A Place to Call Home

ManagingtheEveryday When our little blog world gets quiet, it usually means that real life is anything but. 

The last month or so has been no exception. 

I keep trying to come up with the perfect post to explain everything, but I think this email we sent our families does a pretty good job:

Hi Family, 

Email is far from the best way to let you all know about our latest top secret project, but we wanted to let you all know at the same time…

We’re moving!

We will be staying in Seattle and aren’t sure which neighborhood we will be in yet, but we are going to be leaving our much loved spot on Capitol Hill – likely in the next few months. 

(No, I’m not pregnant.)

But we do need at least 2 bedrooms in order to pass our adoption home study.**

Yes. You read that right.

We are planning to adopt a child through foster care. :)

(a pause for you to be able to read that again…and again.)

Adoption has been something we’ve talked about for sometime and back in January we decided to officially go for it. Since then we’ve done research and talked with a couple agencies about the different options: international, domestic infant adoption and adopting through foster care. 

We decided that foster care was the best fit for our family. 

It’s going to be a long and complex process.

First, we have to find a new place to live. 

Then we have to take classes, get background checks, fill out LOTS of paperwork and do everything it takes to become certified foster parents. 

After that, we will be able to start receiving referrals. It will probably take a while to find the right “match”. 

And there you have it. 

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. 

To give a little better idea of how it can look, this piece was written by a couple who came and spoke at one of the foster-to-adopt info sessions we went to. They adopted their son through the same agency we are planing to use. 

I’m sure we will be talking with each of you soon. 

Love, 

Lindsey, Juan & Javi

So…ta da! We are adopting. And selling. And buying. And moving!

Crazy.

I’m also happy to report that we are currently under contract both to sell our place AND to purchase our perfect-for-us new home in Ballard!

The entire home selling/buying process has made for an amazing story and I’m looking forward to sharing more once everything is finalized. 

By the end of June, we should be settled into our new place and ready to begin a mountain of foster/adopt paperwork. 

We are excited, nervous, uncertain and sure all at the same time. It’s going to be an adventure. :)

**In case you are wondering, Javi’s current bedroom doesn’t count as an actual bedroom since it lacks a window. 

Hello 2015!

ManagingtheEverydayHello2015
Welcome 2015 and a fresh start!

We just got back from a fun holiday vacation visiting Juan’s family in Acapulco, Mexico. I miss the sunshine and warmth already, but I’m also super excited to finally start 2015. Let’s do this!

This year we intend to challenge our habits, simplify our everyday lives and focus on consuming less. (You know, just a few easy goals…nothing big. Ha.)

What this will look like for us:

Whole 30

ManagingtheEverydayJavi1The only member of our family allowed to eat cake for the next 30 days. 

To start off, Juan and I are going to do a Whole 30 (!) starting today, January 8th.

This means 30 days of eating whole foods and cutting out all sugar, processed foods, alcohol, grains, seed oils, soy, legumes and dairy. 

We’ve both been feeling tired and sluggish and are hopeful that changing the way we fuel our bodies will give us more energy and help us identify any foods that don’t agree with us.

I’ve been getting ready by reading It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig and collecting recipe ideas here on Pinterest. 

I’m excited to do it and also scared because I know giving up our normal isn’t going to be easy. 

KonMari-ing Our Home

ManagingtheEverydayJavi2Not to worry…Dinosaurio is safe. 

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that decluttering and living well with less are some of my favorite topics.

So it’s little wonder that I absolutely LOVED The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. She is one of “my people”.

I’ve already started tidying up our home using the KonMari method and am loving the results so far. I’m excited to share more in future posts.

Buy Nothing New Year

ManagingtheEverydayJavi’s “Buy Nothing” xylophone. 

We are also embarking on a Buy Nothing New year. Yes. I said YEAR. This means:

NO to Buying New Stuff.
YES to Borrowing, Trading, or Buying Used.

Unlike our No Spend Month, where we limited how much we spent, the focus will be HOW we acquire things. There will be some exceptions (because I know you are wondering about underwear, right?).

Buy Nothing New doesn’t apply to:

  • food & beverages
  • basic personal care items (no second-hand toothbrushes)
  • medicine
  • basic cleaning products (although I do plan on making some)
  • underwear & socks
  • services (hair cuts, mechanics, tailoring, dry cleaning, plumbers, etc.)
  • gas
  • airfare
  • recreational services (zoo & museum admissions, etc.)

Why Buy Nothing New for a Year?

To appreciate & enjoy what we have.
To consume less.
To save money.
To save time.

So there you have it – some things I’ll be writing about in 2015.

It’s going to be a good year!

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Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure: What’s Missing?

Managing the Everyday

The latest Style Cure assignment was to figure out what’s missing in the room. 

I decided that the space over the couch needs the most help. Especially now that we have a new bold rug, which draws the eye to the floor, we need something big on the wall to help balance it out and make the space feel taller. 

I had two super bright abstract painted canvases in our closet that I had used at our last place. 

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Since the rug is so bold in color, I want to keep the art more neutral. At our last home, I learned my lesson about tossing color on every surface. It just doesn’t have the calm effect I want in our home. 

Instead, I’m going black and white:

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via Apartment Therapy

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via Apartment Therapy

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via Apartment Therapy

Javi and I walked over to the art supply store and picked up two big tubes of acrylic paint. 

I was going to use some leftover primer on the painting first to help with coverage, but I discovered that the can of primer hadn’t sealed correctly and had gone bad. :( So, no primer. 

I did, however, layer on some spackling paste that we had on hand to add texture. 

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Javi thought the whole thing was super interesting…

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After the first coat of white paint.

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You can see that after a couple coats of white paint, the old painting was still showing through. I kind of liked the effect, but also didn’t know how it would look when the two pieces were together on the wall so I kept layering on more white. 

And I got a little impatient and added some black before finishing the white coats. 

Managing the Everyday

And here is the almost finished piece. Who knows, it might be done.

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Last night it felt done, but this morning I wasn’t so sure. It feels a little too crisp and exact -although in person it does have a little more dimension with various shades of gray in the white.

I’m going to move on to the next canvas and let this one settle a bit before making any changes. On to the next one!

Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure: Clean Sweep

Managing the Everyday

This weekend’s Style Cure assignment was to declutter and deep clean the room.

When it came to decluttering, there wasn’t a lot of work to do. 

I put away a large toy that Javi had outgrown and tucked away a couple rarely used electronics that were just taking up space (and gathering dust) on the credenza.

I know that the credenza drawers could use some attention, but that seemed like one big distraction just waiting to happen so I left them closed for another day.

I vacuumed the couch, removing the cushions and getting rid of all the lint & hair that a white couch can’t hide. (I absolutely love our vacuum cleaner. It picks up everything.)

After that, I vacuumed & mopped the floors with Method wood floor cleaner and my favorite microfiber mop. Juan mentioned that he felt we should squirt some of the cleaner in our coffee since it smells just like almond syrup.

I wiped down the mirror and picture frames with homemade window cleaner

I scrubbed the dining table until it was free of all remaining traces of mashed sweet potatoes. (Same for the walls/floor around the table.)

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I dusted the coffee table, credenza and electronics with microfiber cloths. I even dusted and watered the plants. 

I wiped down the books and magazines on the coffee table and straightened them into neat stacks. 

And then I lit a candle, sat down and admired the sparkle.

Can you see it? The floors & table are so clean they are reflecting the light!

Managing the Everyday

My biggest challenge was staying in the main room and not venturing into the other rooms to vacuum, dust or mop as I was cleaning. I’m glad I made myself “just finish one” and complete the assignment. 

Today’s assignment is to figure out what is missing from our room. I have a couple ideas…Any suggestions?

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AT’s Style Cure: 10 Minutes of Silence & a lot of Measurements

Managing the Everyday

I’m still playing catch up with the Style Cure assignments. 

Monday’s assignment was to sit quietly in the room I want to change for 10 minutes and simply observe and make note of what I think is working and what I would like to change. 

Things I like:

  • The corner where we have Juan’s guitar and a print from our Italy trip hanging on the wall. It just works.
    Managing the Everyday
  • Our bookcases. I worked on them several months ago and am still happy with how they look. I do think that the lower right hand side has too much white going on and feels sterile compared to the rest. Maybe mix that up a bit?Bookcase: After
  • A new little painting I made based on this piece I saw on Etsy. 
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Things I don’t like: 

  • All in the same photo:
    • The mirror over the couch. It does nothing to bring in the light from the windows and instead reflects an uninspiring view of the TV and credenza.
    • The large framed Venice print. I liked it a lot when we first got it and now I just can’t stand it. Plus when I see it I remember how rainy and cold our visit to Venice was. It was romantic in its own way, but nothing like the photo. Which only makes me feel like it is telling a lie.
    • Our coffee table. Specifically, its hard edges and general baby-unfriendliness. I think it goes great with the rug, but not with the baby.
    • The lighting. Currently, the only non-natural light comes from the fixture on the ceiling. We need lamps.Managing the Everyday

Special Mention:

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  • Javi’s giant play yard. It’s not pretty, but it is a functional and necessary part of our lives for this season. And I can always fold it up when we have people over. Same goes for the bouncing seat hanging in the doorway to the kitchen.

The Layout

Wednesday’s assignment was to take measurements of the room and furniture.

I started using MagicPlan on my phone, but things were a little off so I ended up going the old fashioned pen, paper & measuring tape route and then adjusting the MagicPlan measurements to get this final result:

LivingRoom

I like the overall layout of the room (which is good because I don’t think anything else would work.)

Managing the Everyday
Before the Rug

I’ve wanted to get more seating in the living room, but I also like how open the space feels right now. But maybe with a smaller (round?) coffee table, we could add a chair by the couch without disrupting the flow too much. 

Managing the Everyday

More good news? We can definitely fit a larger dining table!

Right now, sitting down for a meal means crowding all of our plates, cups, etc. to one edge of the little table to keep them out of grabbing range. 

I’m thinking a long rectangular wooden table, matched with our current Eames knockoff chairs

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via Apartment Therapy

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via Apartment Therapy

Now it’s time to finish catching up on this week’s assignments…Making an outbox and learning about color!

Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure: Defining My Style

Hello Everyone!

Life has been (or at least felt) very full lately.

I think I go in cycles. Sometimes feeling like I have everything more or less under control and I’m making good progress on my goals.

And then other times I find myself overwhelmed and sitting on the couch, looking at unfolded laundry and our Cheerio-garnished floors, wondering how other people with more than one kid and/or kids + careers make it all look so easy. 

This has been one of those other times. 

9months

Javi turned 9 months old and has recently discovered his love of standing (with assistance). He just figured out crawling and as much as I love watching him gain new skills and independence, I’m not ready for walking(!). 

All that said, I’m still pushing through with Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure! It started last week and so far the assignments have challenged me to define my style preferences. 

The first task was to take the Style Cure Interview (check it out here) followed by gathering inspiration images. I’ve been collecting them here on Pinterest. 

Things that have stood out for me:

I LOVE light…

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via Apartment Therapy

I feel sad in unintentionally dark or dim rooms – especially during the day. All of my favorite places & memories involve an abundance of sunlight.

I like white walls & clean lined furniture – Especially Mid-Century modern pieces. 

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via DesignLoveFest 

California House Home Tour Cup of Jo Living Room 7
via A Cup of Jo

And I’ve rarely met a colorful boho accent or cozy textile that I didn’t want to bring home. (The more throw blankets, the better).


Anthropologie vases

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TexturableDecor throw

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Our new rug

I like abstract paintings and simple nature photography.

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Nouveau Tree by LupenGrainne

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Autumn Day No . 1 by Amber Alexander

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by Cristina Ripper 

And I think every space feels better with plants.

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via A Beautiful Mess

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via Apartment Therapy

I’m looking forward to what the next assignments will bring!

The Rug is Here!

Last month, we bought a vintage Turkish rug for our living room from a seller on Etsy.

I’ve been checking the shipment tracking information every day since the rug left Turkey three weeks ago and yesterday it finally said “Out for Delivery”. Hurrah! 

When the mailman rang our doorbell, I almost didn’t mind that a giant bell had just sounded during nap time. The rug was here!

I opened the door, fully expecting to start pulling a heavy, rolled up rug into our apartment. Instead, he handed me a box. 

Managing the Everyday

At first glance when I opened the box, I wondered if they sent the wrong rug.

I knew I was looking at the back of the rug (which always looks different) but I didn’t remember it being so dark. Maybe the photos were really off?

Managing the Everyday

Turns out, I was right. It wasn’t the same rug…It was another smaller rug that they added for fun!

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I tried this little rug in front of our kitchen sink and then nearly slipped and fell during my dinner-making dance. (In this house, we dance when we cook. Don’t you?)

I did like how the rug looked in the kitchen, so once I get a rug pad to keep it in place on the hardwood floors, it will be back. 

But what – I hear you asking – about the other rug? The one you bought during No Spend Month, when you really weren’t supposed to be buying anything?

Ladies & Gentlemen, meet our new rug! A beautiful mix of burgundy, orange, taupe and a little fuchsia (to name a few).  

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And, the moment you have been waiting for (or maybe just scrolled all the way down for) the The Rug + Room:

Managing the EverydayIt’s amazing how much more put together the living room looks with the added color & texture. As much as I want to be a beige/white/black/grey minimalist, I can’t seem to give up color. Just can’t do it. 

I have, however, declared to Juan that I’m not allowed to buy anything else orange. I gravitate to that color like a moth to a flame and it can get a little ridiculous. Especially when I look around and start asking myself “Why is there So. Much. Orange!?”. 

Like I’ve mentioned, I’m going to be participating in Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure and I’m excited to see how much more the living room will change in the weeks ahead! 

Blah Room? Let’s do Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure!

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A lot of people have asked me what the next “challenge” will be now that we’re done with No Spend Month

I’ve been wondering that too! Juan suggested something “home”-oriented so I’ve decided to sign up for Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure

Apartment Therapy is one of my favorite websites (I dream of our place being featured on there one day). The Style Cure is their yearly project to help you refresh a room in your home in time for the holidays. 

I signed up last year, but I was pretty pregnant so that didn’t really happen. But I did read the emails and loved how straightforward and easy the steps seemed.

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 photo: Katie Brady

My Goal? Refresh our living room. 

But, wait!?, you may say. Didn’t you just work on the living room?

Mmmhmm.

I tend to get partially through a home decor project and then feel paralyzed by indecision and self-doubt. (Was this couch a mistake? Oh! Look at this room on Pinterest. Does our space say “us”? What does “us” even look like?)

That said, our living room hasn’t changed much since we added our new couch and got rid of our old rug. Basically, it still looks like this:

Managing the EverydayIt’s better than it was, but it still has a long way to go.

I’m SO ready to get some more art on the walls and add some texture and color to balance out the white. 

And if I can do it in bite-sized pieces with guidance? All the better!

Want to join in the fun? The Style Cure starts on October 23rd so sign up now!

To Buy or Not to Buy

rug

So what do you do when you:

  1. Find a beautiful one-of-a-kind vintage rug that would be perfect for your living room. AND
  2. It’s No Spend Month.

I’ll be honest. If you are me, you buy the rug. Like I just did.

You Did WHAT?

Yes. I know. 

I debated buying it – I could have waited.

Someone else could have bought it, but I would have remained firm in my No Spend Month principles. (And part of me really likes following rules.)

I thought about buying it and not saying anything. I mean, it’s not like any of you would know that I didn’t wait until October. (But that’s shady.)

Instead, I decided to find a way to make it happen while still honoring the goal of No Spend Month. 

Take a Penny…

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photo: 401kCalculator.org

Since we didn’t have the extra money for a rug in our No Spend Month envelope, this meant making sacrifices elsewhere. (No pigs were harmed in the making of this sacrifice.)

We use the Envelope Technique of putting a little money aside every month to save up for big purchases. 

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We have virtual envelopes for everything: Car Repairs, HOA dues, Christmas Gifts, Clothing, etc. 

We looked at the balance in each and made some cuts. I sacrificed some of my “Fun Money” aka Allowance. We each took some from our Clothing envelopes (which were very healthy thanks to months of OVERfunding.)

When I asked Juan if he was really cool with taking from his Clothing budget, he said not to worry:

“If I run out of money for pants, I’ll just wear the rug.”

Sounds fair. 

Goodbye Creative Accounting

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Before No Spend Month, we would have bought the rug, let that envelope go negative and made up for it next month by saving a little less. 

It was a sneaky little give and take that in retrospect made about as much financial sense as spending Javi’s college tuition money on cupcakes

We didn’t do it all the time and never went into debt, but it still wasn’t a healthy habit. Now, we are feeling the pinch in the moment and not sacrificing our future. 

I think that’s a good No Spend Month Compromise.

Natural Spider Repellent Spray

Managing the Everyday: Natural Spider Repellent Spray

Yesterday morning I was in the kitchen when I saw it. A GIANT spider. Eating another spider of similar size. Bleh. 

Juan was here so I put a mason jar over it until he was able to relocate it outside. (If I was by myself, that thing would be DEAD. Juan is nicer than me.)

We like to use natural products – especially now that we have a little guy rolling around the house – so I’m going on defense with a fresh bottle of natural homemade spider repellent. 

Does it work?

Spiders smell through their feet (who knew?) so that explains why this is so unpleasant for them. I used this at our last place and it seemed to work well.

The best testimonial, however, was when we saw a spider actually flee our home, running a straight line to the front door while avoiding the areas where we had sprayed. 

Managing the Everyday: Natural Spider Repellent

Because images of actual spiders give me the heebeegeebees. 

Natural Spider Repellent Spray

  • Fill a spray bottle with warm water. 
  • Add a few drops of lemon essential oil: I usually use 3-5 drops per 8oz of water. (Hate citrus? Try peppermint)
  • Shake & Spray.

Pay special attention to window sills, doorways and other entry points. Dark corners, under kitchen counters and little nooks are also prime spider spots.

Note: Oils can stain, so be sure to spot test before use if you are concerned.

An Important Note about Cats

Managing the Everyday: Natural Spider Repellent Spray

I’ve read that essential oils can be harmful for cats. I do not have a cat nor am I qualified to say whether or not this diluted spray is safe to use around them.

I can tell you that after what I’ve read, if we had a cat I would 1) remove the cat from the room 2) ventilate during & after spraying 3) avoid spraying areas where the cat liked to hang out (around it’s bed, etc.) and 4) only let the cat back in after the spray had dried. 

For more about cats & essential oils, see here

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