Tiny: A Story About Living Small

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about paring down my possessions and buying items more intentionally with the hopes of living a simpler, fuller life. Since that time, Nick and I moved from our 2-bedroom apartment into a larger 3-bedroom home and had a baby, which meant acquiring a whole new breed of stuff. (Boppies, Bumbos, and bassinets, oh my!) Even so, we tried to be conscious of what we were bringing into our home, borrowed some larger baby items that could be returned to their rightful owners when we were done with them, and generally tried to continue being conscious consumers.

But still. When you move into a house with a basement — that wonderful, unfinished cavern of spaaaaaace for storing belongings out of sight — thing slowly start to pile up. A few baby outfits turns into bins of baby outfits, turns into disassembled baby gear that was used all of five times, turns into seven bins full of stuff that your mom brings over from her basement now that you have your own basement in which to keep the entirety of your childhood memories…

It adds up.

Over the last few months I’ve attempted to tackle a new room or space each weekend and unclutter a bit, and it’s felt good. Really good. Nick even noticed a change in my demeanor after the basement and mudroom, two of the spaces that were getting to me the most, were majorly cleaned up. I donated a bag of my clothes to Goodwill, sorted some of Graham’s clothes for consignment, got rid of a bunch of plastic things in the kitchen that we’ve slowly been replacing with glass and stainless steel anyway, and generally felt like I could breathe again after freeing up a little space in our home. It felt liberating, and again forced me to reflect on the fact that we actually have far more space than we truly need; it’s just that our space is not always being used to its full potential because of the things that we choose to put in it.

This past weekend, we watched a documentary on Netflix called Tiny: A Story About Living Small, which follows the story of a man who builds his own “tiny house” to live in — a 130 square foot house built on a trailer bed — and tells the story of several others who have decided to live in tiny houses. Apparently, there is a whole tiny house movement happening; these are not mobile homes or RVs or small vacation getaways, but genuinely tiny houses that are lived in year-round and have been planned out in such a way that every inch of space has a purpose. They are often built on trailer beds because that allows the owners to get around building codes (most towns have a square footage minimum that must be upheld for new construction), but for the most part they stay in one place.

Tiny: A Story About Living Small via Claremont Road blog a tiny house | source

We loved seeing how people used their spaces creatively, how they still managed to make them feel warm and uncluttered, and how genuinely happy the homeowners were to be living in such a small space. Some chose to live in a tiny house because of financial reasons while others made the decision based on environmental impact, but the overarching theme was one of a peacefulness and contentedness that the tiny house owners shared.

So… we’re building our own tiny house!

I’m kidding. We’re definitely not. It’s cool and all, but whoa. We couldn’t do it, especially with a toddler. Admirable, for sure, but a bit too extreme for me.

Watching the documentary has further inspired us, though, to strive less for a bigger space and more for better use of our existing space. It’s a conversation we’ve had a lot in the last several years: preventing ourselves from feeling like we “need” a certain amount of space because it’s what others have, and how thoughtful planning and being fully conscious of every item we bring into our home can make all the difference in feeling like we have enough space. It’s so easy to get caught up in feeling like our home should be a certain size based on how others around us are living; when our parents were kids, didn’t their parents buy a modest home when they got married and just pack in as many kids as they ended up having? Today, there seems to be some unwritten rule that you start out with a starter home, and move your way up to a forever home, and the amount of space you have is much more important than the way you fill that space.

Tiny: A Story About Living Small via Claremont Road blog the interior of the tiny house from the documentary | source

The most important factor to us in where we choose to live is our quality of life. Because of that, we currently rent a 3-bedroom rowhome in a town that we love. Now, don’t get me wrong: 3 bedrooms is plenty of room! I fully recognize that it is much, much more than so many people have. Still, to some, our home would probably be considered a starter home because of its square footage, the lack of a garage, the small yard, and the fact that we share walls with neighbors on either side… but the more we’ve thought about it and talked about it, the more we’ve realized that we could continue making it work for us for many years. We want to make it work for us because we love where we are geographically, and that happiness is much more important to us than any walk-in closet or 2-car garage could be.

We could certainly have a larger home in a town that we love less, and we could maybe even own that home, but what would be the point? If having the ability to walk to the market, the park, the post office, and my favorite gift shop all in one fell swoop makes us happier day in and day out, and that means renting a slightly smaller home, we think that is a pretty amazing trade-off.

We may not live in a truly tiny house, but I look forward to making it feel tiny in all the ways that really matter.

Treat yo self

Shortly after Graham’s first birthday, I started feeling really down, and I realized that was due in large part to the fact that I hadn’t done much to take care of myself in a while. The first year of his life was all about survival; since we made it through that first year and, dare I say it, things had gotten a bit easier, it became clear that I needed to get back to taking care of me.

Now, money certainly doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy a few pick-me-ups to make a girl feel good. Here are a few things that have done wonders for my soul and self-esteem lately.

Treat Yo Self: Claremont Road blog

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette
I actually bought this a while ago, but it is the self-gift that keeps on giving. I’ve never been much of a makeup girl, because I’ve never really been great at knowing what makeup looks right on me. I heard enough people rave about this thing that I decided to give it a whirl, and it’s a really great palette that makes it fun (and pretty fool-proof) to do my eye makeup. I definitely don’t wear eye shadow every day, but I wear it more often now that I have this.

Blakeley boots
Early last winter began my search for the perfect riding boot. The pair I had were about five years old and not looking so great, and the leather was stretched out enough that I didn’t thing it was worth having them resoled if they still wouldn’t be a great fit. I sure love Frye boots, but couldn’t stomach the price tag, so I looked around for a pair that would be less than $200 with the same timeless look. I ordered several pairs from Zappos, but unfortunately none of them quite hit the spot — most were too loose around my calves. Then my mom told me that the Blakeley boots I had pinned on Pinterest were on sale at Lands’ End, I ordered them in Cognac, and the stars had finally aligned — they were perfect! I pretty much wore them every day over the winter, and they put a little pep in my step each time I put them on. I’ll surely be wearing these for several more winters to come.

Wacoal bras
Being professionally fitted for a bra is one of the greatest things a new mom can do for her self esteem. I go to a local shop called Gie Gie every few years to get measured, and most recently went a few weeks ago (and left feeling like a new woman). It turns out I have a brand that fits me perfectly, Wacoal, so now there’s no more guessing when I’m in need of new bras. If you’ve never been professionally fitted (i.e., at a place where they know what they’re doing, NOT Victoria’s Secret), go. Do it. Now!

Stitch Fix
Since the baby weight is mostly gone but my old clothes are looking a bit sad and drab, I’ve been in need of some new wardrobe staples and a few statement pieces to spruce things up and feel like a stylish member of society again. A friend referred me to Stitch Fix, and after receiving my first Fix last week, I’m officially hooked. The things I love most about it are that you don’t need to subscribe — you can schedule a Fix whenever you want, and only pay the styling fee once you’ve scheduled one — and that I’m being introduced to pieces that suit my taste and figure but may not be things that I’d pick out in a store if I saw them on the rack. You can keep as many or as few pieces as you want, and send back the rejects in the prepaid envelope included with your Fix. As long as you keep at least one of the five pieces that are sent to you, your styling fee is applied to your final purchase, so you can’t lose. I kept three of the five pieces that I received so far, and I’ve tweaked my style profile to better reflect my sizes so my next Fix is even better.

What have you done lately, in the words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, to treat yo self?

Canceling Cable

2013 was an expensive year for us, with hospital bills, unexpected costs of raising a child (newsflash: they’re expensive!), and just generally boring adult stuff that added up. Over the last few years we have cut back significantly on holiday spending, we rarely eat out anymore, I haven’t bought many new clothes for myself at all in the past year, and neither of us has a habit like smoking or Starbucks that adds up over time — but we were were still feeling stretched.

I have always justified the cost of cable by saying that it was our main source of entertainment, given that we rarely go to restaurants anymore and I can’t even remember the last time Nick and I saw a movie together. It was how we treated ourselves! We deserved something, right?

…Then I got a Verizon bill in December that was our first since our initial two year promotion ended, and I thought that maybe justifications like that were why we were feeling so stretched financially. I decided to really look at how much money we’d be spending on cable over the course of a year — and it wasn’t just cable, but also DVR and a landline that were part of our bundle — and see if we could cut back.

Here’s where it gets sticky and the cable companies suck you in: at first I asked about only canceling our landline that we really never use, but doing so would actually not change our bill at all AND it would take away our “free multi-room DVR for life” promotion. (The “free” part of that is of course not REALLY free, because we were still paying each month to rent the DVR boxes, but I digress.) So we’d be paying the same amount with less to show for it.

Grumble grumble grumble.

I thought about it for a few days and called again to discuss a few other scenarios — what if we drop the landline and change our cable to a package with less channels? What if we drop the landline and (gasp) get rid of the DVR that I love and adore? What if we only have one DVR because in reality we hardly ever use the one in the bedroom? The person on the other end of the line patiently ran through several scenarios with me, but the end result was always pretty much the same: we would cut out quite a bit but barely make a dent in our bill. (And that’s how they convince us all to get all of those things in the first place.)

It was then that we decided to take a drastic measure and do something I never thought we could do: we canceled cable altogether.

Yup, me: TV lover and pop culture aficionado, without cable. Take a moment to let that sink in.

But you know what? It’s been a full month now, and it turns out that it’s not so bad. I still have plenty to watch, and I’m wasting less time watching junk just for the sake of watching television, so there is even a huge bonus to our new set-up.

We still get all network stations in HD, plus PBS and a few random stations, with the bare-bones “local” package from Verizon that goes along with our FIOS internet (it costs the same as if we only had internet, so kind of a no-brainer). We already had AppleTV, my Christmas present to Nick a few years ago, which we use to watch Netflix and listen to music through our television; there are also AppleTV apps for ABC, PBS, and some others. As I mentioned, we have Netflix streaming, which is $7.99 a month, and, to be able to watch current shows more quickly after they air since we rarely have a chance to watch them when they’re live, we decided to also subscribe to Hulu Plus, also $7.99 a month. This is essentially a replacement for DVR since almost everything we used to record is available on Hulu Plus.

For shows that are not available on Hulu or Netflix, chances are they are available online. One of my guiltiest pleasures is Pretty Little Liars (yes, I am, in fact, a fourteen-year old girl), and it is available on ABCFamily.com or the ABC Family app the day after it airs.

Wondering how that all adds up? Here’s the math…

Money saved by cutting cable, DVR and landline: $73 per month (including taxes)
Cost of Netflix and HuluPlus: $15.98 per month

TOTAL SAVINGS PER MONTH: $57.02
TOTAL SAVINGS PER YEAR: $684.24

We’re still enjoying the same shows we always did, so I’d say that’s a big WIN all around. I honestly hardly notice the difference, and I waste much less time watching episodes of Friends on TBS that I’ve already seen 15 times. As much as I love Friends, my time is too valuable to watch the same episode for the 16th time, amiright?

Have you taken the plunge and canceled cable? Or have you taken any other drastic measures to save money?

Coming up for air

It has been a very long time since I’ve blogged. It turns out that balancing a family and a business leaves little time for much else, and I’m pretty okay with that most days. But then there are days when I miss doing things for myself — reading, baking, creating (non-work things), and blogging are at the top of the list. I make promises to myself to get back into some old hobbies, and then Graham looks at me with puppy dog eyes, hands me a book to read to him as he crawls into my lap, and my hobbies go out the window again — because, really, what’s more important than spending time with my littlest best friend?

(Skip ahead to a few days later when I yearn for some hobbies again, puppy dog eyes, yada yada yada… rinse and repeat.)

I don’t typically get into New Years resolutions, but after the fog that was the first few months of parenthood in late 2012, to the full year of adjustments, kidney stones (yup, again!) and hospital bills that was 2013, I’m ready for 2014 to be a brighter and more goal-oriented year. Graham was a daily bright spot in my life, of course, but I still need to take some time for myself this year to be a better mom, wife, friend and designer. Even small things go a long way in helping my sanity and well-being. On the top of my list:

• finish reading Mockingjay, which I was in the middle of reading when Graham was born and I never picked it up again. Oops! I’d also like to read more in general.
• Get back into an exercise routine. (Damn you, Exercise, for being necessary, because I truly loathe you in the hours leading up to you… and then feel a million times better afterwards. You’re a jerk, exercise.)
• Re-learn knitting and get better at it. My mother-in-law taught me how to knit years ago, and after making scarves for everyone I know, I abandoned it and never learned how to make anything more interesting. I’d like to give it another shot.
• See some live theatre again, and maybe volunteer at our local theatre. Tickets can get expensive so this isn’t something I’ve done for quit some time, but I really miss going to shows and being part of a theatre community.
• Blog more. First I need to redesign this blog that I strongly dislike, which will motivate me to write more. I need to write down post ideas before they escape me, yet at the same time stop caring if it’s perfect or interesting before I post it. Because who cares? I like having readers, but I also blog because I like doing it. Whether I have 5 or 5,000 readers shouldn’t really matter.

What have you been up to lately, friends? Any goals for 2014?

the homestretch

Well now. How did that happen? All of a sudden I’m two days away from my due date, and soon enough there will actually be another person in our family! It’s all a little surreal and I’m sure I still won’t truly believe it until we are settled into our new roles as mom and dad. Oh, who am I kidding — I’m sure there will be moments of disbelief for years to come! I mean: us, parents?? Get outta here!

Aside from a pretty miserable, exhaustion- and nausea-filled first trimester, I have to say that the rest of pregnancy has been pretty good to me. Once I got my energy and appetite back in the second trimester, I felt great. There were certainly a few miserable days (particularly during one of the several heatwaves we saw roll through this summer), but since I work from home and have the luxury of not going anywhere if I don’t need to, it wasn’t all that awful. It helps to have a husband who is willing to do all the food shopping when his wife cries at the thought of stepping foot outside on a 98 degree day!

Being pregnant in the summer does get a bad rap, but if you don’t have to be outside too much, I swear it has its bonuses. Example: being able to slip on loose flip flops every day when your feet are swollen is way better than having to zip up tight winter boots. Or having the ability to throw on a light dress or a tunic and leggings every day instead of a heavy winter coat that has to fit over your big belly. Or the ability to float in a pool and feel weightless for a while :) It truly wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Dare I say it, I enjoyed it. (As long as there was central air. No central air, no bueno.)

So yes, along the way I have become one of those women who enjoys being pregnant — I never thought that would happen. And two days before my due date, I am feeling great and honestly not in a rush to get it over with if he decides to stay put for a few more days. I’m excited to meet him, but also enjoying soaking up the last days before our lives change forever. Please don’t hate me, other pregnant women who are over it!

This was a week ago at 38 weeks and some odd days. And this is pretty much my uniform: leggins and a tunic. This isn’t even a maternity tunic — I got it at Target last summer and I now wear it an embarrassing amount. I have an excuse, right?

My biggest cravings have been fruit and pretty much anything with fruit in the name or ingredients. Real fruit, lemonade, fruit snacks, fruity popsicles, orange soda, apple sauce. Fruit, fruit, and more fruit. I have also partaken in plenty of chocolate and salty snacks, so I am, by all means, an equal opportunity craver.

The nursery is mostly done (save for curtains and a rug, which we really don’t need and I’ll get around to getting eventually), and it is most definitely my favorite room in the house. We finally got ourselves a fancy dSLR camera, but I need a better wide angle lens before I can share the room’s true awesomeness with you. Until then, here’s a sneak peek!

So now… we just wait. It’s hard to believe that this journey is almost over, and the next one is about to begin. There were times when I felt like he would never get here! I’m a little terrified of labor and all of the unknowns and worries that come along with parenting, but mostly I’m excited for Nick and I to meet the new love of our lives.

happiness and sadness: a story of parallels

At nearly 23 weeks pregnant, the reality of what’s to come is setting in more each day. I have a growing belly, and I feel kicks (so many kicks!) pretty regularly now. I may actually believe that there’s a person growing inside of me now, whereas for so long it seemed like it would never really be REAL. I had a somewhat miserable, nauseous and exhausting first trimester, and while at that time I couldn’t possibly understand those women who claimed to loooooove being pregnant, I must say that I’m enjoying it much more at the moment. No, I don’t enjoy the middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks, or the back pain, or the expanding boobs, or feeling completely winded every time I go up stairs — but overall, I can finally grasp their enjoyment just a bit more.

The reality is that despite the negatives, I’m just so grateful to be pregnant. Because last November, Nick and I suffered the unimaginable loss of our first baby. On November 10, 2011, at ten weeks pregnant, I was told by a very apologetic stranger that our baby no longer had a heartbeat.

It was shocking, devastating, heartbreaking, unimaginably bad news.

I had had no symptoms of a miscarriage — the heartbeat simply stopped. On November 11, I went through the terrible process of having a D&C. The hospital staff was incredibly nice and sympathetic, but waiting around for hours on an empty stomach in a paper hospital gown and ugly socks that did nothing to keep the rest of my shivering body warm, all for a fifteen minute procedure, was not my idea of a good time. I just wanted to crawl into bed and cry and eat ice cream and be with my husband. It was a horrible, horrible day.

The weirdest thing about the D&C was that when the anesthesia wore off and I woke up, I didn’t feel like anything had happened. If you hadn’t told me why I was there, I wouldn’t have known. I essentially just felt like I went to sleep pregnant, and woke up knowing I was no longer pregnant. It was very strange, and very disheartening. I felt no pain or physical discomfort — I simply just wasn’t pregnant anymore.

Ironically, the day that followed, November 12, was the “Meet Ginger” party my mom and I had planned for extended family and family friends who had not yet met my niece. Nick and I got through the party, and it was actually a good distraction to talk to people who were mostly oblivious to what we were going through (save for the obvious immediate family members), but it was also very draining at the end of the day. I love my niece more than anything, but there’s no avoiding that the timing of this celebration was painful.

The weeks that followed were not great. It’s amazing how attached you can become to something in such a short period of time, but we never thought the worst would happen to us, so why wouldn’t we have gotten attached? I had what I referred to as “the sads” for a while; so did Nick. We usually took turns having bad days, which allowed one of us to be the strong one while the other was a mess. I got through Thanksgiving with Nick’s huge extended family okay, but simply could not stop crying the next day and had to stay in bed while Nick explained to everyone at their day-after leftover extravaganza why I wasn’t there. We moved on December 2, which was pretty much the worst timing ever. Suddenly the bedroom that was supposed to become the nursery was just another bedroom, and we were buried under boxes that we didn’t have the emotional energy to unpack.

We had already agreed to keep Christmas low-key with our families, so thankfully we did not have to do a lot of holiday prepping. We all bought gifts for my niece, Ginger, but otherwise kept it pretty simple. I don’t think I could have handled much more that month. Nick and I exchanged gifts that were thoughtful but not overly elaborate, and we were both blubbering messes while opening them; they felt like hopeful tears at that point, though, and we just felt lucky to have each other.

Things started to look up a little bit around Christmas as we continued to cope but felt a little more of a push to move on with our daily lives; while the doctor had advised us to wait a few cycles to try again, we (ignorantly?) didn’t really listen.

On January 4, I just felt a little different. I felt like something was up. After the third or fourth night of having really weird, vivid dreams (which I had had during my first pregnancy), I sent Nick out for a pregnancy test and my hopeful suspicions were confirmed. I was pregnant again!

We were happy… but not yet excited. We just couldn’t let ourselves be hurt again and we didn’t want to set ourselves up for disappointment and heartbreak. I suddenly felt really dumb and worried that maybe we should have heeded the doctor’s advice and waited, even though I was given a clean bill of health shortly after the D&C — I didn’t want to put myself or our baby in any danger.

Fortunately, everything seemed to be okay and, now almost 23 weeks in, I can say that it has been a fairly uneventful (in the best way possible) pregnancy. I know how immensely lucky we are that it happened again so quickly — I know some people try for years with no success, and here I was, pregnant again less than two months after a miscarriage. We have not let our good fortune go unnoticed.

We were cautiously optimistic for so long at the beginning of this pregnancy, but hearing the heartbeat at 10 weeks felt like the biggest milestone ever and we finally let ourselves celebrate a little. Seeing our baby bouncing around at the 12 week ultrasound was unreal; learning that “it” is a healthy little “he” at our 20 week ultrasound was downright euphoric. And it finally started to feel really, really real.

But… there’s always a but…

The joy of this pregnancy and this baby has not washed away the sadness of the first baby that we lost. Not at all. It’s something I never would have understood had someone explained it to me a year ago, but now that I’ve lived through it, the best way I can explain it is that our sadness and our happiness both exist and are parallel to one another. After all, when someone dies, we don’t just find a replacement for them; this situation is no different. While this pregnancy happened so quickly after the miscarriage, it does not erase the memory of what we lost. We’ll never forget that first baby. We are still overcome with sadness sometimes for the little one we’ll never meet, regardless of how elated we are to meet this new little one in September.

I often see other women who are further along than I am and the memories of my first first trimester and those horrible days of bad news and surgery come flooding back. I was supposed to be them. June 6, my first due date, will be a very sad day this year. Will the joy of our baby’s birth in September overshadow that? Of course. But it won’t make it go away. It’s not that simple.

A miscarriage is truly the loss of a loved one — there just isn’t that physical recognition of the person being mourned. So many people keep it private and never tell those they surround themselves with what they are going through. We decided to approach our miscarriage as we would any other devastating loss — we told people. We told the family and friends who knew we were pregnant, and we eventually told the family and friends who had not yet known we were pregnant. And honestly, it was the best thing we ever could have done for ourselves. Friends brought us food so we didn’t have to think about cooking when all we wanted to do was sit and cry. People sent cards and checked in on us. Friends and family cried with us and let us cry to them. We weren’t looking for pity, but feeling the love and sympathy from those around us was really important.

I joked with friends at one point that, while we were talking about it, I wasn’t going to post about the miscarriage on my blog or anything. But after several months of perspective and hearing so many stories of people I know who went through the same thing but never talked about it, I thought that maybe sharing our story would help someone else. Talking about it is not easy or fun, but for us it was the best therapy we could have asked for during a very sad time.

coming soon.

I’ve really fallen behind on a lot of things lately: blogging, decorating our new place, keeping in touch with friends. But, I have a very good excuse.

I’ve been keeping a secret.

A secret that, for quite a while, sucked a lot of energy out of me. I have a feeling it will all have been worth it in another 22 weeks, though…

We’ll be meeting our little one in September, and we are so excited!

I’m officially getting into nesting mode (read: feeling annoyed at every little thing that is not yet “complete” in our new place) so I’ll be sharing some decorating progress soon, now that I finally have some energy back. I’m sure I’ll also have some updates on other baby preparation-type things in the near future, including registering for a bunch of stuff that we have no idea yet what to do with! It should be an adventure, for sure.

a pop of red

I’ve been excited to decorate our new place… yet terrified at the same time. I’ve never felt like I have a knack for decorating like I do designing something on a page. Committing to a piece of furniture makes me a nervous wreck. I gravitate towards colors and patterns and usually buy things accordingly, but then I get them home and realize they’re not right for the space, way too loud, or have no relationship to anything else in the space. More often than not, I am tired of it in five minutes and regret making such bold choices.

I’m trying a new approach where I set some guidelines for myself, don’t buy anything impulsively, and if I see something that looks bold and awesome — I realllllly think about it (and usually end up realizing it’s too much and I need to scale it back a bit). So far, so good.

For the walls, I fell in love with Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue… but then, after painting a handful of test swatches throughout the first floor and upstairs hallway (which would all eventually be painted the same color), I realized it was waaaaayy too much blue. After a few more Goldilocks trials and errors — you know, this one’s too bold, this one’s too boring, etc. — I landed upon Sherwin Williams Sea Salt, a muted grayish blueish green (that’s the technical description). It was perfect.

We already have charcoal grey couches which will stay, along with a coffee table that Nick made, but we need some other pieces to tie everything together… and that’s where I get stuck.

Enter: Design*Sponge At Home by Grace Bonney, editor of the Design*Sponge blog. I got a copy of this book a few months ago when I attended a signing at Terrain (Grace was super nice, by the way!), and it has become my decorating bible as of late. I love that pretty much all of the sneak peeks featured in the book are far from what you’d call matchy-matchy, yet they still have a very pulled together look despite being very eclectic. So many of them speak to me and remind me why I’ve never been drawn to buying matching sets of furniture.

In deciding how to decorate the downstairs of our new home, I looked for rooms in the book that had similar wall colors to Sea Salt, and just rooms that I generally liked. After browsing a handful of pages one afternoon, it struck me that so many rooms had one great thing in common: amidst calming neutrals, there was often a distinct pop of red that stood out as a focal point, and really tied the room together. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few rooms found on Design*Sponge (the blog this time):

image 1 // image 2 // image 3 // image 4

Coincidentally, a lovely friend also gave us a gorgeous red cast iron trivet as a housewarming gift, and I was sold. Pops of red — yes! Why didn’t I think of it sooner?

Thus, our color palette was born: mostly warm neutrals, with pops of teal (I mean, I’m still me, after all) and fire engine red. It looks pretty subdued to me here, but I think that’s a good sign that I won’t get sick of it in five minutes.

I’m thinking a red statement lamp would be perfect sitting atop this pedestal end table that was my nana’s and just came to live with us over the weekend:

We have yet to hang anything on the walls and I’m sure many more colors will come into play then — but having this new red revelation has me excited to decorate so it looks like grownups live here. Grownups who have an eclectic yet pulled-together style.

What’s your decorating method?

it’s been so long!

Oh hey, late November. What’s up?

We just returned from spending Thanksgiving with Nick’s family, and there was no shortage of mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, or leftover turkey for making delicious moist maker sandwiches. It’s been so long since I posted that I don’t really know where to begin as I attempt (yet again) to blog a bit more regularly! How about a numbered list of mundane details? Yes, that sounds exciting!

1.) We’re moving. After seven years in the same apartment. And I loathe, loathe, loathe moving. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t done it in seven years. But yeah, Saturday is the big day, and I’m dreading it, but hopefully everything will go smoothly (with the help of some great friends and family and a rented UHaul). I’m expecting the month of December to be a bit chaotic, but I’m hoping that we’ll feel somewhat settled upon the new year.

2.) We’re still going to be renting. After house-hunting a bit, we were still a bit nervous to buy. Everyone will tell you that “it’s a buyer’s market” until they’re blue in the face, but that still doesn’t mean it’s the right time for everyone to buy. The reality is that it’s going to be a buyer’s market for a loooong time. For now, we were anxious to have a bit more space (especially storage), a little yard, central air (I’ll crank that baby UP when the time comes) and off-street parking, so in order to get some upgrades while we wait for the perfect house to come along at a time that’s right for us, continuing to rent was our best option. We’re looking forward to be moving into our new house which has lots of charm (and a basement for STORAGE!), plus, renting has its perks: when something breaks, we can just call the landlord :) I’m sure there will be some DIY decorating posts in this blog’s near future, so stay tuned.

3.) I’ve still been blogging regularly, just not here! I blog once or twice a week over on the Cog Blog, the official blog of Curious & Co. Occasionally we post about our own work and goings on, but we also blog about cool and interesting finds in the design world. Have you been reading?

4.) That segues me into the exciting news that we now have an online shop for our new Curious & Co. stationery products! You’ll find some colorful note cards (sneak peek above) in stock now, but check back very soon for even more papery goodness.

5.) Ginger is now seven months old and I can’t even handle the cuteness. I’m resisting the urge to spoil that little niece of mine rotten when Christmas rolls around. We can’t wait to spend Christmas morning with her.

That’s about all for me… I have a few more posts in mind for the coming week if I’m not buried under boxes (but I guess I shouldn’t make any promises). I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!

101 in 1001: the verdict

Remember in early 2009 when I began the 101 in 1001 project with gusto and determination? Well, 1001 days came and went faster than I ever imagined they could, and my 101 in 1001 officially ended last month.

The verdict? I completed 58 out of 101 items.

I’m happy with this number and proud of myself. I did a lot of things I may not have attempted had I not set the goal for myself, which is awesome. There are also a bunch of things I didn’t do, either because they became not as important to me after 2.5 years, they were difficult to keep track of (like doing something X number of times in X days/weeks), or I simply didn’t have the time for them. There are some things I’d still like to accomplish soon, like plan better for retirement, finish (or start!) putting together some photo albums, and be better about keeping in touch with my friends who live far away, so I’ll continue keeping those things on my radar.

Not to toot my own horn, but I also think it’s worth mentioning that I accomplished some things that weren’t ever on my list, like getting published (in a little magazine called Martha Stewart Weddings) and becoming an aunt! Okay, so I didn’t put a lot of work into that last one, but if spending time with my niece prevented me from checking more things off my list, I can certainly handle that. Spending a week playing with her down the shore was much more fulfilling than watching all of AFI’s top 100 movies, without a doubt.

I’m not sure if I’ll create another 101 in 1001 list, but I do like the idea of having a physical list of goals to stay motivated. Have you done your own 101 in 1001 project, or something similar? What was the outcome for you?

If you’re curious, below is my original list with completed items marked in yellow! You can also learn more about the project on my original post.

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