Our House

Living Room Updates

April 9, 2017

If there’s one room in the house that has seen the most number of changes throughout the years it’s our living room. Between rugs, furniture, the TV moving, decor…the living room has been ever-evolving. It’s taken me a while to really nail down my style, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. It’s modern, but with a touch of traditional and a touch of industrial.

This is what the space looked like when we moved in…

Eventually I painted the fireplace white and the walls a cool gray with two of the walls a blue. Part of me still loves the blue but part of me wants to explore something else. We went through a couple different rugs, got some tables and eventually the living room came to look like this for the next couple of years.

The tan couch was mine from college that I had bought used from Craigslist. It was a great couch that served its purpose for several years, but it needed to be replaced. I wanted to find a new sleeper sofa that was more modern with clean lines without spending a fortune. I came across Joybird and instantly fell in love with a couple of their styles. However, the prices were more than I was willing to spend at the time. I continued to search for a YEAR for the perfect couch but just kept going back to those Joybird options. I waited for the next sale (they often have 20% off sales) and bit the bullet.

I am so happy with my purchase! Yes it was more than I originally was wanting to spend, but the pros far outweighed the cons. I selected the Korver style for several reasons, but the bench seat and no back cushions is what sealed the deal. Our dog always sat on the back cushions of our previous couch and practically ruined them. I also loved that I was able to select from a ton of different fabrics (we went with the pet + kid friendly Taylor Felt Gray), the stain of the wood legs and the mattress. It also comes with free shipping + delivery and a 1 year return policy if we aren’t happy with it. Even though I had to wait 2 months to get my sofa, I would still recommend Joybird hands down.

Getting a new couch prompted getting a new rug. The new couch and old rug were too close in color and it wasn’t jiving for me. This also took a ton of searching. I new I wanted something lighter and in a different style, but I just didn’t know what specifically. I ended up ordering this rug from Rugs USA. (They always have great sales with free shipping.) I was a little nervous of getting such a light color, but Scotchgard has been my friend.

About this time was when I also decided I ready for some new art to be hung above my vintage trunk. This also took a lot of looking. I wanted a different style altogether with moodier colors. I ordered two from Minted and one from Clare Elsaesser. I’ve been a fan of Clare Elsaesser for quite some time and wanted a print for the nursery, but didn’t have the space for it. So instead I ordered one for the living room! I used Framebridge to frame the Clare print and loved using the service! I will be going that route again if needing something professional framed down the road. I hung the art in a gallery style, which can be tough with different sizes and shapes. I really like the result!

And finally the fireplace.

The fireplace is a main feature in our small front room. It’s a working, wood-burning fireplace, though we’ve never used it. (And probably won’t ever) The brick was painted white years ago and it’s been that way ever since. I’ve always wanted a mantel for it and finally got it this winter! Here’s a whole post dedicated to it, but I’ll just say that I’m pretty smitten with it. Of course adding a mantel also meant a new mirror. I selected this one from AllModern and am so happy with it.

The living room has been a whole series of “one thing leads to another” and I can’t say I’m mad about it. Quite happy, actually. However, the ONE decor-related item that’s left on the list for the living/dining room…a new light fixture above the table. I have one picked out that I’m in love with, I just need to convince Tim it’s worth patching some holes in the ceiling. The living room and dining room are connected, so needs to feel like one cohesive space. Our current light fixture above the table doesn’t do that.

It took several attempts and years to finally get the living room in a place where I’m super happy. Let’s keep it this way for a while!

–m.

DIY, Our House

DIY Fireplace Mantel

April 7, 2017

When we moved into our house, the fireplace was ugly–dingy brick, black grout and a terrible insert.

It didn’t take long before we removed the insert, but it sat with the ugly brick for several months before I finally painted it white with a black high-heat paint for the inside. And that’s how the fireplace has looked for the last few years. Not terrible, but there’s one thing that I had always wanted to add–a wood mantel. Well, this winter my wish finally came true.

Tim picked up some oak boards from Menards to build a box that would slide over the existing brick. I wanted something with clean lines–no distressing or crazy knots. There was some discussion about a couple different ways to build the mantel and decided to build the three outside boards and the end caps. You can only really see the end caps if you’re standing on the side purposely looking at them. The wall the fireplace is on is not completely flat, so that posed another challenge. (Yay old houses) We had to sand down the top piece of wood to fit up against the wall as snug as possible. The original “mantel” also didn’t hang over the brick evenly on both sides, so when fitting the new one there were extra measurements. Before the stain was applied, a couple of the edges were sanded and curved so there were no sharp corners.

The color of the mantel was a bit of a discussion. Do we match our natural oak floors? Maybe just paint it white? Go dark? It was ultimately decided to go for a darker color, so we selected an espresso stain and put two coats of it on before the poly. I’m so happy with the color and how the grain shows through!

When it came time to attaching the mantel to the fireplace, we used wood glue to adhere it to the brick and clamps to keep it from shifting while the glue settled and dried.

It’s amazing what a couple small changes can do to a space. I love it and feel like this is how the fireplace should have always looked. It even called for a new mirror.


I love the way the new mirror looks, but am now lost as to how to decorate the mantel. Leave it simple? Add some height on either side of the mirror? There are a few other updates that I’ve done to our living room (couch, rug, art), which I plan on sharing soon!

—m.

Baby

Newborn Needs

February 15, 2017

Now that I have a 6 week old on my hands, that makes me a pro right? Ha, anything but.

As I’m looking back at the last six weeks, I was trying to think of what I could not have lived without or am glad that I purchased/recieved. I tried to go for a more minimalist approach with our baby gear. Our house isn’t the biggest and I didn’t want to add more stuff just because I thought we may need it. For instance, we didn’t get a swing, a mamaRoo, a Pack n Play/changing table set and tried not to go overboard with buying clothing. (FYI, hand-me-downs are the best.) This list doesn’t include big purchases (carseat, stroller, etc), but rather everyday items to consider. I know it’s different for every person and baby, but I wanted to compile what worked for us.

  1. Basic Clothing
    I feel like this is a no brainer, but having basic white onesies, sleepers and socks is all you really need to dress a baby. With having a winter baby, I opted for sleepers with footies and long sleeve onesies with the fold over mittens. Carters always has great sales, but there are so many places to get cute clothes!
  2. Rock ‘n Play
    This is what E sleeps in at night in our room and for some of her naps during the day. We don’t have the Cadillac version of the RnP, but it’s still awesome and is worth its weight in gold. (Our pediatrician approves of her sleeping in it, though I know not all do.)
  3. Gerber Cloth Diapers as Burp Cloths
    When I received these at one of my shower, I was confused for a split second until I was told “they make the best burp cloths!” and I have to say, I agree. The center is thicker and they’re absorbent.
  4. SwaddleMe Swaddles
    E LOVES to be swaddled and I’m absolutely terrible at doing it with loose blankets, so these are a Godsend. It takes me two seconds to wrap her up and I find it helps her fall asleep faster. E is 22 inches and is going to grow out of them soon sadly. I’ve ordered a Halo sleep sack for her to use next, so we’ll how that goes.
  5. Diaper Bag Backpack
    I love having a backpack as a diaper bag. I don’t have to constantly adjust a tote on my shoulder and makes carrying a bag hands free. There’s plenty of storage, the fabric is wipeable, hangs from my stroller and is a bit stylish. My only complaint is that this one doesn’t hang low enough on my back for my preference, but I just look past that.
  6. Nuk Pacifier
    My kid came out of the womb wanting to suck on anything she could get her mouth on. It’s also a natural thing for babies to do. Our pediatrician and lactation consultant recommended this specific type of pacifier for a newborn vs the big green one the hospital gives you. We don’t use it to put her to sleep, but it’s great if she’s a bit fussy throughout the day.

I’m excited to see E grow and start interacting more. She’s already so much more alert and making those cute and funny baby noises. Our needs are going to change as she grows, in which we’ll just re-evaluate and adjust.

–m.

Baby, Our House

The Nursery

January 19, 2017

It was decided early on that when we have a kid, the smallest of our three bedrooms would become the nursery. Though small (approximately 8ft x 10ft), it’s still a great size for a nursery and it only has one exterior wall so the temperature is easier to control. Until a few months ago, the nursery was our office (which was never really used like a proper office).

Originally I wanted to do a Boho look for the nursery but was struggling with it. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money gathering all new things and the inspiration I pulled wasn’t cohesive. So instead, I decided to be resourceful with what we already had. I had planned to have navy in the room no matter what gender, so keeping the rug that was already in there worked out well. Other items that stayed in the room included: paint color, sheer curtains, bookshelf, chair, pillows, throw blanket, brass desk lamp and wall decor (art print and mirror above chair, map, airplane propeller).

I was struggling with what to hang on the only big wall in the room. Anything that hangs on that wall will someday have to be addressed because it’s within reaching distance of the crib. When Tim mentioned that the airplane propeller was literally bolted into the wall and it wasn’t moving without exposing a decent sized hole, it was decided to keep those two items. It was at that point when I decided to *loosely* give the room a travel theme. From there I dug up an old Rifle Paper Co. travel calendar I had saved and framed six cities that Tim and I have been to.

I absolutely love the crib I picked out. It’s a 3-in-1, so it will grow with E to toddler size. I found the dresser from Overstock after having a nightmare of a time trying to order one from PB Kids. (Like I will never order furniture from them again.) I ordered new drawer knobs from CB2 to match the brass lamp and love them. There’s also an 8-cubbie Kallax system with four wicker baskets in the closet for additional storage and organization. My mom made me the quilt hanging on the crib and I adore it. I picked out three of the fabrics and let her pick the rest. I’ve had several comments about not getting a rocking chair. I honestly didn’t want a big bulky one and I love the chair that’s in there now. However, if I would want a rocker down the road, we do have access to an old wooden one I could bring into the room.

Crib / Dresser / Kallas / BasketsBookshelf / Rug / Art PrintCity Prints / FramesLamp / Drawer Knobs

Baby, Everyday Moments

Welcome, E

January 17, 2017

It’s been two weeks now since E (as I’m going to affectionally reference her as) was born.

I was induced one day after my due date and, for the most part, had a pretty standard delivery. After hearing and reading some horror stories of being induced and the use of pitocin, I tried a lot of things to go into labor on my own but nothing worked. I was literally running laps around my basement and doing jumping jacks at one point in hopes of contractions picking up. Nope. This baby just wasn’t ready to come out on her own!

I received a call about 5AM on the date of my induction saying I’d have a room available in a couple hours and head on in to the hospital when ready. We got checked in at the L&D welcome center and was taken up to my room. I was checked and pitocin was started at the lowest dosage. (It starts at a 1 and can go up to 20). The pitocin was slowly increased as the morning went on, but not a ton of progress was made on my end. I started getting regular contractions, but they felt more like menstrual cramps and weren’t bothersome. My pitocin level eventually reached an 8 and stayed there until the machine was shut off later in the day. So Tim and I watched TV to pass the time. Oh, and talked about what we were going to name our child because we still hadn’t agreed on a name at that point.

Early afternoon the resident doctor and crew came in to break my water. That was an interesting feeling. Not to be gross, but it’s literally like a gush of warm liquid. Super strange feeling as an adult. This was the point when the “fun” started to happen. Contractions got closer together and much more intense. An hour after my water was broke is when I finally asked for an epidural. I went in knowing I’d get an epidural, it was just a matter of when. Experiencing intense back labor with body shakes and feeling like I could pass out is when I threw in the towel. It was almost 2:30-3:00 pm when the epidural was finally administered. Except I could still feel EVERY. SINGLE. CONTRACTION. The line was clamped shut and I wasn’t received any drugs. So that took a bit to get straightened out and flowing. After that…it was the greatest thing ever. Flipping from side to side was hilarious. You want to move your body, but can’t really figure out how!

I had dozed off and woke to a couple nurses rushing in looking at the monitors and handing me an oxygen mask. The baby’s heart rate had dropped considerably because of some “major event” that had happened. Turns out it was “go time” just two hours after getting the epidural. Of course I’d be ready to have a baby when it’s rush hour and have to wait 45 minutes for my doctor to arrive.

Three pushes later, E was born just after 6 pm. She was a tiny thing at only 6 lbs with the perfect button nose. Her pediatrician says she has big feet, which means she could be tall. Maybe that’ll just mean that she’s going to be a runner like her momma 🙂

–m.

Everyday Moments

Fall 2016

December 18, 2016

Our fall was a full one, naturally. Every season is, right? So here was our fall in a nutshell…

• After getting back from Europe, we met up with my family in the Ozarks for a long weekend. Golfing, boating, shopping, eating and pool time. All the necessities of a good vacation at the Ozarks.

• There was quite a bit of hiking. With running taking a back seat, I made sure to get out and hike as much as I could this fall. Everyone knows that fall hiking is the best. Cooler temps, changing of the leaves…should I keep going?

• I was thrown two really great baby showers, including one back in Nebraska. Little Miss (as we’re referring to her as) sure is loved! Can I also say how obsessed I am with this cake?!

• Tim and  a couple friends completed the Bike MS (formally known as the MS 150). I was suppose to ride, but the doctor said “No way, José!” to that. Road biking and trail running were the two main activities I was told “No” to because there are several factors that make it unsafe for pregnant ladies. You know…like falling.

• Tim and I celebrated our four year wedding anniversary. I sent him pink roses and chocolates. Reversing gender roles one anniversary at a time.

• I voted in my first ever Presidential election! I’ve been able to the last couple of elections as well, but I just never did.

• There’s been plenty of baby related things, too. Classes, appointments, interviewing pediatricians, setting up the nursery, purchasing a few remaining items, washing everything.

• We’ve also tried to make the most of these last few months with just the two of us–date nights, weddings, parties and holidays with friends, sleeping in. Things are going to change soon, so we’re soaking it in as much as we can!

I’m looking forward to the holidays over the next couple weeks, winding down at the office, and eventually my first glass of wine since April!

–m.