4.11.2014

march recap & april goals

Since I'm already a bit behind, let's just mash these into one post, shall we?

First, let's recap March and see how we did.

1. Shop around for insurance. In process. I did start getting quotes, and unfortunately, it appears we're paying a fair market rate. We're still weighing some pros and cons to decide if we'll stay with our current provider or switch, but there won't be any huge savings either way. Bummer. 

2. Set up our external hard drives. Also in process. The good news is that our drives work with the Mac without any reformatting work. The bad news is my camera battery keeps dying mid-download, so I'm still working on getting everything up to date. 

3. Read 2 books. Done! I finished Lean In (have I mentioned how much I loved this book?!), Who Moved the Cheese and Radical. 

4. Make 1 Craigslist sale. Nope. I'm blaming this one on the fact that Nick was 
gone for a chunk of the month (we firmly believe in 2 person Craigslist exchanges) and the ridiculously cold temperatures. I'm putting this one on the goal list for April because I really do want to make it happen!

 

1. Get outside. We survived the worst winter ever (we got 6" of snow last week. IN APRIL). With temperatures finally above freezing (mostly) I want to be outside as much as I possibly can. It's so good for me, and the dogs are loving it, too. I'm making an extra effort to get out there, even when there's a long to-do list inside. 

2. Brush the dogs. With the change of seasons comes dog hair. Even more dog hair than usual. I want to try brushing the dogs every(isn) day in April to see how much of an impact it has. Even if it's only for a couple minutes it'll be something. 

3. Be gentle with yourself. Spring is tough. I love it so much, because it feels like everything comes back to life, but it's also an insane time of year. I know I'm not the only one struggling to keep up! There's a lot of awesome going on, but there's just a lot going on. I need to give myself a little breathing room to be kind to me and keep me sane. Sometimes, that might mean I don't get as much done as I'd like, and that needs to be ok. 

4. Read a book. Just one. Just enough to keep me in the habit. I picked up a couple new ones at Half Price Books and I'm excited to tear into them. And then! Our new library opens at the beginning of May!! We'll have a library in our neighborhood instead of 15 minutes away. I'm really excited about that!

5. Make a sale on Craigslist. Since we weren't successful with this one last month it's showing up again here. We NEED to get our previous stove out of the garage! It's taking up previous space and stressing me out. (Anyone need an electric stainless steel range??) We also have a bike to sell. It's time!

There you have it. Nothing terribly exciting, but that's ok right now. I just needed to keep moving forward! What are your goals for April?

4.08.2014

navy

Ever since we started planning an office update, I've wanted to paint the walls a light, airy color. I was picturing something straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog.

The wall color is hardly visible in this photo, but pretend you can see it ok?!



Conveniently enough, we had a gallon (or two?) of Ralph Lauren's Creamstone left over from the living room ceiling, so we planned to use that.

While I was out a couple weeks ago, Nick painted the office. And neither of us liked it.

 He's obviously not painting in this picture, but that's the original color. Work with me. 
 
It was fine, but it wasn't great and it wasn't quite what I had pictured. Plus, since we decided to go with white woodwork, we felt like we could stand to darken up the walls.

So we did.

Side note: Life According to Cindy, chapter 7, always repaint a room if you don't love the color. 




We now have a navy office. And we love it. It's taking some getting used to, because the office is visible from most of the main level. I keep seeing the dark walls out of the corner of my eye and thinking there's something hanging in the doorway. There isn't. We just have navy walls.



I played around with the idea of gray, preferably something like Michelle's awesome new office walls or even our bedroom. But the living room and dining room are a greige (Ralph Lauren's Cobblestone, love that color!) and gray just wasn't going to work with the color palette.



So navy it is! I can't wait to get the board and batten up and painted and looking all fresh and white. I'm excited to see this space actually come together and be usable.

Oh, also. I have a highly refined paint picking technique. It's called, walk into Home Depot, wander around the Behr section and pick a color. I do not do test colors, I do not tape swatches to my walls, I do not check it in different lights. So far this method has actually worked out for me. Repeat at your own risk.

Ok, and that's not completely true. I go in knowing what color I want and what kind of that color I want. I knew what type of navy I wanted (slighted muted, "dusty" looking, really dark, etc). If I'm picking a brown I identify the color family before I want before I ever hit the store (red-brown? yellow-brown?). It's a work in progress.

How do you pick your paint colors? 

(Beemer says hi)

3.21.2014

weekend things

I'm so thankful the snow is finally melting and it appears Spring might actually be around the corner. I know it started yesterday and all, but we're looking at highs in the 20s this weekend, so it's hard to call that Spring at this point. 

Still, any sort of warmer weather means more time outside for the dogs and that means much happier puppies (and puppy parents).


Melting snow also means our patio has made a re-appearance and I'm more excited to use it than ever! We still need to find the right patio furniture, but I did some scouting which you can see on my latest Houzz ideabook. Now, if only my budget were as big as my ideas…

In reality, I'm working on convincing Nick to build this table, thanks to Michelle at Decor and the Dog.   I'm still on the lookout for some chairs.

I'm mulling over my review of Lean In, but this one is so good I almost wonder why I'm trying to write one.

If you happen to find yourself looking for a grain-free chocolate chip cookie, this one knocks it out of the park. Seriously. So good.  

I hope your weekend is filled with time outside and cookies and that you make the time to hug someone you love. That's basically what our weekend looks like (plus some car repairs, because, you know, life). 

3.19.2014

save the birds?

We finally made some real progress on the office over the weekend. Up until now it's been mostly mudding and sanding which is so messy and putzy and slow. While I was at the gym on Sunday Nick got a (tester) coat of paint on the top of the walls. We're debating paint color, but that's another story for another time.

Today, we need to talk about the fate of the birds. Remember these little guys?


They're hand painted at the top of each wall in the office. They were safely covered by wallpaper and we just found them when we tore all the wallpaper out over Christmas.

Nick really loves the history that comes with the paintings and isn't quite willing to paint over them. I appreciate the history but don't love the birds and am fine painting over them. But there is a little part of me that feels bad and would love to find a way to preserve the history of the house.

We've talked about using molding to frame the bird above the door between the office and living room. You would only see the bird when you're actually in the office and the rest of the wall would be painted. We would try to have the molding look like a picture frame, even though it's actually just framing a spot on the wall.


We've also talked about trying to cut out a chunk of the wall and frame it in a gallery frame. I would prefer that option, but we're not sure how well the little guy will come out (our walls are lathe and plaster).

What would you do? Any suggestions for us? Would you save the birds?

3.14.2014

weekend things

After three weeks with lots of traveling (both of us in Charleston/Savannah, Nick in Alaska and me in Scottsdale), we're all going to be home this weekend. I can't wait. Although, Scottsdale was quite lovely, too. 


It's going to be a pretty low key weekend. Brunch with friends, a team meeting for an upcoming CrossFit competition, a judged workout and hopefully a little work on the office. Yeah. Remember when we started that project around Christmas? Yikes. 



With the snow around here finally melting, I'm ready to think about Spring. I'll be studying up on all of Kim's gardening posts, including this one about starting your garden from seeds (something I've yet to do successfully).

I stumbled across this blog and haven't been able to stop reading it. If you need some inspiration to truly live your life in the middle of incredibly challenging circumstances, you might want to check it out. While all her posts are inspiring, my favorite is the one titled "Timing." I encourage you to read the whole thing, but this single sentence speaks volumes.

It’s always the right time to live the life you want, 

and to want the life you live, 

regardless of whether it’s the life you imagined.

- Nora Purmort 


I hope your weekend is wonderful and well above zero. I also hope your puppies don't delight in muddy puddles as much as mine do. But if they do, Costco has giant tubs of Oxiclean on sale right now. I bought one. 

3.05.2014

march goals

I think my mail goal for March is to enjoy warmer temperatures, but that one is a bit out of my control. I am, though, holding out hope that warmer days are ahead of us and I'm determined to be as optimistic as possible. I'll also be ready to escape outdoors as soon as it's non-life threatening. 

Anyway. In the realm of things more under my control than the weather, here are some goals for March!



1. Shop around for insurance. Our home owner's/auto insurance has sky rocketed in the last few years. We've been happy with the coverage, but I think the pricing is no longer competitive. I've heard that Minnesota had the highest insurance losses in the country last year, which would explain an increase. My goal for the month is to find out if our policy is priced competitively and to switch providers if we find a better option. If you have an insurance company you love, let me know!

2. Set up our external hard drives. We bought our first Mac this Fall and I have yet to set up our external hard drives, which means there are thousands of photos stored on my SD card, which means it takes forever to download photos from our DSLR which means I haven't been using the DSLR. This is simply a case of fear of the unknown. I don't know if our drives will work with the Mac and I haven't taken the time to find out. It's time to find out. 

3. Read 2 books. Two books seems to be the sweet spot for me in a month. I know it's boring to have the same goal every month, but keeping it on my goal lists keeps me focused on reading, which I'm loving. 

4. Make 1 Craigslist sale. We have a couple large-ticket items that we need to sell on the ol' Craigslist. We've been putting this off for a long time, but I'm tired of storing things we're not using and we'd like to add the cash to our car replacement fund. If we can sell one item in March, I'll be happy!

There you have it. Four not-so-exciting goals for the month. I'm excited to get this stuff done, though. It's time to check these off the list and free up some mental (and physical) space. 

What are your goals for March? Do you have an insurance company you love?

3.03.2014

recap: february goals

I'm still a little surprised February is over and March is already here, but I'm also welcoming it with open arms and hoping this means Spring is coming. Someday. We woke up to a solid -13 degrees, so it's fair to say Spring cannot come soon enough. 

But first! Let's talk about how I did chasing February's goals. 


1. Read 3 books. Almost. I read 2.5. This month's picks were Happier at Home, Bossypants and Lean In. I'll talk about them all more in another post, but I am absolutely loving Lean In. Happier at Home is by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project (which I also loved). 

2. Don't freak out. I would give myself a solid "meh" on this one. I tried. But I often failed. I will say that taking a vacation definitely helped reset my mental state and remind me that Winter does not, in fact, last forever. No matter how long it is, it will end someday. Anyway, I need to keep working on this one.  

3. Put down the phone. This one is hard to quantify, but I thought about it a lot. There were definitely times I set down the phone and emptied the dishwasher or played fetch with the dogs (in the house, see: never-ending winter) or read a magazine or dusted something and vacuumed the floors. While a lot of those things may seem trivial and/or boring, having a clean house is such a huge part of my mental health that those little things add up and help me stay happier. That probably sounds dumb, but it's true. I also did a better job leaving my phone in my purse when I'm with other people. 

4. Exfoliate 100 things. Total success!! I couldn't believe how easy this was. I also gained a clean and reorganized bathroom closet out of the deal. I'm definitely on a roll and going to keep working my way through the house! If you find yourself hesitant to get rid of things (like I am) giving yourself a goal might really help. Knowing I needed to find 100 things to get out of the house made it easier to put something in the toss/donate/give away pile. I also have to remind myself that there's only 1 thing I've ever gotten rid of that I kind of wished I would've kept. And even that was completely replaceable. Plus? Having less stuff makes it easier to find things, use things and appreciate what I have. All of which makes me happier and leads to less stress. 

How was your February? Any book recommendations for me in March? And have you ever gotten rid of something you wish you would have kept?