) and sorting school papers and lunchboxes. I also attempt to get any info from my kids about their day during all this besides “It was fine.” I ask annoying questions like “who did you play with at recess, what was the best part of the day, how did your test go, etc…” insert more eye rolls. Again do these kids not realize how fun I am??? ;)
The breakfast nook is a fave homework spot and Charlie loves having his kids home at the end of the day.
The Mr. LOVES it when I save math for him since they changed how to do it from when we were kids! I snuck this shot when they were dividing decimals last week. Insert maniacal laugh…
4:45 make dinner/attempt to feed kids/argue about vegetables/make sure Charlie isn’t eating all their chicken from under the table/elicit at least 3 eye-rolls from my tween/break up she’s looking at me type fights between my kids/talk them into just 3 more bites/remind them to put their dishes in the dishwasher…remind them again…
Chicken fajitas, one of the dinners I make that everyone likes.
5:05 drive to volleyball 25 minutes away while singing too loud and off-key, sometimes accompanied by car dancing.
5:30 drive to soccer in the opposite direction listen to my chatterbox son recite weird animal facts (this kid lives for random trivia look for him on Jeopardy someday). I consequently know more about meerkats than I ever thought possible (did you know they were voted 2nd cutest animal in 2017, no? Well now you do, you’re welcome).
7:00 drive back to volleyball 25 minutes and listen to a podcast for a little moment of mom zen
7:30 drive back to soccer 25 minutes (unless the Mr. is home on time to grab him). Just accept the fact that I will live in my car for the rest of my life and think about adding some nice throw pillows or a candle to make it cozier. Also, contemplate picking up a side-gig as an uber driver while I trek all over town…
Getting to bed typically involves some sort of wrestling match during teeth brushing. I’m refereeing :)
8:00 convince my kids they need to shower/argue the merit of cleanliness vs smelliness. Hang out with each of them in their rooms. The Mr. hangs out with the other kid and then we swap. This is our time to touch base and check in with them about their day. I love this time in our busy day to snuggle up with them and pray. They then do their reading (so happy I have two little bookworms) or finish any homework in their rooms for the night. Theoretically in their rooms for the night that is, as I usually catch one of them sneaking snacks in the pantry around 9ish.
My little guy loves to read.
8:30 pour a much needed glass of wine and eat dinner with the Mr./hear about his day/talk his ear off (a hazard of working from home by myself sometimes the Mr. is the only actual grown up I see and converse with all day)
9:00 finish any blog post miscellaneous stuff/answer Instagram comments and dm’s while the Mr. ensures he gets in a full 16 hours of work for the day by finishing up work on his computer…
9:30 watch a show with the Mr. (either Schitts Creek or Mindhunter right now)
10:15 get ready for bed/wash my face/apply approximately 30 lotions and potions to try to pretend I’m eternally 29
10:30 read a book until 11:30 while the Mr. snores away
11:30 finally my too-busy brain is exhausted enough to shut off for the night and I sleep!
Tuesday and Thursday nights are our blessedly slower nights with no activities and then we eat dinner all together at 6:45 when the Mr. gets home. I LOVE these nights where we can hang out longer in the kitchen and have more time to kick the soccer ball or bump the volleyball around the backyard with my kids. I’m pretty intentional about trying not to overschedule our kids and keep them to one activity per season, but it gets harder when they hit middle school for sure!
Backyard soccer time
Charlie is usually fishing while we play in the backyard.
Mondays – I get groceries/run any errands in the morning – Trader Joe’s at 8am on a Monday is my happy place.
Fridays – I’m done working on the blog for the week by 12:00 and spend the afternoon cleaning the house/kitchen etc…
Saturdays – besides soccer and activities my kids do chores and it’s laundry day. Everybody helps out with the laundry situation and we get it done all in one day. Wash, dry, fold and put away so I don’t have to think about it again for another week.
Sundays – we go to church and brunch and try to relax and hang out and usually do a movie or family game night.
Also, I realize that this was supposed to be about my day and basically Charlie has snuck into every single shot, what else is new! :)
Throw in ortho appointments, room mom stuff, coffee with a friend, and that’s my little life in a nutshell!
Now that the house is good and fall-ified, and before the Christmas crazy hits (I know, I don’t even want to think about that yet – yikes!), I thought it would be a good time to revisit the progress I’m making in my daughter’s room. Her new nightstands arrived and I love them! These are a great budget friendly option. I will warn you that you have to put them together (think IKEA, but with better instructions). It only took me an hour to get them both up an running. They aren’t super high-quality solid wood pieces, but I do really like them for the price point. The brass details on them are so fun, and the deep drawers are just what my daughter needed to
hide snacks and other contraband store books.
I added these fun brass lamps from Target. I love the juxtaposition of the old school granny-chic floral wallpaper and the curvy lines of the bed with the modern vibe of the lamps and nightstands.
We swapped out the beach prints in her white frames for these fun line drawings. I have big plans to hang them yet, but I chickened out on putting holes in the wallpaper on my own. My very precise way of hanging art – eyeballing it, grabbing whatever is handy from the kitchen (usually a meat mallet or serving spoon) and putting 3 or 4 holes in the wall until I get it right – didn’t seem like the way to go when I was dealing with wallpaper. So, I will wait for the math wizard (aka the Mr.) to use a tape measure, level and all that good and proper stuff this weekend. Anyone else out there routinely use kitchen utensils instead of the hammer they can’t find to hang a picture, or is it just me?
On the other end of the room, I gave her dresser a little makeover. It was white and we felt like this side of the room needed more color with the freshly painted white walls. My daughter picked out this super pale pink tone that we both loved.
This dresser was a $30 thrift store find from a few years back that had rope pull handles. The pulls were adorable but so impractical – they would pull completely out every few weeks.
I had to find hardware that would cover up the huge holes the rope pulls left behind. I found some cheap cup pull hardware on amazon that did the trick. The only downside is they ended up being super bright shiny gold – not the look I was going for. So, I gave them a few coats of spray paint to fix them up. I used Satin Bronze by Rustoleum.
AFTER: I still need to figure out pillows and everything in her chair as I just sort of tossed some stuff in here for a photo. I’m also working on art for above the dresser too!
This dresser is approximately a million years old, so nothing was straight or flush, which made putting new hardware on challenging, but I think it turned out pretty cute!
I’m still on the hunt for art above the dresser, a few more accessories, and her bedding which has been back-ordered until November. I’m also still debating on what kind of rug to put in here. Oh, and I’m planning on recovering that polka dot bolster pillow on her bed too! Hopefully, I’ll be sharing a completed room next month sometime when I figure it all out.
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Wall Color – Extra White by Sherwin Williams
Pink paint – Just Peachy by Benjamin Moore
Wallpaper – find it here
Bed – it’s been discontinued
Nightstands – find them here
Lamps – find them here
Peacock jewelry holder – find it here
Plush lavender blanket – find it here
White throw pillows – find them here
Line drawing art – find it here