Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School Habits

Although in lots of other parts of the country kids went back to school today or last week, my kids still have another 15 days until the bell rings. 

A new school year is a great time to establish new habits, which is the topic in episode 26 of my favorite podcast Happier. The hosts, Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, and Better Than Before) and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, a TV writer, talk about selecting a word for this "new year." 

My word for the 2015-2016 school year is FINISHED. As in, done or accomplished. That's how I want to feel about all of the items on my "to do" list and, even more importantly, our house.

Because there are so many other things that I want to do with my life, like take piano lessons from the lady across the street or bake cookies for all of my neighbors at the holidays or just plain get to know some of the people who live near me better. And yet for too long I have lived with things being off. Not quite done. Messy. As if that was something to look forward to, or maybe I just dreaded it so much that I put it off again and again.

Anyway, I got super motivated last week and checked off all of the errands on my "to do" list--I mailed a card to my cousin in Canada, shopped for school supplies, dropped off dry cleaning, replaced a broken plate at World Market, donated a box of stuff, visited the library, and even bought macarons. The craziest part? It only took two hours! Considering the box of stuff had been sitting in the middle of our kitchen for three weeks that seems like a huge win!

And if you follow me on Instagram, then you may have noticed a lot of projects got done around the house this weekend, too.

This was project one: installing the upper cabinets. We re-purposed this cabinetry from our kitchen demo last fall--it had been a peninsula--but had been waiting to mount the upper cabinets on the wall. It took one trip to Home Depot and less than 30 minutes on Friday night to put it up. You can see a few more pictures of our kitchen redo here and here.

We had some flooding earlier this summer in our lower level and took that as an opportunity to replace the very old tile in the laundry area. 

We went with a very simple (inexpensive) white vinyl tile from Home Depot. My husband had to order a tile cutter to finish the job and he got it all done Saturday. 

Project three was washing the windows. They were/are FILTHY. Like, can't see out when the sun is shining in. That bad. I had gotten a quote from a company in the spring to do all of the windows, inside and out, and clean the tracks for $200. Which, after a few more months of not being able to see out of the grimy windows, felt totally worth it. 

Instead, though, my husband talked me into doing it ourselves. He washed the back windows on the first level Sunday morning while I cleaned the window tracks. It looks amazing and really wasn't that hard. I can't wait until our new squeegee comes so we can do the rest!

By Sunday we really had some momentum going. I cleared off the kitchen counters while cleaning the window tracks.

Then we put everything back in a way that felt more intentional. We hung this shelf (that I've had for a year) and did some styling. The art says "This kitchen is for dancing" and is from here. I love that the glasses are up and off the counter.

We also organized the laundry room, laying down a rug, moving in a bookcase that my son has outgrown (but has amazing cubbies for storage!), and adding my new, thicker ironing board cover.

Finally, we worked outdoors. I don't have a photo, but I will give you a hint of what we did. See the burning bush next to the front door from last fall's One Room Challenge(TM)?? Gone, girl.

Does a new school year feel like a time to start over to you? Will you pick a word to help guide you? Share what your word is in the comments! I'm excited to see what other people are working on.  :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

High Five Bar Stool Friday

Happy Friday, y'all! I've let a lot of things lapse this summer, including this roundup of my favorite things from the week, otherwise known as the High Five Friday. 

For today I'm going to do something a bit different. Instead of showing you links to five things that caught my attention this week, I'm going to show you five bar stools that I'm considering for our house. 

clockwise from top left: wishbone / tufted / Chippendale / yellow / clear / wire / leather
Did you just glance at the image and see that there are more than five? Well, whatever. I'm not the best at math. Anyway, I know that I want two bar stools which I will place behind our rolling kitchen cart. I envision a place for people to sit while I'm working in the kitchen. Maybe it's where my kids can sit to do their homework or squabble, more likely.

1. Mid-Century Wishbone
I love this style, but they are $245 each, so more than I want to spend.


2. Tufted Linen
This is a better price at $94.99 each plus 10% off and free pickup in store. I love the linen look but am concerned about the tufts, which I refer to as the belly buttons of furniture. 

World Market

Another option with a few more tufts and darker legs is this one from World Market. It's $239.98 for two plus free pickup in store.


3. Chippendale
My favorite of all the styles but at $379 each (but 15% off today only with code MN316C6)  probably not going to happen. Plus, it's not really what I picture in this spot.


4. Sleek Leather
This set comes in either black or white and is $299 for the set of two + $25 shipping.


5. Modern
The Bertoia lookalike (wire mesh) might work, plus I have referral credits to use up.  These are $129.99 each +$20 shipping.

I'm 99% sure I want something with a back but if not these two are fun choices:

 This one is $90 per stool.

And this one is $129 per stool.

Which one is your favorite? (And for those of you wondering, it will go into an area next to this spot).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summer Sleep Essentials

Sometimes when I can't sleep, I imagine the most perfect night of sleep. Windows open to let in a light, summer breeze. A pile of fluffy pillows on my bed. Lots of room to stretch out. 

The sort of bed where I can let all my cares go...

via Traditional Home

My ideal sleep would be a lot like our recent trip to Chicago.


We stayed at the Marriott on the Miracle Mile and the bed was one of the most comfortable I've ever slept in. It had all my favorite things: lots of pillows and just the right amount of covers.

via My Domaine

In fact, hotel rooms are a great inspiration for the way I like to decorate bedrooms. The three takeaway tips:

1. Only the Essentials
Hotel rooms are impersonal spaces, which is an advantage when it comes time to go to sleep. You can rest easy because there aren't messes needing to be cleaned up or projects waiting to be done. Only the things most important to you end up on your nightstand, which also usually has a lamp for reading late into the night.

2. Indulge the Senses
Open the windows wide for the fresh air and the sound of crickets chirping, or turn on a fan for a similar effect and some white noise. Spritz your room with lavender essential oils. Cover the windows with room-darkening drapes if you like to sleep late. Which leads us to...

3. The Best Bedding
Sleep on the best sheets, pillow cases, and duvet cover you can afford for a truly luxurious experience. I'm really intrigued right now by Parachute, a premium quality bedding company that sells directly to consumers for reduced prices.

Parachute was founded by Ariel Kaye, who had an amazing night of sleep in a hotel room on the Amalfi coast (is there anywhere in the world more beautiful?? I don't think so). Unable to find the same quality bedding to purchase, Kaye created it. 

via Go Italy

Parachute also gives back by partnering with Nothing But Nets, an organization that provides mosquito netting in malaria-stricken parts of Africa. 

Right now you can receive $20 off your $200 purchase at Parachute by using the code BACKTOSCHOOL at checkout. This offer expires September 15, 2015.

What are your summer sleep essentials??

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Before + After: Ugly Sofa

Happy Wednesday, friends! I have just enough time for a quick post today and I want to talk to you about how to make an ugly sofa work.

via Boho Luxe Interiors
Step 1: Wrap the bottom cushions in a beautiful throw. 
You could use a Moroccan wedding quilt as was done here. If your sofa has an all-over pattern like a floral or plaid, try pulling one of the colors from there. I would suggest using one of the less dominant colors to build your base. And don't be afraid to mix patterns! A stripe or plaid throw on a floral sofa could be great!
Moroccan wedding blanket / blue stripe / purple geometric / blue plaid

Step 2: Load the back of the sofa with pillows.
I especially like using texture rather than pattern to create some interest here. Pam wrote all about the power of solid pillows yesterday. And I'm loving these velvet choices. To get the right look, be sure to buy the biggest pillow you can find. Double up the solid colors, add in a touchable texture like sheepskin or fur, and finish it off with a decorative lumbar pillow. 

Purple / Mongolian Fur / Dark Blue / Lumbar / Sheepskin / Light Blue

Bonus Step: Mix solid colors to create an ombre effect. With this patterned lumbar pillow to tie everything together, you could easily mix & match the purple, dark blue, and light blue velvet pillows.

Rather than creating a disguise, I think of this as an enhancement, transforming an ugly sofa into something that is comfortable and inviting!

If I can help YOU with a design dilemma, please let me know! This is one of the services that we are now offering at Your Organized Space.  :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Rewinding the Weekend

My husband celebrated his 29th birthday this weekend. His real one. Not like my "29th" birthday that has come and gone a dozen few times. ;)

To celebrate, we went to Chicago with a big group of his friends.

This is where I kicked my shoes off last night when we stumbled in the door from the train station. I got tons of compliments on these sandals from the under-30 crowd. You can buy them online here--mine were on clearance so they are even cheaper in the store if you can find them. The high backs were (mostly) great ankle support. 

Because we walked and walked, then walked some more this weekend. My FitBit hit 10,000 steps not long after lunch. Of all the bright lights and big city attractions, my favorite was this pod-shaped set of condos atop a parking garage (with an attached steak house--anyone have any idea how many steak houses are in Chicago?? It makes the whole city smell delicious!).

We hopped on the train early Saturday morning to head into the city. Chicago is only about four hours from East Lansing by train, and on both days of our trip, we bumped into people we know. It's such a convenient way to travel. The weather was slightly overcast and just a little breezy. Perfect!

I'm glad we went; it was a very fun trip and nice to see friends we don't get to see very often. But I am also so glad to be home in our sleepy little town even with all the messes in our house to clean up from last week. Isn't that the beauty of travel?? That it helps us to appreciate the ordinary parts of our life in a new way? {And hooray, I'm able to format everything the right away again here on the blog AND upload photos!}

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Going with the Flow

Since I have not yet figured out this issue between Windows 10 (Microsoft Edge) and Blogger, AND I have so much to share with you all, I am going to make this weird, photo-less format work for me!

The other night my husband and I spent ten minutes looking for my measuring tape, and it was suggested that this may be why Erica is the organizer, not me. ;) But truly, I'm SUPER excited to be working with clients to use what they have in new ways, styling and re-decorating their homes and businesses!

And my work has inspired me at home, too! We have given away or sold TONS of cool things this summer, including:

--the gold-lined lampshade that Jenna featured here

--this runner

--the pink couch shown in this post

--a tall, dark bookcase

--our TV stand

--the headboard that I used to create the faux daybed in my daughter's room

Because "using what you have" is best when you are using what you love...

We've gotten some new things like this and a TV stand from the sale I mentioned on Friday.

There are still a few things left around our house that I want to do. Having cleared out some of what we don't want, it's as if I've created space for inspiration to strike!

--Replace the fixture over our dining table // I think I've found a few low-cost options!

--Switch out the front and back doors, and replace the creaky, bi-fold closet doors in our entry

--Change the exterior color of our house to make the look more unified yet still fit the era in which it was built // I am leaning toward something like this project's facade, especially after a drive in the country this week when I saw a building that has a similar look!

I'm hoping that I figure out this blogging issue soon and that I can post a picture of our new TV stand on Instagram very soon!


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