Posts in April 2016

10 Months Later

IMG_3134The house. We’ve remained pretty busy during the colder months, and as of last week, we completed last year’s summer project list with the fence repair! Whew. It felt so good to cross off that last, important item.

2015 Unfinished Summer Projects:
Repair rear fence
Remove wallpaper: 1/2 Bath ([still] TABLED: Steven has hinted enough that he actually likes the wallpaper!)
Remove wallpaper: 3rd Bedroom
Paint: Master + Bath, Entry/Stairwell, Dining Room, Family Room

Sofa slipcover in Living Room

In January, Steven had the wallpaper removed in the 3rd bedroom and the walls painted for the beginnings of my own craft/painting room. Because the room gets the most amount of sunlight than any other in the house, I picked the same soft white paint color as the entry – mainly so I would have enough extra paint to do the family room myself. I still need to organize some things, but doesn’t it look like it has potential??
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In March, I decided to jump into the thick of it and start painting the walls and trim in the family room – the only room in the house with original brown trim and crown molding. The project took 2 weekends and nearly 20 hours, but it was so worth it. I found dried paint in my hair two weeks later.
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For giggles, this is what the family room looked like when I was a kid.
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(Yeah, so there’s a story behind the photo on the right of my sister and I. My grandma, who had dementia, was in a goofy mood that day; she posed us and then snapped this pic. Great memories.)

THEN Steven and I went to find new bedroom furniture for Wes. We found the best set(!) that he’ll use for ages and ages, and it looks great in his room. Here’s an adorable photo of Wes spinning around in his room right after the furniture truck left.
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While we were shopping for bedroom furniture, Steven spotted this wonderful small sectional and fell in love. After we bought the bedroom set and left the store, I called them back and added this piece, because why not? I hate that we said goodbye to the beloved couch of my grandma’s (which for the life of me I couldn’t find a slip cover to fit!), but it was a good time to move on.
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And now the fence is fixed! We didn’t want to replace the whole thing – just the sections with holes to keep the dogs contained. I mean, you can clearly see where the new sections start, but nothing a little spray paint can’t hide.

Now that we’re “done”… naturally I need to put together THIS summer’s project list, right? Believe me, it won’t be nearly as aggressive. Here’s what we’d like to do this year, and we’re already off to a good start.

Summer Projects:
Paint: House Exterior, Porch, Trim, Doors
Replace porch furniture
Kitchen Drawer Pulls
Weeding & landscaping
Replace interior doors

We’ve been outside every nice weekend day and weeknight to start cleaning up from the winter and clear out some overgrowth. Some of the “weeding and landscaping” is/will be fairly extensive – removing old roots, stumps and dead ash trees. I’m not planning on planting much of anything new this year, but will instead get ready for next summer’s possibilities.

I guess the exception is Wesley’s new addition to the yard: Tree-Rex. We received this baby Shumard Oak from the Indiana Earth Day Festival last weekend, and we planted it where an old fir tree had been removed. Wes is in love with this little tree and even gave it its own birthday party.

We hired a company to paint the exterior of the house in June, which is super exciting and nerve-wrecking. I feel like picking the right colors is essential. Did you know that painting consultants exist?! Sherwin Williams is scheduled to come to the house this week to look at the roof line, other homes in the area and our building materials to help me choose paint colors.

It’s amazing what some elbow grease and new furnishings do to make a place feel like home. Our evening walks have started up again, which helps us meet more neighbors and feel even better about our decision to move into this space. We’ve definitely settled in to a rhythm here – our little place in this city. We’re loving it.

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Posted: April 27th, 2016
Categories: Leah
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Confessions from an Aging Off-Brand Consumer

tasteeosI’m one of those people who buys things on sale, uses coupons and frequently purchases store brand items to save some money. This is one of the things that drives Steven most nuts because he has a specific preference on many items. Throughout our marriage, I’ve learned it’s best to go ahead and buy the $4 box of Cheerios, but I still skimp on products that only I use.

The ironic thing here is that I’m an advertising graduate in a marketing and communications career. You’d think I would be highly brand loyal, but with the exception of make-up and soda, I’m all over the place.

However, the last several appointments to the dentist, eye doctor and hair salon have led me to make major changes, including brand non-loyalty. I realize I’m not old, but man, I’m starting to feel oldER based on the scolding I’ve received in the last few months. And everyone asked me what products I was using.

“Your teeth are fine, but you have gingivitis pretty bad. If you don’t change your dental hygiene, you could lose your teeth in a few decades or less.”

I guess I’ve always known that I could treat my gums better, but this was a wake-up call. I ditched my 6-month-old toothbrush and bought an electronic Sonicare 2 Series with plaque control. I’ve liked it so well that I bought the kids’ version for Wes (and it has an app, of course!). Twice daily I use dentist-recommended POH dental floss and follow up with Listerine mouthwash, which replaced my Target brand substitutes.

“Your corneas are pitted along the bottoms of both eyes. It’s reverseable, but if you don’t change your habits…this is how people lose their eyes.”

I was floored. I’ve never had eye health issues other than needing contacts/glasses. I started to blame it on my 2-month delayed appointment and I made my contacts last that much longer, but this new eye doc quizzed me well. How long do you wear your contacts? How much screen time in a day? How long do you use the same contact lens case? She asked these AFTER she noted my pitted eyes, and then firmly told me to change what I was doing.

Did you know that you’re supposed to use a different contact case every two months? I’m also guilty for keeping solution in the case for far too long. I swapped out my off-brand solution for her recommended BioTrue and now regularly insert Refresh Tears eye drops to keep my eyes moist until they heal.

“Yeah…your hair could be healthier.” (This was the nicest of the recent “fear tactics” by far.)

I don’t often get my hair cut, but I’ve had an unusual amount of breakage that I’ve never attributed to less-frequent trims. I blame it on last fall’s Atlanta escapades, where I lost my toiletries and had to use hotel products that possibly ruined my hair. Possibly my hair was already ruined?

This week I started a hair repair strategy with Argan oil – replacing my drugstore, whatever’s-on-sale shampoo. It involves a hair mask procedure, which tacks on an additional 10 minutes, but until I chop off several inches later this year, my fingers are crossed that it will help. I’m using nothing fancy here, just something I found on Amazon, but again…hopeful. I also pulled out some (rare, in the cabinet name-brand) products I haven’t used in a while – Kenra Blow-Dry Spray and Silkening Gloss.

Never have I felt dirtier and more embarrassed. Each doctor/specialist assured me that my hygiene wasn’t bad, per se; rather my body has been able to tolerate a lot over the years, and now, well, it can’t. Next month is another birthday, and I’ve got to get my body into shape by changing not just the routine, but the things I use. Did you SEE all the name brands above?!

Steven jokes that my time spent getting ready in the morning and before bed has more than doubled, but I’m really trying to make good, healthy choices before things get out of control. This extends into other areas of my life, too, as I leave my early 30s and enter mid 30s. Somehow that slight age difference seems older, scarier and more permanent.

My hope is that next appointments will be full of praise, but I’ll probably still buy off-brand cotton balls and bandages and the occasional “Tastee-Os” to offset the cost of my new splurges.

Do you have experience with any must-have product I need to try?

Posted: April 10th, 2016
Categories: Leah
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