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Daydreaming About a Patio

Let’s be really honest here. Eric and I do not live in our “dream” home. When we started looking for a house last year, it was because we firmly believed we should stop giving someone else our money (rent) and start investing in ourselves (mortgage). Buying a house was a logical conclusion, but our budget was tight and the market was hot, so we bought a “starter” home we could grow into. And it has a lot of, um, quirks.

While our house is pretty large for two people, I do have a couple of complaints that rear up from time to time. The first is the size of our kitchen and it’s lack of counterspace and storage. Let’s save that topic for another day, shall we?

The second complaint, which is definitely exacerbated by gorgeous weather, is our lack of outdoor space. Don’t get me wrong, we bought a house with plenty of yard, but that’s about it. There’s no deck, no garden, no comfort to speak of. So while a new kitchen configuration will take a lot of time and dolla dolla bills, this month we’re setting our sights on making our backyard habitable.

For starters, here’s some photos of what we’re working with.

We have a driveway that goes straight through to the backyard bordered by some ugly dirt and patches of weeds. My first instinct is to create a sense of ambiance by putting in a container garden.

A container garden appeals to me for the following reasons:

  1. I’m not a landscaper, so I like the flexability of being able to move things around until I like what I see.
  2. Using various pieces of furniture like chairs, benches and tables, I can create texture and visual interest by playing with height.
  3. I can create a color story with the furniture and planters by painting them in a cohesive color scheme.

Of course, my first stop in finding the patio of my dreams needs was Pinterest. Here are a few of the inspirations I found.

We’re starting slowly. First, I’m building the above mentioned container garden, and we’re going to try to find a new outdoor rug. I’m also planning to repaint the Adirondack chairs and furniture we already have. In addition, I spent several hours this weekend at yard sales and flea markets and found a lot of good stuff to start my garden! I have a ton of planters, a headboard, some chairs, a basket, and old watering can – you get the idea. Here’s a few photos, but this isn’t everything.

We also made a quick run to Lowe’s and bought about 10 cans of spray paint. My goal for the week is to clean everything I picked up so that I can start painting next weekend. Our colors are blush and bashful teal, navy and gray, which I think will pop against the white exterior of our house.

So, that’s about it for now. I’m thinking of doing a post outlining plans for each room and space of our house, with a list of projects, like Young House Love used to do. There’s so much more to come for the backyard, and then we’re going to focus on the kitchen this fall.

Very exciting things ahead!

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Checking In

Welp, as usual, I made a plan and didn’t stick to it. Ha!

I wrote about a bunch of challenges I wanted to do for the year in this post, and while I may have stuck to the spirit – none of them really took off.

Let’s check in, shall we?

  1. Read 52 Books: Still in progress, though not looking good. I’ve read about 11 books this year, though I’m currently almost done with 3.
  2. 3 Month Shopping Diet: I think the last clothing I bought was for my rehearsal dinner and honeymoon, so this was an unintentional success. I’ve been buying a lot of unnecessary OTHER things though, like books and makeup. So, semi-successful, but not completely.
  3. 3 Month Capsule Wardrobe: I still want to do this. May start in August?
  4. Whole30 (Again): Eric and I are committed to a healthier lifestyle. We don’t want to do a full Whole30 month, but we are getting back to meal planning and cutting out most grains, dairy and added sugars. It’s been pretty difficult over the summer, what with ice cream, beer, and cheese burgers around every corner. I’m considering posting my plans to the blog and maybe a few recipes a week? I don’t know. We’ll see.
  5. 30 Days of Yoga: Nope. Haven’t even touched this one, though I definitely should.
  6. 30 Days of Meditation: Also nope.
  7. Training for the Peachtree Road Race: Another semi-success. Between my running schedule and workouts with Kate, I did complete the Peachtree, though it was tough and definitely not my best. I hate running in the summer, and basically stopped around the time we went to the beach in June. I’m signed up for the Triple Peach, which means I have a 10 miler in October and a half marathon on Thanksgiving day, so I better get back at it.

    All smiles. This is a “before” picture. Clearly.

Other recent successes? While I haven’t been writing here, I have been working on a few stories. I don’t know if they’ll ever become novels, but I’m proud of what I’m writing, even if one of them is a super cheesy vampire fantasy.

I’ve also been cooking a lot, and reading about cooking, and reading about spices and meat cuts and knife skills, and basically just learning to be a better home chef. It’s been a blast.

I’m on page 172 and I’m still just learning about types of fruit. #thorough

We’re also planning a few home projects over the next month or so. Both of our bathrooms need work due to the shoddy craftsmanship of the previous owners/renovators. We also desperately want to turn our backyard into a place we enjoy spending time. Right now, it’s just sort of…there. We’re throwing ideas together right now, and I hope we get to start making changes in the next few weekends.

So, that’s where life is right now. Eric and I are both super busy, but we’re enjoying it. I was in a funk for a few months, but I feel like I’m out of the fog. I’m feeling reinvigorated, and more creative. I don’t know what that means for this space, if anything, but my goal (hahahahahahaha) is to try to throw some more content up here about what changes we’re making, and what meals we’re planning, what books we’re reading, those sort of things. If I do the capsule wardrobe challenge in August, I’ll post about it here for sure (am I really doing it if no one knows about it??).

Until then, if you’re reading this – thanks! Uh – here’s a photo from our wedding day!

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Travel Capsule: Nashville Bachelorette

Nashville Bachelorette

 

One day, in the distant future (after the statutes of limitations have expired – ha!), I may do a post about my bachelorette weekend. For now, let’s talk about the clothes!
I packed a fairly light wardrobe for the three day weekend. The above is a general idea, not an exact replica of my packing list. I do not own $805 loafers, and if I did, I definitely would not wear them on a Saturday night, navigating drunken crowds, from honky-tonk to honky-tonk. I also would never wear a pussy bow. But I digress.
Here’s how I planned my outfits:
  • Friday; Travel; 4 hours in a car – Gray Bride T-Shirt, Black Skinny Jeans, Loafers, Jacket
  • Friday; Various and Sundry Nightlife Options – Black Graphic Tee, Black Skinny Jeans, Loafers
  • Saturday; Picnic at Arrington Vinyard – Buffalo Plaid Shirt, Blue Jeans, Riding Boots
  • Saturday; Dinner at Pinewood Social and Honky-Tonk Shenanigans – White Bride Shirt (not pictured, provided by MOH), Black Jeans, Jacket, Riding Boots
  • Sunday; Brunch at The Southern – Green Shirt, Either Pair of Jeans
A few additional things to note: Obviously I packed underwear and PJs. I also packed one workout outfit and a pair of sneakers which went unused for obvious reasons. And of course, a few of our plans changed, as is wont to happen. We stayed in on Friday night instead of painting the town, and I changed into leggings for the duration. I also wore my MOH’s cowgirl boots on Saturday night, instead of my own riding boots. Otherwise, I stuck pretty close to the spirit of my packing list. The only thing shown that I didn’t wear was the black graphic tee.
How did I plan my capsule?
  1. I look at the weather. This is the #1 thing you should do. Let it be known, however, that I ignored a lot of what I saw because I stubbornly wanted to believe it was spring.
  2. I make a list of all of the activities I’m planning to do, and I assign very generic uniforms/outfits I’d like to wear with them. This included t shirts with jeans, a top with a maxi skirt, a dress, etc.
  3. I assign specific clothes I own to the outfits. For example, I knew I wanted to wear jeans and a graphic tee on Friday night, so I picked my Eiffle Tower graphic and black jeans. I also thought I could wear a chambray top with my black maxi for the vineyard or one of my flowery maxi dresses.
  4. I take a realistic look at what I can pair together. I take into account colors, as well as the fabric. In this case, obviously anything would go with jeans. Every top I ended up choosing could go with every bottom and the shoes. I knew the weather would be too cold to wear sandals, and I hate the look of a maxi dress with closed toed shoes, so those options were scraped.
  5. I lay everything out on my bed to ensure I have both enough clothes and not too many.*
  6. I pack!

The next step is to take these basic principals and apply them to my every day for three months. I’m still in the clearing out my closet stage, but I’m hoping to make more progress on selecting pieces for my capsule wardrobe this weekend!

*My real clothes. iPhone photos are not as pretty as Polyvore.
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Coming Soon!

I know you’re all desperately concerned at the lack of posts. I had my bachelorette party this weekend, and I might still be recovering. Haha. I have a good Speed Read post coming at you soon, and I’m hoping to get started on this capsule planning. Plus a quick and dirty home project. So stick around this week! 

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What It’s All About

Alright, friends. It’s been about 2 weeks since I started updating regularly again. In that time you’ve seen reviews about books, plans for a capsule wardrobe, a look at the Whole30 diet, a personal recap of 2016, and a summary of hygge.

What a hodgepodge of concepts.

And yet they are all scattered pieces of a larger whole – my goal for a simpler, more intentional life. A debt free, organized and tidy life of free time, and vacations, and patios, and barbecues, and good books, and dinner parties.

Photo Credit: Unknown – Tell me if it’s yours!

It sounds impossible at times, but the roadmap is already in place. After reading hundreds of blog posts, articles, and books, I’ve realized that minimalism, budgeting, capsules, fitness, healthy eating, yoga, meditation, reading – it all leads to one, very simple place – intentional living.

I’m planning to update the blog structure soon to reflect each piece of this broader puzzle, so that the posts are easier to find. I’m thinking the categories will look something like this:

  1. Book Reviews
  2. Budgeting
  3. Healthy Eating
  4. Fitness
  5. Decluttering
  6. Minimalism/Hygge
  7. Home Décor/Design
  8. DIY Projects at Home

Also, because just changing your life all at once doesn’t really work, I’m planning to take a few “challenges” this year, to jump start new habits. Some of the challenges (and goals) I’ll be tracking this year:

  1. Read 52 Books
  2. 3 Month Shopping Diet
  3. 3 Month Capsule Wardrobe
  4. Whole30 (Again)
  5. 30 Days of Yoga
  6. 30 Days of Meditation
  7. Training for the Peachtree Road Race

Hopefully I’ll learn a lot, and maybe even provide some tips and insight for you. What else do you want to see or read about in this corner of the Internet? Leave a comment. I’m all ears.

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Building a Capsule Wardrobe

stocksnap_z8i6ol37oaWHAT IS A CAPSULE WARDROBE?

The definition of a capsule wardrobe can vary depending on the articles or blogs you read. According to Susie Faux, who coined the term, it is a collection of classic items that won’t go out of style that can be enhanced by a few seasonal pieces. The intent behind a capsule was to curate a chic and effortless wardrobe with quality items.

More and more, the blogging community has expanded the term to include a specific number of items, provided worksheets and planners to help narrow down your pieces, and promoted a somewhat minimalist intent or mindset.

stocksnap_yisudloyc3WHY AM I CURATING A CAPSULE WARDROBE?

I already use the concepts of capsule wardrobes for travel. When I pack for a week at the beach or in the mountains, I select only my favorite items that I know can last through a few wears without being washed. I then pair them with items that compliment a majority of the pieces I’ve chosen. When I take the time to really plan out my packing list, I always feel comfortable and confident on my trip. When I just throw several pieces together that I THINK I should wear, without putting thought into comfort or wearability, I almost always end up buying clothes on my trip to supplement whatever I’m actually wearing.

So. Thoughtful selections = spending less money, and as I’ve already mentioned, spending less money is top of mind for me lately.

I also just really like the concept of only owning things you love. A capsule wardrobe is going to help me edit my clothes. What pieces am I going to choose to wear for three months? What pieces will I miss and be excited to wear again in July? And what am I actually missing in my closet?

stocksnap_fyln4ce6c7WHAT TOOLS AM I USING TO CREATE MY CAPSULE WARDROBE?

As previously mentioned, I’ve been reading about minimalism for years. Here are a few of the blogs that inspire me and keep my motivated.

Be More with Less – Project 333: I think Courtney Carver is THE name in capsule wardrobes these days. She has a plethora of tools and resources to guide anyone interested in trying out a minimalist closet.

Un-Fancy: Caroline Joy Rector’s blog is like a dream – gorgeous photos, beautifully simple clothes, and a very breezy writing style.

Anushka Rees: Previously titled INTO MIND. Anushka’s was the first blog I ever came across that provided a step-by-step guide on how to really curate a wardrobe, including how to define your style and discover your uniform.

The Vivienne Files: Janice creates capsule wardrobes almost daily, and has tons of planners and guides. Also, the dresses she finds give me heart eyes almost 100% of the time.

stocksnap_1u68pk9dj0WHAT’S NEXT?

Well. I’m still in the process of cleaning and decluttering, but I’m starting to think about the structure of my capsule and what pieces I will want to wear in Georgia, in the “spring”, from April through June. I’m also trying to determine if I want to make my capsule wardrobe professional only or multi-functional (weekend and travel wear included). I already have some pants and shorts in mind that I’d like to have on hand, and some tops that I wear regularly. I’ll probably throw in some skirts and a couple of dresses, and I may need to buy at least one new pair of shoes for work.

I’m excited to get started!

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23 Steps to Prepare Dinner

Alternative title: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

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  1. Meal plan. Pour over your favorite cookbooks, magazines and pinned recipes. Create a flowery weekly spread in your bullet journal and use your very best lettering skills to document your meals daily. Draw a grocery basket full of root vegetables or a dining room table with place settings – as needed.
  2. Write your grocery list based on each recipe. Then from that list, rewrite your list based on each grocery department so you have all of your produce in one place and you don’t get to the the sushi side of the Buford Highway Farmers Market, realize you forgot your cabbage, and walk the 4 miles back to produce, only to be elbowed, have your cart hit, and realize you forgot the soy sauce. If you’d prefer to get your 10,000 steps in at a grocery store, skip this suggestion.
  3. Get home at 3:00 PM and realize it’s too late to start your crock pot recipe for your chicken. Move the recipe to next week, because obviously just switching it out with the recipe for tomorrow is crazy, and who makes crock pot recipes ON A WEEKDAY? (Everyone. Everyone makes crockpot recipes on a weekday except you.)
  4. Forget to put your chicken in the freezer.
  5. On the day you plan to prepare your dish, realize you did not plan ahead AGAIN.
  6. Pour yourself a glass of wine.
  7. Decide to boil your chicken instead of slow cook it, to get the nice, dry, flavorless shredded chicken dish everyone knows and loves.
  8. Take your chicken out the refrigerator. Ignore that fact that it’s been in there for 10 days.
  9. Pierce the packaging of the chicken to allow the putrid smell of salmonella (probably) to waft through your tiny, tiny kitchen.
  10. Boil water.
  11. Inspect each chicken breast, determine 3 out of 4 of them only smell slightly off and still look mostly pink, and throw them in the boiling water.
  12. Take the remaining chicken breast that smells like the dying insides of your dog’s bowels, throw it into the trash.
  13. Take the trash outside.
  14. Pray your neighbors can’t smell your shame.
  15. Prepare the rest of your meal, which is basically just chopped cabbage and a soy sauce based dressing.
  16. When your chicken is finished boiling, pull it out of the water.
  17. Notice the peach gray look, and unmistakable stench of death, destruction, and future diarrhea.
  18. Take a small bite.
  19. Immediately regret your decision.
  20. Repeat steps 12-14. 
  21. Look longingly at your cabbage.
  22. Refill your wine.
  23. Order food from UberEats.