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4.19.2018

HOME TOUR | Our Living Room

Disclosure: I received a product from CommercialSilk.com in exchange for my honest review. This post may contain affiliate links.

It's been awhile since I last posted about how our house is coming along. To refresh, we bought our house in August 2015, just days before our 3rd anniversary which was really special. Since we bought our home nearly three years ago, I quit my full-time job and we've really had to pinch pennies so that I can stay home with the boys part-time. I've grown to love decorating and making our house a home. Unfortunately, due to our budget constraints we haven't been able to do any of the BIG projects that we envisioned when we bought the house. Instead, I've had to satisfy myself with taking baby steps toward creating a home that is a reflection of us.

I made it one my 2018 goals to tackle our living room. Back in January, we had our first kid-free weekend since Crosby was born. Rather than spending it doing fun things in Cincinnati like normal people, we snuck back home from our hotel room and spent the weekend painting the room. I admit, it was a completely lame way to spend our weekend together. However, it's literally impossible to keep our house clean with two toddler boys underfoot, let alone get any painting or decorating accomplished! Before I painted, I posted some "before" pictures of our living room, so you can see what the space looked like.

Although there are still a few lingering items on my to-do list, there probably always will be. I've reached the point where I'm pretty content with the current state of the room so it felt like it was finally time to share! Without further ado, here's a tour of our living room:

Our Minimalist Happy, Hippie Living Room


AFTER

BEFORE

This is a picture our realtor took before we bought the house. It makes me so happy to see our personalities infused in what was truly a blank slate! The paint color is Valspar Laguna Green. It's a little bit darker and greener than it appears in these pictures, but you get the idea.



The front door opens up to our railing-less porch. The stairs lead upstairs to Crosby's nursery and our attic/bonus room. The coat rack was a birthday gift I bought for Chuck several years ago when we lived in Pittsburgh because he was always complaining that he wanted something to hang his keys on. We never actually used it for that and it stayed in our basement for a few years before I realized it was the perfect little coat rack for the boys. The cuckoo clock was my Mom's. She bought it in Switzerland and it took up residence in the dining room of my childhood home. As she's moved and downsized in recent years, she lovingly bestowed it upon on me.



We bought our couch at Big Lots a couple years ago when they were having a Friends & Family Sale (similar here). I think we only paid about $300 for it and let me tell you- it was the best investment ever. This couch is the perfect, kid-proof piece of furniture. It's so easy to wipe down when the boys' sippy cups leak or their cereal bar crumbs get everywhere. The curtains are from World Market and I spray painted one of our cheapo floor lamps gold.



If you remember me talking about my Dad's health issues in recent months, you may know that we moved my Dad out of his assisted living apartment and into a nursing home back in January. It was really hard to part with a lot of his possessions (and let me tell you, there were lots). But I claimed a lot of his music-related stuff for our home. The Beatles poster was my Dad's and the guitar was my great-grandfather's. The chair, and it's matching ottoman, actually came from Goodwill! I fell in love the instant I saw it. Admittedly, it does clash with the pattern in our curtains, but I loved it too much to pass up!



On the other side of the room, we've got our bookcase and fireplace.

Somehow, the Windex escaped my notice! Haha



The bookcase was the first purchase I made with a Target gift card we got for our wedding. The elephant bookends were a Secret Santa gift from my sister-in-law and the rainbow woven basket was another wedding gift from Ten Thousand Villages. I use it to keep my library books separated from my owned books.



It's hard to believe, but the gorgeous ficus tree on our side table isn't real. I received the tree from CommercialSilk.com. The shipping was super quick and the quality is fantastic. When I picked it out, I was a little worried that it would appear obviously fake and would stick out like a sore thumb surrounded by my live plants. But it blends in so well and does a great job of hiding our electronic cords. If you have a black thumb, but would like to add some greenery to your home, check out their selection of artificial plants- they have a HUGE selection of trees, bushes, flowers, succulents, and more!

AFTER

BEFORE

The fireplace is non-functioning, so for now it just makes for a pretty focal point in the room and a place to hang our stockings at Christmastime. It's still a bit more bare than I'd like and I'm trying to decide about hanging something in front of the brick, like this macrame garland. In looking at the original realtor photo, it's still come so far, though!


The remaining wall next to our stairwell is the one that still needs the most work. The wall leading up the stairs is really tall and awkward, which is why I chose not to paint it the same color as the rest of the living room. The boys have a little table that usually sits in front of the stairs, but they happened to be eating lunch on the back porch so Mommy could take these pictures without tiny photobombers. I've been on the hunt for a Church pew to put there. It would be an awesome way to add more seating and under-storage and would add some more personality to a super bare area of our home. The stair area is about 9' wide, so it's been a struggle to fine one on Craigslist that would fit.




I love the IKEA picture ledges I found to fit our awkward triangular wall. I am terrible about keeping up with the boys' baby books and our family's photo albums. But I love that I have a place to showcase them...even if they do need some TLC.

Our house is not trendy or chic, but it's ours. I'm really proud of what I was able to do with such a limited income. Our living room is the central room of our house and I love that it finally feels like a true reflection of our family- a happy, hippie oasis.

See more of our house:

4.17.2018

How We're Getting Ready for Summer with Goldfish Swim School!!



I've mentioned it before on here, but I think the hardest thing for me to get used to about living in the Midwest is the lack of proximity to water. Growing up, my childhood home was literally blocks away from Lake Ontario and my family spent every summer playing in the Atlantic when we stayed in Cape May, NJ. As a former East Coaster, I was raised in the water. Although my family definitely enjoys less frequent beach trips than when I was a kid, that doesn't prevent me from making sure my babies are water-ready!

Charlie and Crosby have been taking swimming lessons at Goldfish Swim School-Dayton for about 9 months. Admittedly, Crosby still has no idea what's going on half the time. He hasn't exactly mastered his "kicks and pulls," but he's more than content to just float around, hanging onto his Mama for a half hour. Being so young, I wasn't really expecting him to become an Olympic swimmer right off the bat. It's more than enough for me that 1. He's extremely comfortable in the water and 2. He is really good at getting himself out of the pool.

Charlie, on the other hand, has grown by leaps and bounds in his swimming proficiency! He started at the Junior level back in January, and in a very short time has made soooo much progress. He's still a hot mess, but he went from FREAKING OUT about getting water in his face to being 100% comfortable putting his face in, blowing bubbles, and swimming underwater.

He loves to wear his goggles and has such good rapport with all his teachers which absolutely warms my heart. He can still be cautious and tentative and will need to continue to work on becoming more independent in the water. But on the flip side, he is doing Superman arms and sea otter floats like it's nobody's business!!





Now that my littles are getting to the age where they can actually do things, I'm really looking forward to having an activity-filled summer with them. We have a trip planned to the East Coast for a best friend's wedding and I foresee lots of day-trips to our local state park for some fun in the sun.

Having the boys enrolled in swimming lessons with Goldfish Swim School has seriously lessened my anxiety about having them in and near the water. They're not at a point where they can swim independently, but they're well on their way.

If you're thinking ahead to summer and wondering if you should enroll your child in swimming lessons, DO IT! We have absolutely loved our time with Goldfish. They have the best staff ever and are so stinkin' good with my kids. We all look forward to our weekly lessons and hope to have some very skilled swimmers by the end of the summer!

This post brought to you by Goldfish Swim School.

4.06.2018

Our Trip to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery- Dayton, Ohio

Back in February, our Church organized a little day trip for the families with young children to have a play day at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio. I had heard of it, but I didn't know much prior to our visit. With the boys being 3 and 1, I wasn't sure whether they'd be cooperative and/or if there would even be exhibits conducive to their ages. I was so pleasantly surprised with how well the museum catered to kids of all ages- the pre-teens were having just as much fun as my toddlers! The entire afternoon was such a blast and I just had to share a few photos from our day.



Our first stop was to the planetarium. The kids wiggled and squirmed through a half hour show, but for the most part, did pretty well. Obviously, all of the astronomy talk was over their head, but they had fun cuddling with Mommy and Daddy.

After the planetarium, we headed to the main, open play area. There was a large playground with ropes, slides, and tunnels. My boys particularly enjoyed the little row boat and water table that was geared toward younger kids.






From there, we headed upstairs to see their super cute exhibits. They had a little grocery store, nursery, veterinarian, pizza parlor and more! Charlie's absolute favorite was the recycling exhibit. He hopped into the recycling truck and stayed there for about an hour. We pretty much had to drag him away.





Next stop on our list was to the Discovery Zoo! We saw birds, bats, and snakes, but our obvious favorite part were the otters!






If you live in Southwest Ohio and have kids, the Boonshoft Museum is a must-visit! I'm so happy we finally got to see what all the fuss was about and we will definitely be making more trips back this summer. Two months later and Charlie is still talking about his day at the museum!

4.04.2018

A Happy Home

Yesterday was an "at-home" day with my boys and for the first time in weeks, I felt relatively well-rested and itching to get some small projects done around the house. I started by hanging the framed Beatles concert poster that I claimed when my sister and I cleared out my Dad's apartment a few months ago. I hung the wire fruit baskets above our kitchen sink that I had ordered from World Market a couple weeks ago. I finally trimmed down a print I had ordered from Shutterfly and inserted it into the empty, thrifted frame that's been hanging in our dining room for an embarrassingly long time.

And after I checked each of these minuscule tasks off my list, I felt a sense of pride and peace wash over me. 
I love making our house a home. 


I come from a pretty creative family. My Dad was an incredibly talented musician. He was an amazing vocalist, as well as guitar and bass player. He was also a skilled carpenter by day; something I've always admired and wished I had the ability to do. My mother went to college for fashion design and you should see her with a sewing machine. She is incredibly stylish and just has a natural talent for making things beautiful. My sister also inherited the artsy gene- she majored in Art History and is one of those annoying people who can quickly master whatever hobby she sets her mind to.

Me? The genes must have skipped me. Sewing? I don't have the patience for it. Carpentry? Too many numbers. Music? I can't sing and though I dabbled in guitar lessons when I was younger, I lacked both the natural rhythm and self-discipline that playing an instrument requires.

But home decorating? I think I found my artistic outlet. I love to inject color into our lives. I love following other designers on Instagram to see how they're using light, and plants, and textiles to make their homes a thing of beauty. I love thrifting to find the perfect piece for a neglected corner of our living spaces. I love making our home a cozy, hippie oasis that reflects our style and personalities.

But more than that, interior design is my way of cultivating my happy home.

I've moved around a lot throughout my life. Home was never one place. Nor was it even a feeling. For a long time I thought it was because I was meant to be a gypsy soul. I didn't realize until we bought our house in 2015, that although I love to travel and see the world, this couldn't be further from the truth. I am a homebody, through and through. I just never had a home base until now.

My home is my happy place. It's the place I feel safe and comfortable. It's the place I feel loved and content. It's the place where I get to invite in my loved ones. It's the place I want my boys to grow up in and have as their home base. This is all new to me, but it gives me the warmest of fuzzies. After so much instablity growing up, and especially after spending six years of my life under the roof of an abusive person, I don't take this feeling for granted. I appreciate the contentment this roof over my head provides in a whole new way.

So while decorating my home is a creative outlet at best, and a silly, superficial hobby at worst, I'm embracing it. I am so happy to have a happy home. A home to call my own. And I cherish that I get to make it my own personal brand of beautiful. 
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