Whimsical September

Guest Bedroom Overhaul Progress

Monday, June 29, 2015

Usually when I paint a new room, I have to get my mind right to get in there and get it done fast. I've said before that I don't like having lots of messy painting materials hanging around for days and days (is that OCD?!) , so I usually just take advantage of every time Hadley's sleeping to work, work, work for a couple days straight. 

Of course I usually collapse afterwards, but I'm always glad to cross a task off in my dream home book!

This basement bedroom though. 

It's quickly knocked me flat on my butt! I'm exhausted, and though I've been working on this room for what feels like weeks, we've still only put a dent in the work that needs to be done.

This is the only official bedroom in our basement (the other two are considered non-conforming because they don't have easily-accessible windows). We'd like to use this room as our main guest room because it's spacious, has a full bathroom attached to it, and gives guests plenty of room to spread out downstairs. 

When we moved in 10 months ago it had brown doors, brass hardware, and some very random deep blue carpet. I absolutely couldn't stand the blue carpet, so getting it up and outta here has been high on my priority list for a while.

It also has an oddly massive walk-in closet that needed some TLC as well. The shelving was never treated, and the walls looked like they used to be canvases for children to paint and color on (something you can't see well in these photos).

The first thing we had to do was get the carpet up. It was actually in phenomenal, near brand new condition, so we decided to offer it for free on a Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade site to whoever could come and rip it up/haul it off. Because this room is quite spacious, we figured somebody could really use the carpet.

Sure enough we had many requests for it within just minutes, and later that night a sweet couple showed up to take it away. They were so thankful for it, and we were glad we went this route of getting rid of it. Plus it saved us a ton of energy and maybe a little bit of money too!

We did not give away the pad with the carpet because it's a super thick pad that's also near brand new condition. The couple that took the carpet didn't need the pad anyway, so that worked out well!

Backing up a bit, I painted the three door frames back in December at the same time that we had new doors and hardware installed.

It's always the projects that I anticipate being the easiest that are the hardest and vice versa. I expected painting this bedroom and closet to be a cinch because I wouldn't have to worry about covering the flooring, but it's still been incredibly time consuming.
Things we can check off our to-do list so far:
  1. Ripped up and hauled off carpet
  2. Painted trim in closet and in bedroom (it took three full coats until it looked good - sigh)
  3. Caulked the trim all the way around the whole bedroom and closet since so much of it had pulled away from the wall
  4. Painted the closet shelving (this also took three full coats of paint since the raw wood soaked up so much of the paint)
  5. Took down the old blinds 
  6. Painted the window (this also took three coats because the grain continued to show through)
  7. Painted the bedroom walls
  8. Painted the closet walls
I used Dutch Boys Ultra White for the trim, window, and closet shelving, but I wouldn't actually highly recommend this paint. Our handyman originally started painting our trim with this before we let him go last fall (long story), but we decided to continue using this paint for the trim since it's what we started with.

I painted the bedroom walls with Valspar's Tempered Gray (colored-matched at Home Depot) in a satin finish. Remember me saying how much I loved this color after using it in my upstairs half bath?

I painted the bedroom closet walls with Sherwin Williams's Balanced Beige. We had almost a whole gallon of this paint left over from last fall when we painted the living room and hallways, and I really didn't want to spend money on new paint just for a closet. I actually like the way it looks anyway!

Now that the painting is done, we need to get a move-on with the carpet. I've spent the last week running around to different companies getting estimates and looking at samples, but everything is just so dang expensive. Trying to find something that blends with the rest of the basement carpeting that's not a fortune ($600+) is proving really difficult. Do you see in the picture below where the blue carpet meets the basement carpet? That's what I'm trying to semi-match (even though we really can't stand that carpeting either). 

If this were our forever home we probably wouldn't mind shelling out good money to go ahead and put in all new carpeting downstairs, but at this point all we want to do is get things updated and looking nice in the meantime before we sell in a couple years. 
Such a learning process!
Here's some "before and current" pictures for fun! I hope to be back before too long with the finished room. 




Stitch Fix #8 - June 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Welcome to my Stitch Fix review: DRESS EDITION! With the BlogHer conference coming up in just three weeks (insert me squealing!), what I'm going to wear has been on my mind a lot lately. The last time I purchased business-casual non-maternity dresses was three years ago, so I'm officially in search mode for conference-appropriate attire! There are worse things than having an excuse to do a little shopping. ;) I asked my stylist for four dresses and one summer top (maybe to wear on the plane or something), so four dresses and one top is exactly what showed up in my box. Take a look!

Pictures aren't doing much for this dress in my opinion because it's really gorgeous in person. It's made of a thicker, more durable linen material and is nicely lined. I'm loving the modest subtle v-neck neckline as well as the square back with vertical buttons. It's so pretty!

Sadly, it's just one size too big, but I've emailed the company to see if I can exchange it for a smaller size. It's just too pretty to pass up!

I was a little put off by this print at first, but it's such an awesome "throw on and go" dress. It's really comfortable and a piece that will wash and wear with ease.

This dress is also lined which is important to me!

Though I wasn't able to take an awesome picture of this next piece, I'll go ahead and tell you that it's my favorite item this month. I didn't think much of it when I picked it up to try it on, but as soon as I put it on and looked in the mirror I was surprised by how much I loved it! I know I've said this in most of my Stitch Fix posts before, but the #1 thing I love about this service is that it's really helping me figure out what I love to wear and what I feel the best in by sending me pieces that I normally would never have picked up.

I love waist belts/ties because my waist is my smallest part, so any piece that takes away from my big ol' behind is a winner in my eyes. ;) It hits right at mid-thigh just like I prefer, and the material is just so airy! I'm definitely bringing this one to New York and considering pairing it with this necklace to dress it up a bit. What do you think?

I'm trying really hard to find something wrong with this dress. It just seems so plain, but I know that I can solve that issue by pairing it with a belt or statement necklace as shown (note: The belt does not come with the dress). It's really comfortable and fits me to a tee. I'm loving the bouncy material!

The deciding factor for this dress was the fact that I'll be able to wear it year round depending on how I style it. It's sort of like a blank canvas that I know I'll be able to do a lot with. Excited to keep it!

This next shirt is awesome - the color, the fit, the material, the length, everything!

In case there's any question, it's absolutely a keeper!


Pink Martini Seneca Dress - Kept
Crescent Valentina Dress - Kept
Ezra Hailey Printed Dress - Kept
Renee C Terah Dress - Kept
Papermoon Chileno Split Neck Blouse - Kept

You read that right! I'm keeping all five (pending the exchange on the first dress for a smaller size). The best part about keeping the whole box is that I get 25% off of everything! So pumped! 

What is Stitch Fix?

Stitch Fix is a stop-anytime apparel subscription service that sends customers five pieces of clothing and accessories once a month (or more or less depending on one's preferences) based on price points that one designates in her profile. Stitch Fix stylists hand-pick what to send each customer based on one's online profile created upon sign up. Customers are charged a $20 styling fee upfront per shipment, but the styling fee is later applied to any item(s) the customers chooses to keep.  If one chooses to send back all five items, Stitch Fix keeps the $20 fee. A customer's best bet is to keep at least one item since $20 has already been paid. Stitch Fix also includes a prepaid bad to send all unwanted items back. If a customer chooses to keep all five items, she gets a 25% discount off of the entire box. So awesome! I love this concept of shopping!

Additional note: Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity styles!

My Previous Stitch Fix Reviews

Ready to get started? I think it's so much fun!

I'd love and appreciate if you used my referral link here to check it out! I do receive a small commission for referrals I receive which allows me to keep up these posts! THANK YOU to those who've used it in the past! Truly appreciate it, friends.

How Do You Welcome Your New Neighbors?

A couple weeks ago our neighbors across the street left to head to their next duty station, and the very next day a different moving truck arrived ready to move in another family. We scoped them out for a couple of days when they were in and out with boxes, and around day four I quickly whipped up some homemade s'mores cookies and a welcome note and the three of us (plus Teddy, of course) headed over to welcome them to the neighborhood.  We'd never formally welcomed new neighbors before, so we were a little giggly walking over there and ringing the doorbell. Thankfully they were incredibly nice and actually have children close to Hadley's age. I'm glad we broke the ice with them because I know we're going to really enjoy having them on the street.

When we moved in to our current home last September, we were so happy when three different families came over to casually say hello. This was a first for us because we didn't experience this when we moved to Tennessee or Arizona.  One family came with wine and some fresh vegetables from their garden, while the other two just came to shake hands, introduce themselves, and say "welcome". All three of their efforts meant a lot to Jamie and me and truly did make us feel welcomed to our new street.

I recently reached out to four women and asked them to weigh in on welcoming new neighbors. I also asked them to share stories, if they had any, of kindness that they received when they were the new kids in town. Here's what they had to say.

Casual conversation + a small gift
"My favorite way to welcome a new neighbor is to start by just saying 'Hi!'.  I like to wait until I see them out and about and will go over and introduce myself and get to know a little about them.  A few days later, I'll stop by with a gift.  A new houseplant, flowers, or a small giftcard to Home Depot or Target are always good options for new homeowners.  If they are from out of town, I'll give them a small sheet of great local restaurants or free kids activities in the area if they have small ones.  Feeling welcome in a new area is the best feeling!" - Meagan | All The Joys 

"When we moved into our current house five years ago, we were so excited about our house because it had everything we were looking for...5 bedrooms, on a court & a pool in the backyard. I was hoping we would have nice neighbors. There are 10 houses on our court and within 1 week of moving in EVERY SINGLE FAMILY on our court stopped by our house to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood. One family brought us a bottle of wine the night we moved in. Another family invited us over to dinner so that we could get to know each other and 2 weeks after we moved in the court had a block party so that all the kids & adults could get to know us. We felt so welcomed and feel so blessed to live on a court that is all about community and spending time together!" - Mel | The Larson Lingo

A plate of goodies + building on experience

"We've only ever been welcomed to our current duty station. It felt so nice to be welcomed, so I started doing it for the new neighbors. With the last neighbors we got, I stopped by with a plate of cookies and a little welcome note that included my phone number. Our next door neighbors just left, so this time I'll be welcoming the new neighbors with a little basket of store-bought treats, along with some small trinkets and chalk for the kids to play with while they wait on their toys." - Alex | Munchkins and the Military

Gift basket from a hallway neighbor goes a long way
"Apartment living is always so tricky when it comes to getting to know your neighbors. You would think since your front doors are extremely close that you would see each other all the time, right? Wrong. It's always just a quick and forced “Hello, how are you” as we walked by each other but that was until I moved into my current place. I was settled into my building for just shy of two weeks when I heard a knock on the door. Thinking it was just my landlord, I went to open it and to my surprise, standing there was an elderly lady who I remember seeing in the lobby a few times. In her arms she held the most adorable basket filled with store bought brownies (yes please! I totally freak out when it comes to eating food made by someone I don’t personally know very well), chapstick, cute fuzzy socks and other small items. She introduced herself as living across the hall and wanted to welcome me to the building! Getting that package and more importantly, having someone reach out to ensure I felt welcome was such a sweet surprise and definitely made my day!" - Kerri | Hey Kerri Blog

When new neighbors are rare

"We live on a pretty amazing court. We moved in 5 years ago and since then, there has only been 1 new family that has moved in. When people move onto our court, they stay. :) When our neighbors got a job transfer, another family moved in and I knew I wanted the new family to feel as welcomed as we did when we first moved in. The week they moved in, I made them chocolate chip cookies and also brought them a bottle of wine and a note saying 'Welcome to the Neighborhood'." - Mel | The Larson Lingo

Thanks so much ladies for sharing your stories! So what about you? Have you been the recipient of a welcomed act of kindness when you were the new kid on the block? Do you have a go-to method for welcome new neighbors? I'd love to hear!

Contributor Post on The Today Show's website: She'll Never Remember This Summer, But I Will

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TODAY.com Parenting Team Contributor

Good morning everyone! I'm excited to have another contributor post featured on The Today Show's Parenting Team website. I poured my heart (and a lot of time) into this one, so I'd love if you popped over and gave it a read. Additionally, there's a circular white button up top near the title and social media options labeled "vote". If you like the article, please give the button a click. There's no registering involve; it's just as simple as clicking. It would mean so much to me!

Read it here: She'll Never Remember this Summer, But I Will

Have a beautiful Wednesday!

Father's Day Weekend 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I get such a high from good, clean, whole family fun, and this weekend was all about it!

On Saturday morning we were up at 7 and were quickly getting things together to get out the door. The Landers invited us to rent a boat with them for the morning to kick off Father's Day weekend and their son's 2nd birthday, and we jumped at the idea. The MWR marina was about a 40 minute drive, and because we planned to go boating before the kids' afternoon nap time, we needed to start the day early.

The water was really choppy that morning, so we ended up renting a pontoon boat which worked out perfectly because it gave Hadley and Jack plenty of room to spread out and play.

The kids started out with their lifejackets on, but my child had a completely unexpected meltdown. MELT. DOWN. She had no problem wearing it at the beach in February when we went out on the boat, but this time around she wasn't having it. I had a bit of a heart attack taking it off of her at first, but it was quickly obvious that unless all four of us completely ignored her that she wasn't going anywhere. I still would have rathered she worn the life jacket! #momnerves

Her absolute favorite spot to sit was on Chris's lap as his co-captain. I kept asking him if he minded that she was sitting with him, but he was so good with her and just let her have fun. Thanks, Chris!

Jack's favorite spot most of the time was with mom. How fun are Meg's sunglasses? Perfect summer shades!

Hadley and I both had 'hat issues' on the boat. She refused to keep any of the three that I brought on her head, so I lathered up her scalp with sunscreen (hence the insanely messy hair). On that note, if you have a hat suggestion for toddlers who hate wearing hats, I'm all ears in the comments section!

As for my own hat issue, I started the boat ride wearing a new-ish Old Navy fedora, but the breeze took it from my head and it sunk before we could get to it. Bummer. Three cheers that it was cheap!

Not pictured: our matching swim bottoms. Great minds think alike. ;)

Hadley finally let Jack have a turn as co-captain with his dad. :)

Jamie had a long week at work, so a morning out on the boat relaxing was just what the doctor ordered for him!

These two could eat their weight in strawberries. As soon as the berries came out, the kids made a beeline.

We love maxin' and relaxin' with Dad.

Jack's last day of being a one year old! Big boy. :)

Meg and I were talking on the boat about how much more fun we were having with the kids along and how much they brighten our every day lives with happiness. I definitely went through a phase last spring/summer where I struggled adjusting to the new challenges parenthood brought, especially when it came to my social life. Now that I feel like we're very comfortably in our parenting groove, I actually prefer having Hadley around because she truly does make everything just more light-hearted and entertaining. Watching her have fun on the boat was probably our favorite part of the whole day! Just want to offer a little bit of encouragement to any new moms who are struggling with similar feelings like I used to have. You'll get in your groove, and things get so much easier!

The rest of the day Saturday was spent doing yard work, painting the basement guest room, grilling pizzas, and relaxing. 

Sunday was Father's Day, and we loved celebrating our favorite guy around!

We gave Jamie his gifts on Thursday just because, but we held on to his cards until Sunday morning. 

While he went for a morning run, I whipped up some chocolate chip pancakes (his favorite breakfast). We had a small tub of sour cream that needed to be used up, so I found a fantastic sour cream pancake recipe that I used (found here). It's definitely going to be our go-to pancake recipe from now on. So good!

Once Hadley finished her breakfast she climbed on the bench with us until we were done, too.

After breakfast we went to church and then ate lunch at the new Tallgrass Brewery Company here in Manhattan. The Landers joined us, and we had a good time celebrating our guys! I wanted to get a picture of just Jamie and Hadley, but she was having a major "cling to mama" moment. Nap time for you, kiddo.

She napped until 4:45 p.m. (we're guessing there's a growth spurt happening), so by the time she woke up it was time to start getting dinner ready.

Meg shared with us a delicious recipe they'd recently found, and Jamie immediately requested it for his Father's Day dinner. It was a roasted vegetable salad with a cilantro-avocado dressing (recipe found here), and it was pretty darn incredible! Jamie could have eaten just the dressing alone. ;)

Jamie was also excited to use his new Bottle Breacher for the first time to crack open a beer with dinner. Have you entered yesterday's giveaway to win one for yourself? Head on over to yesterday's post and enter to win. It's quick and easy to do.

A few days ago I was reading through my Father's Day post from last year, and I just couldn't believe how tiny Hadley was!

I took the above picture of her during dinner last year, so I decided to take another one this year to show her growth. Blows my mind how much she's grown!

After Hadley had a chance to FaceTime with her grandparents one more time and horseplay with Dad just a bit more, we got her ready for bed and laid her down by 8. 

Overall we had a really nice family weekend. I hope you and your loved ones did as well!

Related Post: Jamie's First Father's Day 2014