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April: home

“Of all the elements of a happy life, home is the most important.” – Gretchen Rubin

Always a sucker for a good quote, this is perhaps the best insight I received from reading Gretchen Rubin’s book Happier at Home. I’ve realized an important element to loving your home is recognizing how much happiness already exists there and then adding elements  of comfort, love, and appreciation to the space. Given that Spring has finally decided to grace us with its presence (lets hope it’s here to stay!), I wanted to devote this month to nurturing my surroundings.

As you know, each month I set out actionable goals relative to my three intentions for the New Year. Below are the specific goals I’ve outlined for April and how they relate to each over-arching desire.

Find joy and fulfillment in creativity.

  • Read a new book. Every month I choose a new book to read. This month it’s No Place Like Home: A Memoir of 39 Apartments by Brooke Berman. I chose this particular book because I feel a kind of kinship with the author. The book chronicles her journey to feeling settled without actually being settled (one of my biggest fears in life) and her realization that home is about the space you create, not just your address. Considering my bedroom revitalization project, I found this particular reading quest fitting for my month of home.
  • Purge, reorganize, finish projects. It seems Spring is finally here to stay and with it my urge to purge, reorganize, and nest is at an all time high. I have a few unfinished projects around the house I’d like to tackle. In particular, I’d like to tackle the storage areas in the house (closets, the basement, cabinets, and the like). I have yet to touch these areas because they just seem so daunting. But I love to throw things away so I should enjoy the process if I can get my butt in gear. On top of those few areas in the house, I also plan on finishing up the bedroom transformation project and the few craft/decor projects still on my plate. I love my little bungalow home and all that goes with making it feel “homey”.

Give more love.

  • Give back to the community. As most of you know, I am a volunteer coach for Girls on the Run – a program I am extremely passionate about. I’ll be sub coaching a few practices this month at various elementary schools teaching lessons in healthy eating habits and building self-confidence. I’ve gotten to sub coach a few times and it’s certainly rewarding to see the energy and excitement in the young girls but I also want to reach out to other parts of my community. I have a few ideas up my sleeve for the month (Earth Day will be here soon and so will the festival) and I am so looking forward to the opportunities. Giving love often makes me feel more loved in return.
  • A squeeze in the morning, a squeeze at night. Self-admittedly I need to practice more patience with Miley. Particularly when my schedule is hectic, I don’t take enough time to give her a pat or kiss on the head. I’m quickly out the door and she usually sits there staring at me with those “Why are you leaving me? I’m going to chew something up!” eyes. Even worse, I hardly give my cat the attention I used to since getting Miley two years ago. So, I resolved to give more love to my animals this month. Not just in practicing patience (oh, you want to smell the flowers for the 15th time in a row on our walk!? Okay…) but in making sure I give them a few undivided moments of attention. For this reason, I resolved to squeeze, kiss, and smother both the Milers and Nanners in the morning and before bed.

Live a balanced life.

  • Use the dining room table. The only time I ever use my dining room table is when I’m hosting a potluck dinner or family gathering of some sort. I love communal gatherings because it promotes conversation and together-ness, but since I live alone you can usually find me eating my meals on the kitchen floor or in the living room. While I may not have a roommate to share in the festivities with, I am making it a goal this month to have only home-cooked meals (no eating out, at least on my dime) and eating those meals at the table.  I’ve gotten out of this particular habit and I want to re-instill that practice in my everyday regimen.
  • Use a quiet day. This is the one goal I did not complete last month not because I didn’t have time, but because I forgot (oops!). Similar to my technology-free day, I’m looking forward to the solitude and quality reading/journaling time I’ll get.

April seems rather basic after looking at my goals for the month but I’m feeling simplistic at this juncture. Considering I’m still carrying on previous monthly goals like the one sentence journal, meatless Mondays, potluck dinners, and flossing I think I’m all set!

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A space for me

Feeling overly ambitious, I decided to tackle the big bedroom transformation project Friday night. While there is still a lot I want to do with the room, I’m feeling accomplished that the paint job is finished and that I even had a chance to put my creative skills to the test in my efforts to transform one corner of the room. While I’m not going to show the room as it is now (I don’t want to ruin the surprise once it all comes together) I will share bits and pieces as things unfold.

So, first step: painting. Let me just say I loathe, loathe painting but when the mood strikes I can get things done. I ended up using the same color of paint that I used when transforming the guest bedroom – a Bonsai gray. It’s probably my favorite color of all time for its mere transformational power. My room has always felt overly cramped not just because of my big furniture but also because of the room color – a dark mustard yellow. I actually really liked the mustard yellow but since my primary goal with this project is to make my personal space feel more open, I wanted to go for something airy and bright. From the first coat of paint, I instantly felt the room opening up.

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A small project I took on in addition to painting the room this weekend was a quick make-over of a mirror I’ve had for years. The silver and black went really well with the dark mustard yellow but it felt plain and boring against the light gray walls. Going for bright, cheerful accent colors to the gray backdrop I opted for a sunny yellow (which happens to go perfect with my other accent color, royal purple). This particular venture only took about 10 minutes, 1 hour of drying, and $3.22 in spray paint. A quick and cheap DIY project which turned out fantastic!

Before

Before

After

After

After a really hard couple of months, I wanted to take on a project that would serve to revitalize my sense of self. I want every inch of my bedroom to be something that inspires me, comforts me, or just brings a smile to my face in one way or another. Every time I walk by the room and see this bright sunny mirror hanging there, I smile. It brings joy to my personal space and I love that.

You’ll notice in the corner is a stack of books. Wanting to personalize this corner, I chose books that have changed my life or inspired me in some way. Among those is a travel guide to Guatemala (be adventurous); Eat, Pray, Love (be prepared for endless and riotous waves of transformation); and the Heart and the Fist (live a life of intention). There’s a few more in there, but they’re mostly placeholders till I can sift through my other books and add to the pile.

It’s turning out beautiful and I’m anxious to start in on the other projects. By the end of March, I don’t think I’m ever going to want to leave my room!

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Home is happiness made simple

I have had a whirlwind few weeks juggling work and school and quickly realized I am not doing so well on the whole  balance thing. My motto these past few weeks: “There are not enough hours in the day.”

I’m pretty good at knowing when I’m close to reaching burnout and needing to take care of myself. So, I decided to take a little “me” time and booked a long weekend trip to Wisconsin to visit my parents. Even though I spent a good chunk of my time there studying for midterms and working, I realized more than anything I just miss their presence. They are the people I want to return to over and over, the ones I never get tired of and who lift me up when I’m feeling overwhelmed and down.

While the weekend was pretty low-key, it was exactly what I needed. I love that no matter how old I get, some things never change in the Schultz household. For starters, Saturday and Sunday mornings are about crowding around the kitchen, drinking coffee, chatting about life, and cooking breakfast. It’s quality family time and the perfect start to weekend days.

A few highlights from the weekend include visiting a christmas warehouse store – three levels of everything you can imagine “Christmas.” It was almost overwhelming but I got some pretty cool ornaments out of it, which I can’t wait to share pictures of when I set up the tree next week. We also spent a day at a wine/specialty olive oil bar which was a lot of fun. We had some bitch wine (yes, it really is called that) and sampled some of the best olive oil and balsamic vinegar I have ever had – ones that taste like pure chocolate, lemon, and basil. I’ve already put in a plug that I want a christmas basket from here, this being the second one. Other highlights include perusing a local bookstore, building fires, cuddling, and watching movies. It was the perfect weekend.

Home is happiness made simple.

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The joys of being a homeowner

I purchased my cute little bungalow home a little over two years ago and the joys of being a homeowner are never-ending. Although being a homeowner requires a lot of responsiblity I love the fact that I have privacy, freedom to live how I want and decorate according to my tastes, and the sense of pride I get anytime I tackle a home improvement project to fix it up. Mostly, I just really enjoy being able to relish in how comforting and homey it feels here.

All that aside, it really sucks when things start breaking down. When one thing goes, it’s just a matter of time till the next thing. And before you know it you’ve spent tons of money you don’t really have. A year ago my dishwasher broke. I’ve been doing dishes by hand for the past year for the very fact that my small and awkwardly sized dish washer costs $700 to replace. Ridiculous! I’ve been getting along just fine though and then all of a sudden my washing machine broke. I inherited all of this equipment from the previous owners, who inherited it from the previous owner, who also inherited it from the previous owner. So basically what I’m getting at is this equipment is ancient and I knew it was just a matter of time till it wanked out on me. So instead of getting upset I put on my big girl pants and headed to Lowe’s to check out replacements.

It really is amazing how much some washing machines cost. Being cheap Lindsay, I went for the second lowest priced one and although it’s not all that pretty it’s still energy-efficient so I don’t feel cheated at all. Since I was there I figured I might as well get around to replacing the dish washer too. I walked out of the store making a huge dent in my wallet and while that normally would put me in a bad mood I actually left with a feeling of elation at the prospect of having new home appliances. This is how you know you’re getting a little wacky!

So now I have new home appliances installed and they’re working wonderfully. I forgot how much I love dishwashers and now I never want to part with one again. There’s still a lot to conquer in this little old house but I’m excited for the upcoming adventures!

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DIY love

After a weekends worth of work, I can finally say my guest room is complete (sans home accent furnishings). Yeah!! Last night, my Dad came over to help me hang the headboard. I was also able to talk him into staying a little bit longer to install curtain rods and replace my outlet sockets (thank you again by the way). After three hours of work, we got it all sorted out and I’ve spent tonight putting together the bedding, rug, curtains, etc.

Out of this whole process, hanging the headboard had to be the most challenging and frustrating part. It took drilling over 11 holes in my wall to finally find a stud we could hook the screws in the back of the headboard to. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered (not just in this room) that in my house, a stud finder lighting up doesn’t really mean there’s an actual stud in the wall. We finally got a groove though and a combination of using a stud finder and knocking on the wall to look for hollow spots finally allowed us to find the right place to screw in the hangers. I know I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of my brother Austin and my Dad, but I had a feeling of such accomplishment when it was finally on the wall. It was a moment of giddiness – I love those types of moments.

While I was finishing up the room, I started thinking about how much effort and work were put into making this room over. For being on such a tight budget, it’s hard to renovate your home the way you want and finding ways to do home improvement projects within those budget constraints sometimes make you think the amount of effort and work you have to put forth isn’t worth it. Well, I can tell you that I am extremely happy I decided to go with the flow. My budget was $200. My final breakdown of costs to re-do this room are:

  • Headboard: $7 (free wood, free labor, only paid for the yellow spray paint)
  • Curtains: $16 (4 curtains at $4 a piece)
  • Curtain Rods: $40 (2)
  • Paint: $38
  • Supplies: $0 (all donated)
  • Rug: $40
  • Pillows: $20 (on sale)

Total cost: $161…almost $40 under budget!

Not only am I happy that I was able to save a little bit of money, but I am so proud of how well the room turned out. Less really is more in this uniquely laid out room. It used to be jam packed with all of Miley’s things, extra blankets, a dresser, an 8×10 rug and a bed. It was just too much. I prefer this feel and layout much more. It’s warm and inviting and at the end of the day – I kind of wish it was my room! It’s a room sans home accent furnishings (wall art, etc.) but that will come with time. For now, here is the final product!

  

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A work in progress

Back in April, I mentioned that one of my goals over the next couple of months would be to start working on some home improvement projects. I love my cute little bungalow home but it’s small on space so in my quest to live minimally, a lot of my focus has been how to utilize the most space with the least amount of furniture. In particular, I find a ton of inspiration from one of my favorite home improvement blogs, House Tweaking. I absolutely love this lady’s style so when I came across a DIY “love” headboard, I decided to make-over my guest room.

The headboard was made from old barn wood I was able to take from a friend’s farm. Since I’m not very handy, I gave my plans to my Dad to build it for me and he did a great job! I was surprisingly impressed and I love that he gave it a more rustic feel by off-setting the boards so they weren’t perfectly aligned.

I was almost tempted to leave the headboard as is since it had so much character, but for the feeling I’m going for in the guest room, I’ve decided to go ahead and paint “love” in yellow. I bought some chalk and some spray paint. Still needs a few more coats, but here it is so far.

And since I hate painting, I hired my little brother to come over and do the job for me. The original room I got inspiration from used a dark charcoal gray as the wall color. Since my guest room doesn’t get a lot of natural light, I didn’t want to go too dark so I went for a more light and airy gray. I spent two hours at Lowe’s and finally decided on Valspar’s Bonsai. When presented with a million and one options, it takes me awhile to make a decision but I’m so glad I chose this color – I absolutely love it! It’s versatile and I’ve realized I have endless amounts of color combinations I can use for accent pieces.

The only thing left to do in the room is paint the base boards and do a little touch up. I get more accomplished early in the morning for some reason so I plan on finishing that up tomorrow and putting the final yellow coat on the headboard. Hopefully everything will be dry in time for my Dad to come flush mount the headboard to the wall tomorrow and all will be D-O-N-E!  On the to-do list for tomorrow: home accent shopping. Yeah!

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