Saturday, 17 March 2018

Compact Living: Quarter One

For any goal to be accomplished there needs to be regular check ins to make sure you are able to accomplish them, right? When I set my 2018 goal to live COMPACTLY I knew it was going to take some really intentional work. I figured I’d try to do my quarterly check ins here on the blog in an effort to encourage you to do the same thing in your own lives with your 2018 goals (even if you’ve already broken every single resolution… get back on the band wagon!).

Compact: Free Time

Living compactly with my free time means being focused and intentional about how I spend it. I want to have the space to do things like go places with each child individually so that they get one on one time. Last weekend I took Elle to a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit after she’d learned about her paintings in pre-school. (You can see my Facebook post about how “successful” our trip was HERE.) I’ve been trying to get out and just go on walks with the four kids after school too… the babies are calm in the stroller and Drew and Elle really open up and don’t fight as we walk. Plus, Drew gets loads of steps on his kid version of a FitBit, which he’s obsessed with, so I see it as a win-win.

Coat  (almost 50% off! and one of my favorite things I own… got it in Paris!!) | Skinny Dark Jeans: Gap  | Heels (I have the non-patent leather version)

Being compact in my free time also means saying yes to things that I’m really excited about doing… like picking out our bathroom tile and grouting it (after AJ laid it). And it means saying no to things that are fantastic (like a book club my good friends are doing) because it’s smack dab in the middle of the twins’ nap on my day when the other two are in school… I knew I needed free time around the house so living compactly means saying no to even really good things.

Major sneak peek of the new tile! I’m obsessed with how it looks with the vanity!

Tile | Vanity

One of the best ways I’ve found to be smart about my free time, or any time for that matter, is to write out everything for the day in my planner and always have the page open throughout the day. I write down five things max to get done and sometimes I’ll schedule specific errands or jobs around the house into my planner instead of just putting them in the to-do column so I know I can fit them into the day. Writing events or tasks into the hourly time block really helps me think through the day and how I’m going to get done what I need to and fit in important things like naps.

Compact: Finances

The other day I parked myself in our office and paid a bunch of bills. I really took time to figure out what I could be doing better on. It’s amazing how easy it is to just pick up a few things here and there and then eventually those few little things really add up. I’m really trying to be more intentional about that this month.

(Side note: if you have ever thought about purchasing these chairs and the cost was always prohibitive they are on the best sale I’ve EVER seen them at right now… at least a $100 less per chair than I paid for ours!)

Compact: Health

Being compact with help means actually having a compact body… a body without loads of extra fat or weight… and also a mind that’s compact, it thinks about what is good and pure and not obsessing over my body.

About five months ago I purchased Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide book. I kept reading testimony after testimony on her Instagram account of real women with real results from her program. At 28 minutes a day it seemed too good to be true… and I just became scared that my results wouldn’t be that good, that I couldn’t do the exercises or that it would be too hard. For five months I made excuses.

And then I was sick of feeling ashamed about the way I was treating my body so I decided to take it slow. The day after Valentine’s I decided to severely restrict my sugar intake, without completely nixing sugar (I did that on Whole 30 and hated it). I love to bake but I always find I eat, to a fault, what I bake. I am terrible at eating in moderation with sugar; I’m so much better at basically an all or nothing approach. So I grabbed some all natural dark hot chocolate and a super dark chocolate bar, broken up into one or two tiny pieces a day, and let those be my sugars at home.

Then after doing that for a couple of weeks I started the program from Kayla Itsines book on March 4. I decided to just go for it even though I was scared of failing. t’s safe to say that three weeks in I’m obsessed with it. There is something more empowering about this program than any other exercise I’ve ever done. I was pretty bad at it the first day and put on my tightest gym shorts so I could get a good “before” shot. I was totally mortified looking at myself in the mirror and feeling like I let myself my bad choices for too long… and I was also really proud of myself at the same time for actually doing something about it. Last Sunday I took my second week progress picture and already notice a small difference. Then tomorrow morning I’ll do the same in the same outfit. It’s not  dramatic but doing something challenging like this has completely shifted how I’m looking at myself. I kept reading in the testimonials that the mind shift was the biggest thing and IT’S SO TRUE!!!

I just purchased the book, which includes the workout guide and descriptions, some pink 5 pound weights from Marshalls and a pink yoga mat. I didn’t want to spend extra money and purchase the app or the e-book when this book seemed to cover all the bases. So far I’ve been more than happy with it! I generally wear these lightweight Nikes to do the workout and then my running shoes (I’ve worn Asics since high school) for my cardio days.

So that’s how my goal is going thus far… I’ve definitely not been perfect at it (did you read about the five month procrastination on the work out program?) but it helps to know that I told people what my goal was, that I chose something manageable and that I know that what I chose is something that will really benefit me and my fam.

Hope you have a great weekend, Friends. Check in with yourself on YOUR 2018 goals!

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Friday, 16 March 2018

Fresh Bedding Mix For My Girl’s Room

Today I’m participating in a fun bedroom blog hop with a few of my favorite blogging pals!  Since I’m currently in the middle of giving my 11 year old daughter’s bedroom a little refresh, I thought I’d share a few of the fun...

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Thursday, 15 March 2018

A Simple Guide to Getting A Gallery Wall “Right”

Gallery walls can admittedly be kind of tricky.  It’s not rocket science, and yet this one simple design element can feel very intimidating.  I’ve known people that have put off hanging a gallery wall in their home for years....

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Monday, 12 March 2018

10 Solid Pillows That Are Anything But Basic

Last week I shared a collection of no-fail pillow pattern combinations to boost your pattern mixing confidence, but today I’d like to give a shout out to the trusty, steadfast solid.  As much as I LOVE pattern, I do believe every space needs...

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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Master Bathroom Before and Plans

We’ve been talking about our spring and summer to-do list and what projects we will tackle around our house. The number one project is to finish painting it (yes, we are “those” neighbors with a half painted house…. so embarrassing). One item on our list is to renovate our master bath. I’ve outlined everything I want for the space below plus a complete outline of what we are planning to spend as it may help you figure out how to budget for a bath renovation in your future. Doing a list like this is also really helpful for AJ when he’s figuring out what projects we will tackle this spring / summer based off what our budget is. Figuring out almost every potential cost makes the renovation go so much more smoothly because then he isn’t freaking out about all these little costs that I forgot about.

Master Bathroom Before

This is the wall opposite of the vanity.

I’m pretty blessed to have a hubby who is handy so won’t be paying a contractor but a handyman we just used estimated it would take him about a week to do the work (tiling the floor and tub and installing the tub, toilet and vanity) and it would cost about $1500 for his labor (this is with it being demoed already). Keep in mind he’s pretty affordable but if you are able to do some things yourself or act as your own general contractor for your project it could save you a lot of money! Even just demoing a bath / kitchen yourself can save money if you have a plumber or electrician do what they need to do first (unhooking the toilet / sink, etc.).

Without further ado…

Master Bathroom Plans

Vanity || Rug || Toilet || Tub || Hexagon Floor Tile || Marble Subway Tile || Bath Faucet || Medicine Cabinet || Towels || Apothecary Jars

The vanity is without a doubt my favorite part, and you know I love the white and Carrarra marble combination. I love the furniture look to it but plan on switching out the pulls like I did on our other vanity. It’s always funny to me how such a traditional design comes with modern pulls and knobs.

I have such a thing for marble. It’s a love affair that’s been going on for about 15 years now. I chose a four inch marble hexagon for the floor. It’s double the price of the two inch version we used for the half bath but I figure this is a great spot to splurge a little. It’s not that large of a space and it’ll make a big impact. The 3 x 6 subway tile is a great price at just under $8 a square foot. I purposely chose a little bit of a nicer tub because I wanted a classic design on the outside. I love the simple rectangle on the apron front of the tub.

My heart hurts a little bit at spending $349 on a toilet… especially when I know the $89 ones we buy for our rentals work and save water just as well… but the design on this toilet really makes it stand apart. It looks stately and goes really well with the tub design (both are Kohler so in our experience it means we’ll have a better chance of the whites matching well).

If at all possible we are going to salvage the custom frame around the vanity mirror… it’s so chunky and unique. I think painting it white will make for a real wow factor. The vanity mirror is a little damaged so we’ll just swap out that part. I like the look of a regular mirror better but because we can only fit a 36 inch vanity in here we are missing loads of storage so I want us to be practical too… and we currently use the medicine cabinet all the time.

I’m going for some simple light pink accessories. The rug isn’t a definite choice yet but I love the price (less than $40!) and for that price I can easily swap it out for another color if I decide I want some blue in here (you know me… every room in our house practically has some blue). These muted pink towels are the color that I’m going for but honestly I’ll probably just grab them at Home Goods.

The apocathary jars are a must have. These are actually from the kids’ bath that we are currently replacing the floor in. They are glass but we’ve never had a problem with Drew or Elle breaking anything or being rough with them. It’s great because I always know when we are running low on soap, cotton balls or q-tips!

Cost Breakdown:

Vanity: $899

Tub Tile (60 one foot square tiles needed): $480

Floor Tile (40 sq. feet needed): $800

Grout etc.: $75

Tub: $684.34

Toilet: $349 + $10 wax ring to install the new toilet

Sconces: keep the existing ones but get new clear glass shades… but in case I can’t find square shades that fit I’m budgeting $150 ($75 each)

Medicine Cabinet: $71.99

Paint: $35

Towels: $50

Rug: $35.99

Plumbing: $350 (AJ can do the sink and toilet because they are going back in the original spots but he isn’t able to hook up the shower

Shower Board: $100 (when the tile comes off in the shower we will most likely need to replace the cement board where the new tile will go)

Toilet Paper Holder and Shower Accessories: $125

We already own the shower curtain (I bought it to stage the flip at Marshalls) and the shower curtain rod.


Total: $4215.32

If you are not able to do this yourself remember to get an estimate from a tiler and a plumber (to hook up the tub, sink and toilet). A handyman may be totally capable in simple tiling jobs! Also, if your town requires a building permit to do a project like this make sure you factor in that cost… it’s not usually too high!

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Building the Perfect Garden Archway Trellis

Our garden’s archway trellis was a new addition in 2017, and one that we’re going to use again this spring. Aside from being a great way to raise climbers in an enclosed garden space, it was the perfect little tunnel for those kids of ours. We have lots of family photos that prove that, but today, think about making one your own before it’s time to plant seeds.

Build raised garden beds with a connecting archway trellis for climbers in the garden.

I use scrap wood for projects whenever possible, so when it came time to build two rectangular boxes for raised garden beds, I turned to some weathered barn wood boards that had already stood up to wind and rain and were still plenty sturdy for a new project. You can see in the below picture that the assembly wasn’t anything complex; cut 8 pieces and lap the corners (4 boards measured 4-feet long, which was determined by the width of my fencing, and 4 measured 1-foot, decided by how much space I had available in the garden). A few screws are all it takes to hold them together. If you’re using 1x boards like I did, be sure that the wood screws are at least 2″ with a 1″ shank, and always predrill the holes to prevent splitting – whether the wood is new or old. Throw it back, Codeman! We miss you, bud.

Building raised garden planter boxes from barn wood for an archway trellis.

Transfer those raised beds into your garden. Position them parallel with a preschooler-sized pathway between them… ~18-24″.

Four pieces of 4′ rebar come in handy for the next part – adding the archway. Put one rebar post in each inner corner so that it’s sturdy and upright, with about 2.5′-3′ of rebar extending above the soil and into the air. The arch itself is a 12′ length of galvanized rolled fencing, and a little feisty to wrangle. Start by weaving one end of the fencing through two pieces of rebar so that it fits down into one of your planter boxes. Create the arch by weaving the other end of fencing through the other two pieces of rebar. Make adjustments until the shape of the arch is perfect. Depending on how tightly the coil of fencing was bound, it might need a little bending and finesse, but it’ll come together, promise!

Building raised garden planter boxes from barn wood for an archway trellis.

Fill the planters to the brim with soil. I used ordinary garden soil and mixed in some nutrients, too. Use it as an opportunity to teach your kids about gardening and seed starting. We used our trellis for cucumbers, and it worked wonderfully even when the plant was loaded and heavy with fruit/veggies. Nasturtiums would be wonderful; climbing beans would be fun too.

Teaching kids to plant and harvest vegetables in their own trellis archway garden.

The height of the archway isn’t quite tall enough for me, a 5’8″ adult, but still big enough for me to easily duck into.

As the plants sprout and grow established leaves and tendrils, train them to grow up the fencing. It’s likely that they’ll catch on themselves, but it doesn’t hurt to guide the end of the plant back and forth upward through the fencing throughout the growing process to assure a neat, passable archway.

Build raised garden beds with a connecting archway trellis for cucumbers in the garden.

You’ll be able to access your harvest from the inside of the trellis as well as out. The wire fencing held strong for us in its first-year trial, even when there were dozens of cucumbers weighing on the archway and putting it to the test. On to year #2!

This DIY trellis is fun for kids to play in, and an easy way to grow lots of climbing vines in your garden – perfect for beans, nasturtiums, and cucumbers!

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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

reader design dilemma: updating a family den on a budget

Shoshana, a reader who lives in Sydney, Australia, wrote in asking for help with her family den/ lounge space.  In her words her style is “colorful, eclectic and artfully mismatched”; but her space doesn’t totally reflect that, so...

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