Even though it doesn’t quite feel like spring yet, my internal clock still has the urge to purge my home of unnecessary stuff: toys, clothes, expired food, my husband’s third boat, you name it. As I read stories in magazines and websites offering spring cleaning tips, all I keep thinking about is the cover story from the last issue of Breathe that I put out before I was [dry hard gulp] fired. If I had been braver back then, I would’ve shared what that experience was like. Maybe now I will. But not, like, right this second. Right now, I want to share the best cleaning advice that I keep coming back to every time I get overwhelmed with clutter. Because it really does make sense and it’s totally doable! I was lucky enough to have Kath Younger from Kath Eats Real Food write this piece. She takes very specific, relatable problems in different rooms of the house and then shares her solutions. Breathe has since folded so you can’t read this story in website form, but you can read it as a digital magazine via issuu. Just flip to page 18. Check it out and let me know what you think!
I love home design. But I know that my expensive taste doesn’t match my current life. So until my children are older (possibly moved out of the house) and I stop feeling the need to add new, poorly trained animals to our brood, I have to set limits and get my design fix through blogs like Design Milk and my new favorite Instagram account, @hunkerhome. If money were no object, my floors would be smattered with statement rugs from Thomas Paul. It’s just hard to rationalize investing in furniture or decor that will get peed, pooped and puked on. This is not a mere possibility, it’s an inevitability.
I have a rug rule: If it’s 5×7 or smaller, it has to be under $200. And all rugs must be under $300. We just said goodbye to our cowhide rug, which was layered over a natural jute rug. You would be surprised how well cowhide handles stains, but in the end it had more bald spots than an Olive Garden at 4pm. And the jute rug had seen its share of set-in stains, like the one from last summer when Dave decided to see what would happen if he squeezed a fully engorged tick he pulled from one of the dogs. He couldn’t have stepped three feet to the left and done this over the very wipeable hardwood floors (no furniture rearrangement could hide that one).
We already had a blue/brown thing going in our living room, and certainly didn’t need any more brown added to the mix. I love how the pattern almost welcomes messes, as it kind of looks like a loosely orchestrated Rorschachian spill itself. Dave and I have a bet on how long it will take for Thatcher to “christen” the rug. He only gave it a day, and I bet three. We are on day four with no accidents, so everybody loses and yet… winning!
In other home design news: Did you know that Canadians refer to all sofas as Chesterfields and not just these? Totally rethinking the Barenaked Ladies lyrics now. Mind. Blown.
I know, right? It’s so big. And boxy. But when you live in rural North Carolina, a trip to “the Walmart” is as much a part of your week as going to the post office… or the ABC Store. It may not be as white and shiny as Target, with its “affordable” lines of clothing from high-end designers. The lighting may be depressing, some of the clientele might be equally depressing, and you can’t find specialty items like hemp hearts…
Wait, I had a point. Oh yes. Their new online grocery shopping! If you like the idea of Walmart’s prices, but the idea of going into Walmart depresses the crap out of you or stresses you out to no end, this is the perfect solution. It has changed my life. Let me count the ways:
It saves time. It takes some time to pick out my items online, but nowhere near as much time as it does to walk through the aisles at the store. Especially considering I usually have a kid or two in tow, which leads me to my second point.
It saves my sanity. My 2-year-old daughter can Houdini her way out of any shopping cart seatbelt, so it’s no surprise that she won’t stand right beside me quietly while I compare prices on pasta. I can pick out my items from the comfort of my couch rather than picking up every item she pulls off the shelves as we go. This reason alone is enough to shop online.
No impulse shopping. I admit it. I’m the one who walks by the displays right before checkout and has to have that Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo DVD for 4.99 (true story). And what’s that? Lip balm in a cute ball-shape container? Yes, please!
Two words: Savings Catcher. This feature of the Walmart app finds out if an item you bought is being sold elsewhere for less and puts the difference on a gift card for you. So if you buy Silk Almond Milk at Walmart for $2.98, but it’s on sale at Harris Teeter for $2.50, the Savings Catcher will “catch” that and pocket the 0.48 for you. All you have to do is enter the TC# from each receipt into the app, and let it do the rest. It’s literally mindless and it adds up. This is something you can use whether you shop online or in-store, but I just discovered it and am pretty obsessed.
It’s free! Yes, I know Publix has free online grocery shopping, too. But the closest Publix to my house is 45 minutes away and it’s not quite budget friendly enough to be the go-to store for my weekly basics.
I admit I was concerned about the produce, but I couldn’t have picked out a better bunch of bananas myself. All of this being said, the one thing that kills me is that I can’t use my own shopping bags. But I’m hanging onto the hope that following this whole hand sanitizer ban, the EPA will find that plastic bags are actually good for the planet. In the meantime, reusing and recycling alleviates my conscience enough (oh, the things you can make with plarn).
If you want to try it, use this link. You’ll save $10, and so will I.
I’m at the point in my pregnancy where I will bring life into the world before my milk in the fridge expires. It’s really any day now. And while I don’t feel as psycho ready as I did the first time, at least I have the nursery all finished!
My aunt makes these amazing quilts and has created one for our little girl, which will be en route to Asheville with my parents when they come for The Event. I plan to hang it over the crib. She also made a cushion for the rocking chair to match!
I also want one of those giant letter A’s to go over the day bed. Other than that, it’s pretty much done!
I could probably do a better job of storing the wipes and dipes, but I know if it’s the slightest bit of an extra step, it won’t last long anyhow.
We’ve been scouting Craigslist for months for a reasonably priced church pew (my friend has one in her front room and I LOVE it). But then I found these theatre seats at The ScreenDoor for a steal and couldn’t resist. They make such a fun alternative to the typical bench. Well, okay, they are technically stadium seats, but calling them theatre seats makes us sound more like patrons of the arts and less like people who own a giant foam finger.
I’m about to show you something that I usually keep behind closed doors.
This is not staged or styled or enhanced with any Instagram features for your benefit. This is my laundry. This is also my chair (if you can see under the mountain of mess.) I, like a child, tend to put off the ickier things in life… the things on my “to do” list that aren’t fun or pleasant. I often hear my mother’s sing-songy mantra in my head, “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do.” I know she’s right, but that doesn’t keep me from saying, “I know, I know,” to nobody in particular like a crazy person as I pass by the ever-growing piles of laundry in pursuit of greener (but obviously not cleaner) pastures. Did I mention this wasn’t the only pile?
So today I’ve hit my mess threshold. I decided I need to be a role model for my son and clean up after myself. After I finish this post, I’m logging onto Netflix for back-to-back-to-back episodes of my latest guilty TV pleasure while I fold and more importantly PUT AWAY the laundry. But I’m not telling you what show I’m watching—that’s even more embarrassing than my laundry situation.
What do you do to motivate for the icky household chores?
I’m obsessed with all things Orla Kiely. She’s the first handbag I went back to once I graduated from my diaper bag (yay!):
And when she made melamine plates for Target, I snapped those up as well:
I made my monthly pilgrimage across town to Target over the weekend and found that Orla Kiely had made yet another match in heaven with Method. Yes, I will buy the soap that comes in the prettier bottle. It’s such an easy way to pretty up a guest bathroom! Besides, I would buy toilet paper if it came in an Orla Kiely print.
Last night after a fun-turned-frantic evening out with friends, I plopped myself down on our old, worn sectional in my favorite corner spot with a bowl of pasta and an episode of Frasier. I was in my total comfort zone. But 20 minutes later when I stood up to take my dish to the sink, I felt it. My entire bottom was soaking wet straight through to my skin. The blanket was wet as was the cushion. Not only had I been in my comfort zone, I was also in a giant pool of dog piss.
After admiring his accessories and home decor for years, I finally took the plunge and bought a thomaspaul pillow!
If you aren’t familiar with his work, Thomas Paul started his own company over 10 years ago with pillows, but has expanded his brand to a whole world of whimsical accessories including bedding, rugs and (next on my thomaspaul wishlist) scarves!
Throw pillows are indeed a relatively cheap way to change the look of a room. I mean, yes, it’s less than buying a new sofa or chair, but they still cost a pretty penny. It took me a long time to make this pillow purchase, but I hope it to be a first of many. I love my fish, but he’s very lonely. Perhaps he needs a friend?
Start ‘Em Young
Want to be that annoying friend who refuses to give a baby gift that’s on the registry? You should check out the thomaspaul baby line. SO stinkin’ cute with bunny pillows and blankets:
Modern and Nostalgic
While not technically part of the baby line, there’s a collection of thomaspaul pillows inspired by antique toys and dolls that are perfect for any child’s room. In a world with no budget, Jed would be holding court with the whole gang on our playroom sofa:
I could have spent a little less and bought a throw pillow that I was less than enthused about. But I’d rather take my time and invest in pieces that really make me happy. And I can’t look at a thomaspaul print and not smile.