Should I start a ceiling porn Instagram? If so, this may be the first image.
10 Stunning Greenhouse Conservatories Around the World. Get ready to drool.
I recently watched the Marilyn Monroe documentary on Netflix. Her life story is incredibly sad from start to finish. While the documentary provided a little peek into her life, I want to learn more. I’ll be searching for a good biography.
This rainbow frame makes me happy.
I just finished The Case Against Sugar. It is the most impactful book I’ve read in years. The book focuses on how the addition of large amounts of sugar to our diet has wreaked havoc on our bodies, but it also touches on the complicated relationship between science and industry. We like to think science operates only in cold hard facts. But, unfortunately, the reality seems a little different. I particularly liked the biochemistry of sugar metabolism (kudos to the author for making it easy to understand).
Want to re-establish trust after it’s been broken? This is how.
I binged several documentaries about fraud and con artists. The bottom line is that where there is money, there is fraud. I was shocked by the lengths people will go to accumulate large amounts of money and how quickly they spend it. It is bonkers. Here is a quick summary of the ones I watched: The Tinder Swindler, Bad Vegan, Made You Look.
My dream pool.
Dolly Parton did something great again – Dollywood employees will be eligible for free tuition.
It’s time to re-think pre-school. A recent study found poor long-term outcomes of low-income children that attended a public pre-school program. The results perplexed the researcher and challenged some of the traditional beliefs about PreK.
I’ll be making these Kids DIY Art Frames.
100 Tips for a Better Life: I enjoyed this list very much. Lots of truth in here!
Daniel Kanter of Manhattan Nest made a web video series about his friends and their houses in Kingston, NY. He’ll release one episode every Monday for four weeks (the first one drops on January 31st). I love the concept and can’t wait to watch it.
Are you stressed? I find these Olly Goodbye Stress Gummies really help when I feel overwhelmed.
Why Content Creators Are Mad At Apple: Nice food for thought.
Curvy furniture is all the rage right now and it’s not always easy to find this modern style at big box stores. Luckily there are some great curved sofas available online at any budget and for any style. I found ones that are glam (#1,#3, #7), mid-century modern (#4-5), and even traditional (#8) styles. I’m not in the market for a sofa right now, but if I was, I would order #8. Although, #3 is very fun and would be a great pick for a contemporary house.
- Curved Blue Sofa with Gold Trim | $1,243.00
- Armless White Boucle Curved Sofa | $1,758.00
- Cognac Modern Round Curved Sofa | $1,525.00
- Pink Mid-Century Modern Sofa | $1,257.00
- Blue Velvet & Leggy Sofa | $1,295.00
- Gray Channeled Curved Sofa | $2,051.00
- X-Large White Curved Sofa with Metal Base | $3,599.00
- Traditional Curved Sofa | $3,007.20
My family adopted two kittens from the local humane society over the winter break. The adoption process was pretty quick, but there was a surprising amount of paperwork. We joked it was like buying a car. We haven’t owned any major pets (no shade to our hamster Kevin) for almost a decade, so I had to do some research to find the best kitten essentials. I thought I would share this list for anyone else newly adopting cats.
Kitten Essentials: Litter Box
We splurged on an automatic litter box to make the transition to cat ownership as easy and simple as possible. Cleaning and scooping poop and pee is probably the least fun thing about being a cat owner.
This automatic one will alleviate all that unpleasantness. It’s expensive (around $200) and you need electricity, but I find it 100% worth it. The instructions do not recommend it for kittens under the age of 6 months, but we started using it right away with no issues. The kittens are always very interested in the raking when it starts and watches it intently.
The litter itself has a crystal-like structure and is very rarely dragged outside the litter box compared to other litters. The kittens were using a standard litter at the shelter but made the transition seamlessly.
To change the litter, you simply remove the bottom tray and replace it with a new one. These trays are disposable, so you never really need to “dump it.” Each tray is ~$19. For two cats, the manufacturer estimates one tray will last 10 – 15 days. A single cat can use one tray for 20 – 30 days. It’s a premium product but one that I find worth it.
As a side note, I will scoop out the poop from the compartment after 5-7 days if I smell it. I also put baking soda in the compartment, too.
Kitten Essentials: Kitten Food
After some research, I bought Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Chicken and Brown Rice kitten food. I spoke to the representative at the pet store and they recommended this one. It’s one of the best sellers and has healthy ingredients and key components for a balanced diet for growth and development.
The brand clerk also recommended starting the kittens on kibble. She explained that if you give them wet food first, they’ll refuse kibble in the future.
A couple of things to keep in mind when picking food. First, consider the ingredients. The primary ingredient should be real food (chicken, seafood). In addition, try to find out where the ingredients came from. People usually recommend US-based products to ensure quality.
We also picked up some treats. We bought the smallest bag of chicken and seafood flavors. The brand clerk explained that cats usually fall into two camps when it comes to flavor preferences: chicken or seafood. She made it sound like they rarely like both. For this reason, she suggested getting a broad range of flavors to see what your kitten likes best. We picked up a couple of flavors from the Temptations brand. Guess what? The kittens do not care about the flavor and will happily eat any treat.
Kitten Essentials: Food and Water Dish
There are tons of choices for water and food dishes and lots of different things to consider. For example, you can think about materials, aesthetics, if you want it elevated or at a ground level. I picked out this faux wood double bowl with removable steel bowls.
I really liked this one for several reasons. First, the removable steel bowls are easy to clean and refill. In addition, since it’s a double, it’s less likely to get pushed all around the kitchen. It’s also slightly elevated. For now, the kittens love it. I bought each their own but they tend to eat/drink from either bowl with no real discernment.
Kitten Essentials: Cat Bed
We thought a covered cat bed would be best because it will help the kittens feel safe and secure. The one above was the only decent-looking one in the store. While the kittens do go in there. It seems they much prefer to sleep in a chair. So maybe it’s not essential but nice to have?
Our family rule is if the kittens are in their bed/ house, we leave them alone. I have no idea if this is scientifically proven, but I was told that it teaches them that they have a safe place to retreat to if needed.
Kitten Essentials: Toys
Our kitten’s favorite toys are chasers (sticks with toys attached, likes this one or this set) and soft toys that they can carry and bat around. Of course, they also love a laser pointer. Every cat has their own preference, so I would recommend buying a multipack of toys and seeing what your kitten likes.
Kitten Essentials: Scratch Boards
I would highly recommend getting a scratch board to provide your cat with a safe and acceptable place to scratch instead of your furniture or carpet.
They pretty quickly figure out what to do with it. I try to direct the cats gently to the board and away from my furniture if they start stuffing their claws into something.
Kitten Essentials: Carrying Case
Lastly, we purchased this cat carrier. It does the job but any decent size one will be fine for kittens. We plan on picking up a second one now that the cats are already getting bigger. We’ll just grab this affordable one from Wal-Mart.
There you have our list of kitten essentials. We’ve had the cats for a little over a month and they have adjusted well and seem very happy! I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on other things that we love for the babies as we learn more.
We’ll get back to our regular topics (decorating) later this week.
There are so many choices when it comes to console tables – especially those with storage! I rounded up my favorite ones available on Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised by the choices and think they have something that could match anyone’s style or taste. Maybe one of these will fit well in our family room.
- Glam Mirrored 3-Tier Table $177.86 | I know this one doesn’t have built in storage, but you could easily add baskets or boxes to the shelves. I love it because it feels versatile and modern.
- Classic two Drawer Console Table $227.99 | This adorable sofa table comes in multiple colors and wood tones. It has a traditional vibe, which will fit right into the 2022 trends.
- Console Table with Two Drawers and Open Shelves $176.99 | I can’t get over this table! The drawers in the middle of the console gives it an updated and modern feel while still having traditional elements, like the turned legs.
- Extra Long Cream Sofa Table $298.98 | This sofa table is 72″ long! It’s not easy to find a table that long at this price point, making this a great deal!
- Storage Galore Console Table $279 | This little table provides ample storage. Beyond it’s 7 drawers and 1 cabinet, the bottom shelf could hold an additional basket or two for more storage!
- Greeny Dreamy Console Table $238.61 | This console with it’s sleek lines and simple design could fit into any home. I personally love this green color (they call it Tiffany Blue), but they have it in other color ways too!
- Beefy Wood Console Table $389.41 | This console table has a good visual weight to it. If your room needs something to ground it, this could be the perfect table for you!
- Apothecary-Inspired Console Table $235.99 | A nice long and narrow sofa table with multiple drawers. The apothecary-inspired design makes a rather simple table a little more interesting.
After a little break for the holidays, Jeremy and I are preparing to start our first project of the year. It’s our family room, a space that never felt quite right but sees a lot of action. It’s the main place we go to hang out, watch TV, play games, and gather when we have company. When we first moved into the house, it looked like this:
It has white walls with 90’s/2000’s orangy oak trim. It’s a long and narrow room, measuring ~15″ W x 21″ L. It had worn, but clean, Berber carpet. The floor plan below shows you where it is in relation to other parts of the house. You can see that it has one large opening from the kitchen area.
As with the rest of the house, the room is not offensive but feels outdated. When we first moved in, we simply put all of our existing furniture in a hodgepodge layout.
This room initially stumped me. I love the natural stone fireplace, but it has some challenges. First, it’s flat against the wall, so installing built-ins would make the fireplace look recessed. That’s not a look I particularly like. In addition, it has a huge mantel. It fits the wall and the space but it can dwarf things next to it if they are not substantial, too. Lastly, the long, narrow nature of the living room is always a challenge when trying to make a room feel cozy, comfortable, and intentional.
The Family Room Floor Plan
The first thing I did was create a floor plan. For me, this is the foundational step in designing any room. It will dictate the type, size, and number of furniture pieces needed. That will be essential when shopping for the different parts of the room.
This room will have two focal points, the fireplace and a large TV armoire. We purchased a hunter green sectional for our first house over 10 years ago and I still love it. It will help anchor this room and provide a great view of the television and fireplace. Just an FYI, the sectional shown in the floor plan is not exactly right, but it works well enough for the concept and planning. I created a labeled version of the floor plan, to provide additional insights into the different components.
In the grandest of plans, I would like to vault the ceiling and add two windows, flanking either side of the fireplace. However, that may need to wait until later as Jeremy and I are still deciding how to do both of those things. But I cannot stop thinking about vaulting the ceiling. It would be a game-changer for this room. Hopefully, that will happen down the road.
The Family Room Design Board
The design plan is not completely finished. I feel pretty confident about 70% of it but know that things may change and morph as we move toward completion.
For the most part, this design plan shows the materials and furniture. I plan on painting the walls Simply White by Benjamin Moore. The room is west facing, so it’s never extremely bright, although adding those two north-facing windows would definitely help. We’ll remove the carpet and lay down the white oak flooring that we installed in the office, dining, and living rooms. I plan on painting the trim ultra-pure white by Behr and replacing the baseboards with thicker versions.
I’ve already purchased the wood cabinets that will flank the fireplace and love them! I plan on applying a whitewash stain to dampen down the yellow and neutralize the color. The TV armoire is from Crate and Barrel and is exactly what I want for the room. It is visually heavy (I’m sure physically too) and will hide all of our TV and video gaming accessories. I want to get some sort of natural wood console table to go behind the sofa. I plan on storing blankets and other cozy materials there.
As for seating, we’ll keep our green sofa (the color above is an exact match – although it’s not our sofa). I want to use more modern leather chairs to create some contrast in the rather traditional country style of the room. These chairs may not be the ones we end up buying but they are good-enough representations for now. I also include some fabrics and pillows to show the direction for the accessories. This may change but I am happy with the choices right now.
One thing missing from the design board is the desk that will be tucked into the corner. I already have it (I’ve even talked about it here before). It’s a cute little vanity that I bought for $40 from an antique shop a few years ago. I’ve been slowly sanding and stripping it for the last two years. It’s actually one of those learning projects. I had no idea what I was doing, hence why it is taking me so long to finish. But it is almost done now and I can’t wait to bring it into the room.
Timeline & Execution
We plan on working on this project for the next 2-3 months. The biggest project will be laying the floors. Jeremy and I are getting pretty proficient at it, but this room is larger and has the additional challenge of the stone fireplace that requires some troubleshooting. Specifically, how are we going to lay the floors next to it since the edges are jagged and inconsistent? We have a couple of ideas, but no final direction yet.
Jeremy has a busy January, so we are officially starting the project on February 1st. I’ll spend the next couple of weeks wrapping up the final design decisions. I’ll share some of the things I am researching (curtains! console tables! art!) over the next couple of weeks.
Yay for a new year and new project!
We made it to 2022, ya’ll! Like most people, I’m heading into this year with cautious optimism that life will continue to look more “normal.” For me, that just means more people, more events, and more hugs. Below are a few things that caught my eye recently. I hope you enjoy them.
Why We All Need To Have More Fun: Wow, this article speaks to me so much. I will definitely be penciling in more time for FUN this year.
A different type of gallery wall –and I’m here for it!
Writing helps me think and this quote basically sums it all up.