Just Make It Work.

We don’t always have the luxury of customizing a space exactly how we see it in our heads. Open floor plans, high ceilings, oversized windows…not always a possibility. Even if those were do-able, you may not want to put yourself through what could turn out to be, a construction nightmare. Money, time, patience (or lack thereof) all come into play and sometimes, you just have to work with what you have. The good thing is – often times when you’re forced to work with what you have, you’ll find that what you have, can actually work.

My husband and I were gifted a small dose of “You can’t always get what you want” as our home kindly offered up a “small space” challenge of its own – the dreaded “porch turned interior room” project. Our little, extra room. I wanted to view it as a bonus but it actually felt more like a burden. What would its purpose be? A den, an office, a sad excuse for a library in a home where the word itself simply sounds ridiculous?

We’re certainly not the first homeowners to tackle a tiny space. Tiny, we could handle but tiny and overlooked or not usable, I could not.  The room is tucked away behind our living room and my first concern was, how can it be useful or inviting if no one noticed it was even there? Frustrated by this thought, my goal right then and there became to make it enticing by way of intrigue. I vowed to make the room intriguing, usable and of course, beautiful. And so followed a course of action based on intrigue, purpose and beauty – three things I want to have when I grow up. 😉

Step 1: Choose Room Color
With all our rooms, choosing the paint color came first. This room has ample natural light so even dark wall colors would have sufficed but I chose to maximize the already light and bright by choosing a nice, light green – more specifically, Benjamin Moore – Aganthus Green

Step 2: Choose Room Mood
Unlike with people, you can choose the mood of your room. I quickly convinced myself that this is indeed, a bonus room – a space to do anything we want including one or all of the following (probably not simultaneously): read, relax, nap, peruse the internet, reminisce over photos, flip through magazines, write, dream, work and the occasional push-up.

Step 3: Furnish the Room
I asked myself, “What might be helpful when doing one or all of the above?” A work space or desk (to write, work or peruse the web), chairs OR a couch (to relax, read or nap), a bookcase (to store all the books and pictures), a floor lamp (to see), a vintage rung ladder (for the occasional magazine) and a throw (to keep one comfy while doing all of it OR just because I want one).

Let’s break down how checking off this list went:

Finding a desk was challenging.  Once again, my Pinterest board built dreams that became crushed after my actual “search to purchase” activity and I came up empty. Fortunately, I was able to find many a tutorial on how to make the desk I envisioned and it turned out to be not overwhelmingly hard.

To make our desk:
1.) Decide on measurements.
2.) Go to your favorite hardware store. Mine happens to be Home Depot. Choose your boards and have them cut to size.
3.) Purchase stain of choice, metal connectors and screws.
4.) Lightly sand edges & surface.
5.) Stain and allow to dry fully.
6.) Lay boards out on a work surface spaced to your liking and enlist someone to assist holding in place for attaching.
7.) Get over your need for everything to come out perfect. (I’m constantly working on this)
8.) Attach the hairpin legs. I ordered mine from www.hairpinlegs.com

A couch won out over chairs but choosing the right size couch was aggravating because the size we wanted, would not fit through our front door and we were forced to downsize, compromising a bit on the style.

Tip #1: Triple check the measurements of the door it will be coming through before making the purchase.

Furniture is not like clothes. You can’t try it first and so despite measuring numerous times, I still held my breath up until the moment it made it safely through the threshold. However, fitting through the front door is not the only success you need. It also needs to look appropriate in its intended space, which for us turned out to be a big fail. Even this smaller version couch looked way too big where we planned for it to go.  It protruded too far into the belly of our room, leaving little space to do that one push-up.

Tip #2: Always have a back-up plan.

Unfortunately, swapping it with our living room couch (which was my back-up plan), did not work.

Tip #3: Always have a back-up to your back-up plan.

This tip was not just an afterthought. I did, in fact have a Plan C.  And it did in fact work, sliding perfectly into the nook on the far wall completing my vision of that inviting space.  What’s more inviting than a comfy looking couch? My husband proves that nothing is. 😉


As I mentioned, this room gets ample light during the day but at night, you’d trip over yourself. Enter, floor lamp. I really craved one from Crate and Barrel but I opted for the cheaper Target version, which does the job just the same and still makes me smile.


Some finishing touches included curtains, which were hung with our old apartment rods (sprayed gold) and a mini display of some photos and other artsy decor.


*Framed stamp collage made by me but stamps courtesy of Grandma & Grandpa’s travels.





*Typewriter, courtesy of my mom’s younger days.

“I’m not a beauty but I’m pretty.
I’m not a genius but I’m witty.”





*Dining Room chair turned desk chair, courtesy of  World Market.






I also became obsessed with a recycled pallet project that I had seen on pinterest and just had to make it. It was work and I ran into some trouble getting the right coloring on the wood but the end result is close to what I was hoping for and it was a cheap project overall.

Free pallet courtesy of a Facebook search
Existing mason jars colored with mod podge, blue food coloring & my oven
Faux flowers from Michaels
Pipe clamps from Home Depot
Some nails & screws


Still missing – a rung ladder but otherwise…..voila! A room we rarely use.



I’ll briefly preface this by mentioning that this blog is a serious shift of gears from my past entries. I will not be updating you on my DIY projects or home making progress. Instead, I will share a very personal experience in hopes of shining some light on a rarely talked about but painfully tragic, heartbreaking topic.  This is not a cry for attention or request for sympathy but rather a disclosure of a personal experience that is common, yet ironically enough, incredibly lonely.  If you are going through, have gone through or will go through this, know that you are not alone.  If you are someone who has never given this a second thought (or maybe never a thought at all), please recognize its invisible existence.

I’ll start here….

My husband has jokingly told me for years that life is not all sunshine and rainbows. I usually shrug him off with a sarcastic smile and move on.  But now, I definitely see how some people may agree.

Just over a year ago, my husband and I faced the biggest loss of our lives – our first pregnancy ending in miscarriage. Nine weeks in, we lost what in that short period of time had motivated us and driven our days and nights. All I had ever wanted was gone in the blink of an eye.

A couple of months ago, I was finally ready to share that private journey of heartbreak and healing. I was ready to share my very real struggle with forgiveness of what I considered an unfair situation and prove that forgiveness and acceptance, which only comes with time, can lead to healing and did eventually lead to mine.

As someone who has been “emotionally wounded”, the phrase “Time heals all wounds” becomes painfully untrue and implausible. Time will not heal however it can help and eventually, time allowed me to view our loss as much of a miracle as was the conception.

Although everlastingly sad and tragic, it was a necessary part of our growth both as individuals and as a couple. We suffered greatly but survived and nothing was left to do but learn and grow.  Sadly, my fears would always be present but I was not going to allow them to overshadow my dream of becoming a mom.

What prepared me most when deciding to share our story was my anticipation of the following announcement;

“Today, we are simultaneously happy and hesitant to announce that we are expecting our first child in late Spring of 2016. I am happy but would be lying if I did not tell you that I have difficulty feeling happy and was hesitant at the start to even accept the pregnancy. I truthfully will never feel secure in carrying this baby. I will never be able to relax and fully enjoy my pregnancy. I will constantly worry and fear for my unborn child and I refuse to feel guilty for that. I have been hoping that my fears would lessen over time but the memory of loss is strong and looking back is still very difficult. Our first pregnancy began with joy and ended in tears. This pregnancy began with fear and we pray it ends in joy. My husband and I remain cautiously optimistic and are living solely on hope, faith and love because that is all we can do.”

But for the second heart wrenching time in a row, that announcement did not endure time and as I read my statement from above, a tremendous wave of guilt washes over me. Two days before Thanksgiving, we faced the loss of our second child, this time, 11 weeks in and I stood face to face with every fear that plagued me from the start. Lingering loss coupled with new loss, the grief returning now doubled in size. I knew it was not my fault but the pain was immeasurable and I found a strange need to place blame. I’ve since gotten over that.

Unfortunately, we learned that glue only holds for so long and for the past two months, my husband and I have been picking up the pieces of our shattered life for the second time.  But the truth is, we have to move on.  We aren’t given a choice.  And despite how very difficult it is, this second loss does not have to change my story, my dream or my message.

As a little girl, I didn’t dream of my wedding day and I never spent time worrying about what I was going to be when I grew up because I always knew. I was going to be a mom and despite all that has happened, I still want that. Although our hearts are broken we will continue along the path that was chosen for us. As in many situations, the physical healing was hard but came to an end. I count my blessings, not naive to the fact that there are so many unlucky ones in other situations that are forced to live with physical pain that will never heal.  I think of them as I focus on my eternal emotional healing, which will be hard enough. If I’m being honest, some days I don’t want to get out of bed. Some days I cry so much, I can’t see. But yesterday, I only teared up once and one day soon, I will not cry. I have made a choice to do my best to carry on. My goal is to focus on what has gone right in my life and each time I do, a bit of hope returns.

I am grateful for many things – my many saving graces including the doctors and nurses who took such great care of me. The compassion they demonstrated was truly heartwarming and reminds me that I am one of the lucky ones. They gave me back peace of mind and most importantly, they kept me healthy.

I am grateful for my husband who stayed by my side and made my healing his priority. I only hope his caring for me, helped lead to the start of his own healing. Without his love and support, I could not go on. I ask husbands to please be supportive of your wives even when you admittedly don’t understand the extent of their grief. Please realize that it’s not over when it’s over. And wives, your husbands are grieving too. Be kind to each other.

Anyone’s story can change in an instant. There are others who have walked our walk or who will walk the same path that we have been taken down. I’m writing this so they feel accompanied on that journey. There’s a strength that comes from sharing and I want nothing more than for my strength in moving on, to inspire others. Don’t be afraid to share your story, no matter what it is. Everyone is plagued by something different and I’m a true believer that as humans, we were not created to go it alone. Sometimes, things are just too big and too scary to face in silence.

I am grateful for family and friends who act as my daily reminders that happiness once was alive and well and is just around the corner. As corny as it sounds, I am grateful for online communities that have allowed me to read stories of so many others and provided me with a platform to share, discuss, comfort and acknowledge. It is a unique pain, a unique sadness and a very lonely time, so we must rely on others to keep us hopeful.  In the same vein, there will be times when people will say the wrong things, despite their good intentions. Don’t be hurt by that.  I read somewhere that “people only understand from the level of their perception” and it makes so much sense to me now. Be kind and tolerant of that. Some people will never say anything. Lack of acknowledgement can hurt but don’t let it.

People will be having babies and announcing pregnancies all around you.  It arouses anger (sometimes embarrassing, uncontrollable rage) anxiety, bad memories and will bring your heartache all the way back up to the surface. But that’s life and I for one, would never wish my situation upon anyone else.  Be happy for them because you would want them to be happy for you.

Despite my unintentional guidance above, I know that advice is not what a grieving person really needs. Opinions, no matter how well-intentioned or innocent, don’t help. Experiencing this loss has allowed me to be empathetic towards others going through the same thing and in feeling that, I feel accompanied.  I have found simple acknowledgement, love, support and companionship to be key and isolation and silence to be great enemies. Talking, sharing and learning from countless women who have experienced pregnancy loss has made me stronger. They are the ones who are capable of understanding the situation and providing the love and support that I need. They have shown me strength in numbers and reiterated (even if only to reassure themselves) that self blame is senseless. Whether the reason is known or forever remains unknown, it is never your fault.

I don’t believe that “Everything happens for a reason.” nor do I believe “Time heals all wounds”. God did not intentionally hurt me and time won’t make this go away. Instead of forcing myself to believe those precepts, I will focus on the significant process of grieving and hope that through that, I will grow and be okay.

In my own life, I vow to pick up the pieces at my own pace. I will grieve and heal as only I know how. I will be good to myself. I will always miss the future I was supposed to have but I’ll hold tight to the plans I had made. Life may not be all sunshine and rainbows but you can’t have the rainbow without the rain and the sun always finds a way to break through the clouds. I’ll allow myself to see that. I will wait for that rainbow.

“It’s about living life with such strength and emotion. And knowing that waves are just part of the ocean.”


There Will Always Be More To Do.

Do it, so you can do it again.

We’re quickly approaching the one year mark and are still unable to say that one room is “finished” so I can relate to those who feel overwhelmed and who have lost hope in their home decorating abilities. Yet for some reason, I remain dedicated and more motivated than ever when it comes to our home.  I know it’s a process and you can’t always get to everything but I actually look forward to the point where I can say, “Oh – this is done?  Let’s do it again!” 🙂  Just don’t tell my husband I said that.

When you move into a house, an almost immediate need is for an area that can be used and enjoyed, not just by the home-dwellers themselves but by friends and family as well.  Despite everyone’s best intentions, that space usually ends up being the kitchen. I’m sure you’re familiar with those parties where everyone crowds in the kitchen while the inviting chairs and cozy couches in the next room, remain uninhabited.  I always wondered why that was but when I stop to think about it, one of my main sources of happiness is food so……it kind of makes sense.   Our kitchen however, with it’s tiny square footage, lack of seating and not much counter space doesn’t have a chance in hell of stealing our living room’s thunder.  So by default, our “go to” space is the living room.

Our living room has been mostly done for a while now because we were eager for that “go to” space.  Unfortunately, the space we had to work with posed problems when trying to decide on the layout of the furniture.  With its modest size and long narrow shape, “How practically, comfortable could we possibly make it?” was my biggest, most constant nagging concern.

We are lucky enough to have a working, wood burning fireplace, which was on my “must have” list when searching for a home.  Last winter, it was warm and inspiring despite the lack of warmth and inspiration of the room. It’s wrapped by a simple white mantle that I absolutely love and that in most spaces would be the perfect focal point – just not ours.  Turning our furniture towards the mantle would cut off the openness of our space and would create havoc when trying to maneuver from room to room. It would also force us to place the TV above it, which would place a major strain on our necks and would take away from the mantle’s aesthetic appeal.  We had to come up with something else but turning our seating away from the fireplace didn’t feel right. What is the point of having a fireplace, if you can’t see it?  This was the first time that I felt totally stuck.


Growing up, my mom was constantly re-arranging the furniture and I can remember at least four different ways she could make it work, each time giving the room a fresh, new feel.  Our living room doesn’t allow for the luxury of options.  Oh – the things we take for granted when young. 😉

I didn’t want to wing it because;
a) to me, this is a crucial room to get right
b) furniture is expensive and if you must revert to plan B and change the layout, you need to be able to re-work the furniture you already have.

In this frustrating moment, I learned that Pinterest and Google can only take one so far and in that time of despair, hiring a professional entered my mind.  To you, this probably seems drastic and unnecessary and is only something “well-off” people would even consider.  My husband would straight up tell me the same.  So, I didn’t share that thought.  Instead, I put it on hold.

For a few days, I pretended to move on.  And then this…

If you live in our area and haven’t been to The Farmhouse Store , you’re missing out. They sell everything from small household gifts to large pieces of furniture that can be customized (size, wood color, fabric, etc.) to your liking.  They host a charming mix of country and chic – which to me is utter perfection.  While in there perusing one day, we learned of their in-home consultation service to which the cost goes directly towards your store purchase.  We knew we would be making at least one or two large purchases from the store, so why not bring someone in to help out with our living room debacle?  For me and now my husband (phew!), it was a no-brainer.  Essentially since (despite dad’s voice echoing strong in my mind that “nothing is free”) it would be free!

Tip #1:  Free opportunities are out there. Of course they come with a cost. 😉

We ended up loving the consultation process (with local designer Michelle May) and the results that followed.  She came into our home, eager and ready to make it our own and we could not be happier with the results.  Turns out that the seating did not have to face the mantle for it to remain a powerful, beautiful presence. Having Michelle come in to assist remains one of our best home decisions to date.  Our living room is actually featured on her website! How cool!

Once we chose the color scheme and the overall feel of the room (thanks to Michelle), we were ready to roll!


Tip #2:  Don’t feel pressured to make everything match.  You can choose furniture from separate collections or stores, in different colors and incorporate a couple different patterns.  Pieces don’t always have to come as a set.  You can definitely save money this way too!

Tip #3:  There is no need (other than your own personal desire) to buy everything all at once.  Our TV rested on two, small black Ikea end tables for months until I finally discovered our media stand in the middle of Home Goods.  That’s okay.


Tip #4: Lighting is important.  During the day, light is abundant in this room but at night, it is impossibly dark.  Making sure there is ample light when the sun goes down, is critical.


I’m happy to say, other than maybe adding some pictures and nick nacks here or there, we definitely have our comfortable common area completed and we’re ready to share with all our friends and family.

Now, on to the next!

Life’s not just about the big things….

Take it easy? Relax?  Well, I don’t.  I like to suck up all my free time doing things.  At home, that time is chewed up my my inability to take breaks and my can do, must do attitude results in numerous side projects.  So, while I take some time to brainstorm my next entry, I want to share some of those smaller projects with you.

FlowerLet’s start with beautifying the outdoors.  Goal in mind, curb appeal. We all know that flowers bring color and life to an otherwise drab space but gardening was unfamiliar territory to me and something I was apprehensive about doing.   What if I pick the wrong flowers for the wrong space? What if everything dies?   What will my neighbors think?

Worry.  As referenced above, this one word takes up an awful lot of my time and has plagued me my entire life. My husband gets major props for helping me change those “what ifs” into “who cares!”.  It truly is a better way to live.  Yes, I want things to look beautiful but let’s save the worrying for something truly worth worrying about and allow yourself to learn by just doing.

Learning by trial and error has actually become my most traveled road while living here.  Both my parents live too far away to physically  assist, no matter how much they would like to.  Plus, why give them the impression that I didn’t pay much attention to what they did to make our home as beautiful as it was while I was growing up and now let’s face it,  I am a little lost in this new world.

I started out with no knowledge and built some things that I have to admit, are pretty okay to look at.  Here’s what I learned along the way –  just a few tips so you can be a bit less apprehensive on your journey to “curb appeal”.

Tip #1:  Ask questions in the flower section. Those people are pretty knowledgeable.

Tip #2: Learn the difference between an annual and a perennial.

Tip #3: Know what plants love sun and what plants prefer shade.



IMG_2114IMG_2007                  IMG_0766IMG_0614


Tip #4: Ladies, DO NOT get a manicure until weeding, mulching, planting and watering are done.  Which is never.  Gardening and keeping up with a yard is a rough and dirty job. You will get dirt under your nails.  And not just your fingernails.  Somehow it will find its way into your toes, which were covered up by sneakers and socks.  #howdoesthathappen

Tip #5: Be okay with Tip #4.

PS – #donttellmomtheflowersaredead . Just kidding.  Not all of them are. 😉

Moving on.

Typically, new homeowners want to start with a clean slate and prefer nothing but floors and walls when they move in. The story is different when the previous homeowners leave you actual good, useable stuff, as was the case for us.  One of the best things they left behind was an outdoor teak table and chairs set.  All it needed was a good part soapy water/part bleach scrub down and it was as good as new!

Tip #1: A warm, sunny, windless day is best. A beautiful, Spring day calls for a project like this and helps you to feel like you can take on any project. The sun and fresh air can do wonders for your soul after a long winter.

Tip #2: A toothbrush works best for those hard to reach places.

Tip #3: Rinse well and when you think you’re done, rinse again.  Soap really gets in there!

IMG_0025  IMG_0028   IMG_0037   IMG_0577

Tip #4: And this is key. If a chair is weak or broken, DO NOT put it out before fully fixed.  One of our guests had an incident.  😉 Don’t worry .  No one was injured and we ended up only needing 5 chairs anyway because they also left us an awesome bench, which we now use on the end.


Speaking of friends…….

“Make new friends but keep the old.” Same goes for decorating your home.  It’s fun to buy new stuff but it’s extra special when you can find a way to re-use old, sentimental pieces.  Keep meaningful pieces around.  If not, you will miss them.

I always loved this one bench my parents had and when my mom finally moved she had no use for it.  Perfect timing because our entryway was in desperate need of a typical “entryway item” and this bench immediately came to mind.  Too bad it was black…..and orange and red and blue and brown, each color visible in certain spots revealed by a bad case of peeling.

This project nearly killed me and during it, I would not have recommended it to anyone.  The amount of scraping and sanding it took was incredible and it still needed a couple coats of paint stripper, more scraping and more sanding.  And then it still needed to be cleaned, dried and painted.

Looking back on this project, that once severely strong memory of blood, sweat and tears has diminished partially due to the passage of time but mostly due to how much I love it now.


Let’s move on to a project I enjoyed from the start.  My indoor faux planter!  I became obsessed with an indoor planter I saw on Pinterest but I never stumbled upon anything that resembled it closely enough or matched the colors and size I needed.  So I made it my next DIY project.

The simplicity of this project was great.  I took measurements of the planned space, got the boards cut at Lowe’s, sanded them down (and bashed them with a bag of nails) to make them look older and then I simply glued the pieces together and set with a clamp.  Okay – it wasn’t exactly the easiest thing I had ever done.  There was some amount of frustration involved. At first the gluing was a sloppy, slippery task. I just couldn’t get the boards to stay in place while trying to get the clamps on.  I ended up with gluey boards (that weren’t attached to each other), glue on my hands, floor and kitchen counter……but with a little time (glued partially one day and partially the next) and a little patience, I finally figured it out and was able to move on to the best part – staining and filling.

I attempted to achieve a more rustic look by brushing cooled black tea onto the planter.  Once that dried, I brushed a mixture of apple cider vinegar & steel wool, which had been soaking in a mason jar for a couple days.

My finishing touches were faux flowers stuck into green foam (cut to fit inside the planter) – both of which I picked up at Michael’s.

IMG_9879IMG_9873 IMG_9977IMG_9979 IMG_9991

So those are some of my favorite little projects.  And below are some pictures of other fun little additions to our home:


Tree hammock, courtesy of Amazon.


Tree lanterns, courtesy of World Market.












New Jersey Pillow, courtesy of Catstudio.


Picket Fence Flag, courtesy of Home Goods.


Our basement set up, courtesy of our old apartment.


Grill, courtesy of Weber.


Fire Pit, courtesy of the previous homeowners.


American Flag, courtesy of our freedom and Home Depot.


Finish the bedroom, so you can get to the REST. ;)

“A good day starts with a good night’s sleep.”


The realization of how far we’ve come is pretty strong when it takes me a minute or two to remember what project came next. Maybe my lack of memory is just due to lack of sleep, which would be ironic because it was definitely our bedroom.

Since moving out of our apartment, we had become completely unorganized with basic, everyday things – namely our clothing which was strewn about my mother-in-law’s house in various places. We were very much longing for a place for our “things” and so logically, the next step was our bedroom.

Color first. Everything was purple – the walls and the ceiling. It all looked nice enough – probably painted only a couple years back but with it being our first real space, we wanted to switch things up.  I had visions of the finished product and per My Bedroom Board my “pinning” habits were trending gray and yellow.

Tip #1: When you find yourself envisioning (or pinning) the same look and colors over and over again, take it as a sign and get started!


Before the changes…


Color choosing process…








Tip #2: If you plan on pulling up the carpet, paint first.  Your carpet can double as a drop cloth because….no one’s perfect. :/


Along the way, I learned that having a strong vision of your finished product can be a great tool for planning but it can also make life difficult when you run into inevitable “bumps in the road”.  This happened to me as I searched high and low (to no avail) for a comforter to match what was in my head.  Eventually, I had to allow my vision to change and I ended up eliminating yellow altogether.  I have yet to master this skill. I struggle to make any decision (whether deciding what to eat, what to wear or where to go) so when I do finally make the call, I don’t like having to choose a different direction, mid-stream.

I did stick with gray as the main color and kept things simple by buying a white comforter set.  I actually really ended up liking this plan because eventually, I would like to work in some color and when I do, anything will match!  Maybe my husband won’t mind pink. 😉

Tip #3:  Plan.  But allow your plans to change.

I still wanted to have some fun with this room and so I decided to create a wallpaper accent wall, which would become the backdrop for our bed.  Nowadays, the choices for wallpaper seem endless (#patternsfordays), which can make this decision making process a hard one.  I however, quite enjoyed using my lunch hours to peruse wallpaper stores and to look through wallpaper books.

My friend Katie (check out her awesome blog documenting her life as a New England girl making her way in Miami) turned me on to a very cool wallpaper blog (check it out here!).  I learned of it too late for our bedroom and dining room (which you’ll soon see) but don’t think I’m done wallpapering so……I’ll be referring to it very soon!

Tip #4: Wallpaper books are awkward and heavy but are well worth bringing home. You should get a feel for how the paper looks in your  space, before you drop lots of money on it.  It is $$$.

Accent wall and not much else.

Accent wall and not much else.

So far, so good…

Paint (Behr, Dolphin Fin) – check.
Carpet up, 8’x10′ down (Pier I Imports) – check.
Wallpaper (Ricciardi Bros.) – check.
Headboard (Wayfair) – check.
Nightstands (Home Goods) – check.
New fan (Wayfair) – check.
Curtains (TJ Maxx) – check.
Dressers (Home Goods & Overstock) – check.

IMG_8097            IMG_8095

Tip #5:  Stay as focused as possible when in stores that also carry non-home related goods.  There were many times when I struggled to not grab that pair of shoes calling my name or that cute shirt reaching out to grab me.  Don’t grab back.

The accents wall was finished off with a large three paneled canvas photo, which really gave it the ultimate sense of prominence and acted as the finishing touch.  Go big or go home!  I wanted to hang a piece that would really draw attention and catch the eye but that would still be subtle enough to match the softness of the room.  I came up short on all of my shopping ventures, so I decided to pull from what I already had on hand.

One of my favorite past times is taking photos. I partake in the activity like it’s going out of style.  The image I chose for this space has long been one of my favorites. I took it at Central Park’s Strawberry Fields Memorial a number of years back and finally it’s up for the viewing thanks to Groupon where I was able to get an awesome deal on a tri-panel canvas wrap of my photo.

Tip #6:  Utilize your skills.  You’ll find you do have them.  It could be something as simple as taking pictures.  If you like to do it, and have thousands of images saved up like I do, you can use them to decorate your own space.  At least you know they are things you like to look at.

My John Lennon Imagine canvas

My John Lennon Imagine canvas

This room is still very much a work in progress but it has already accomplished our main goal which was to become more organized, get our clothes out of sight and to be able to start each day feeling well rested and ready to conquer the day.   It’s slowly becoming my night-time sanctuary.  I sleep soundly under a thick, white cloud of covers, IMAGINING our future in this house, while my husband tosses and turns from “boring bedroom” syndrome.  Men.

Close to finished...

Close to finished…

Still on our bedroom TO DO list:

  • hang the TV
  • find wall mirror(s)
  • find fun round storage ottoman
  • get a white sheepskin rug
  • install crown molding

and then…decorate, decorate, decorate! (accent color…PINK.)

Because starting fresh, just feels good.

So moving into our home didn’t happen in the timely manner we had hoped it would.  We called it quits on our apartment in October, to save on November’s rent.  Honestly, we both envisioned a short period of sadness when leaving behind what was the home to our relationship for the past 8.5 years but apparently, we were over it because we left and never looked back.  I have to say, it’s kind of nice to close a door and keep it closed.

Goodbye Sagamore Apartments.

Goodbye Sagamore Apartments.  We loved you but for some reason we won’t miss you.

Our plans were to move into our new home on November 21st, the day we were handed the keys but it didn’t actually happen until a whole month later.  Right before Christmas!  Ah…the best laid plans. :/  If it were up to my husband, (which I am now starting to sympathetically realize, not much ever is) we would have been in right away but I prefer to live comfortably, not anxiously and in my eyes, it would have been pretty stressful to live amongst paint cans, pulled up carpet, open cleaning supplies and pretty much in a state of constant mess and confusion.  Why move stuff in, just to have to move it around to get stuff done?   He was anxious and excited to have a house and I was anxious and excited to make it our home.

That being said, we extended our stay at his mom’s house.  While we were there (November and much of December) my wheels were constantly turning, dreaming up plans.  I had been pinning up a storm https://www.pinterest.com/kristinsmith1/ to get ideas for bedroom colors, dining room wallpaper, outdoor spaces, DIY projects and anything else I came across that interested me in the slightest. For some, this is just a bad addiction that leads nowhere but for me it’s a constant and reliable source of inspiration and it serves as my own personal assistant when my memory fails me.  Also, I “pin” fully aware that some dreams (pins) will remain dreams (pins) forever.  #Ihavealoveaffairwithpinterest

Sharing time between our temporary house and our future home (thankfully only separated by a few miles) worked out well for us – a decision we do not regret.  While the house was nice and empty, we were able to;

Tip #1:  Kitchens take the most work and can be the dirtiest when they should be the cleanest  – so start there.  Otherwise, you will be too exhausted to give that space the attention it deserves.

If it's not cleaned by you, it's not clean enough.

If it’s not cleaned by you, it’s not clean enough.

Tip #2:  If there were cats, it has to go.  Muscles or pure angst required.

Goodbye gross green runner.

Goodbye gross green runner.

Tip #3: Pay a professional and don’t stick around.  The smell is enough to kill someone!  Do your research.  We weren’t 100% satisfied with the job and satisfaction is key when paying a lot of money.

Tip #4: If it’s a small job, do it with your partner….otherwise hire a professional.  No matter how much you love your significant other, you will want to kill them and you will need their help down the road so you may want to keep them around.

Tip #5:  Steamers can work magic in the removal process.  Thanks Dad.

We learned a steamer can work magic.

We learned a steamer can work magic.

Shades of gray.

Shades of gray.

Aside from the feeling of accomplishment after a long hard day, the best was simply being able to leave it all behind for tomorrow and head back to a cozy bed and the company of family, just one town over.  It was, in fact a relief to step away, reflect on what had been done and dream of what tomorrow would bring.

Fun Fact/Unexpected Twist:  I learned to love a dog.  It took time but that was definitely something rare, unexpected and special.   #Ineverlikeddogsbuthegrewonme #hadnochoicebecausewelivedtogether #ILoveYouMunson



My happy space is my happy place.

At 33, my life is just beginning.  Does that give you hope?  Good.

My husband and I finally have our own home.  When our eyes are open we see years of work ahead of us but when we close our eyes we see our future family, enjoying all of our hard work in their home.   That vision of our future is what makes me most excited and is what keeps me motivated every single moment of every single day.  To my detriment, this “can’t sit still/always need to be accomplishing something” attitude is what drives my husband crazy.  My brain constantly buzzes with design ideas.  My to do list is a mile long.  My wants exceed my budget.  My Pinterest is on overload.  And I’m constantly nudging him to be more like me.   Maybe I do need to tone it down a bit?  Maybe this blog will help me realize that I have in fact accomplished a lot (enough) in a short period of time.  That I am on the right (an okay) track.  That I should relax (sit down) a little and enjoy what I (what we) have, more than waiting to enjoy what we don’t (yet).  But then again…..there’s so much to do!  😉

Me and my husband the day we got the keys!

I plan to take you on this “make my house my home” journey with me.  I’ll show a lot of before and after pics letting you know what worked and what didn’t.  I’ll share details on my brave (at least brave in my mind) DIY projects and let you know if I’d do it again OR never recommend to anyone who wants to remain sane!

I will work tirelessly to make our house, our home.  I will do it, not without difficulties but happily.  I will embrace this experience knowing it is time-consuming, never-ending, expensive and exhausting.  But I will love it because…why shouldn’t I?  I promise you fun pictures and fun stories that include both successes and fails.  I hope you’ll find inspiration through my experiences and carry that inspiration into your own space.

Welcome to my home ownership!