Monday, July 21, 2014

State of the Blog

I'm finally cooling my heels for a few weeks after trips to Indianapolis, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Atlanta, and Martha's Vineyard all since mid-June.

I'm feeling sort of exhausted, but the days I spent at the Haven Conference (Atlanta) have me doing a lot of thinking about the blog, how I want to move forward, and how I want to bring new material to you guys.

My posting has been erratic lately, and for awhile I blamed it on the move into our new house.'s now been seven months since we moved so it doesn't really count as a "we just moved and I need to focus on the new house" slump anymore, does it?

I want to do a better job of bringing you regular content and here's how I plan to do it.

I'm bringing the food back.

If you've been reading for awhile you know that I used to post recipes once or twice a week. I've gotten away from that since we moved and I miss it. I miss taking pictures of food and I miss sharing my latest favorite thing to eat or an old classic I've been making for years.

Starting next week, I'll be sharing a new recipe every Tuesday.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Okay, maybe not the ugly. Do you really want to see pictures of the boxes still stacked in my second floor hallway, the water damage around my basement bulkhead door, or the stains on my ceiling from our roof leak last winter? Methinks no. But...

I always intended this blog to be about my home and all the things I do around here - the cooking, the projects, the little home improvement tips and tricks I've picked up along the way. I've gotten so caught up in the pretty finished pictures I'll skip posting sometimes just because I don't have an amazing finished product to share with you.

No longer.  At least once a week, I will show you something in my home. It might be an amazing new tutorial, a piece of furniture I've built, or a reupholstered chair.  It might be progress shots of something I'm working on. It might be a vignette or a new little something that's come home with me recently. Doing things yourself takes a long time sometimes, and I want to really pull the curtain back so you can see more of how I move through projects and what I'm working on.

Speaking of pulling back the curtain...

I had an interesting realization coming out of the Haven Conference.  I'm not very "present" on my blog.  I had a couple different people say I was different than they thought - more fun, more outgoing, more amazing and beautiful.  Okay, no one said that last one.  

So, I mean, awesome to have people like you more than they thought they were going to, but it got me thinking about my presence here.  One of my favorite sessions at the conference was taught by Jen at withHeart, about integrating video into a blog.  I am fairly certain I'll be wildly awkward and stiff if I take the leap and start trying to video myself.  I'm entertaining no delusions that I'll crank out content in the same universe as what Jen does.  But she used to be a news anchor so, come on, how could I be that good?

Point being, I will try to show you more of me here - video, photos, I'm not entirely sure what direction it's going to take, but I want you to feel like you know me!

So, to recap, here's what you can expect going forward.

  1. Food!
  2. Steady house updates.
  3. More me.  
The rest? Whatever I've been working on, working with, discovered, or want to share. I have to keep some of the old me around, you know?

For the rest of this week, though, I'm going to be working behind the scenes - brainstorming some new recipes, testing some things I learned at Haven, and just general housekeeping on the blog and in real life.  Because after a month and a half of traveling my house needs some attention!

I will, however, see you back here in one week, and I will have a recipe :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Winner and a Guest Post

Hi friends!

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me, wrapping up a client project, then packing for and attending the Haven Conference in Atlanta last weekend, and now I'm on vacation in Martha's Vineyard with my family.

I've decided to slow the pace this week while I'm away so I can really enjoy this time with my family, and I'll get back on track blogging next week when I return.

I did want to announce the winner of the Waterpik giveaway, though!

Congratulations to Jami Cleaver Riley!!

Also, you can find me guest posting over at SAS Interiors, as part of her Creating a Meaningful Home series.  Make sure you stop by and read all the posts - I love seeing how others infuse meaning into their homes!

Hope you're having a good week so far!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Five-Minute Showerhead Installation + a Giveaway!

Do you have any idea how fast and easy it is to install a new showerhead in your bathtub or shower?

Like five-minutes-and-no-special-tools-required easy.  I can't believe I didn't know this before now.

I was rinsing my daughters after baths with a bowl because I thought installing a handheld showerhead would require hiring a plumber.  And there was no way I was going to let water from this aberration touch my children's skin.

Did you just gag a little?  I did.  I wouldn't even touch it with my bare hands.  All I had to do to remove it was twist the head counterclockwise with a wrench.

And then I dumped the thing in the trash before it came to life and tried to touch me.

The part left in the wall had seen better days but shined up amazingly well in a matter of seconds with the help of my secret weapon for cleaning almost anything in the house - Bar Keepers Friend.  Seriously, get some, it is like having a sorcerer living with you.

To install the new showerhead (a Waterpik Spray Shaper) I started with these two pieces.  The one on the left is a filter and screws onto the bottom of the pipe sticking out of the wall and the piece on the right eventually screws the showerhead mounting piece in place.

First, slip the screw piece over the pipe in the wall, with the threaded side facing out.

Then screw the filter mechanism onto the bottom of the pipe.

The mounting piece that holds the actual showerhead slips right over the filter piece and then you screw it into place by twisting it together with that first threaded piece you added.

The cord that connects the showerhead to the mounting piece has threaded ends and you simply screw one end to the mounting piece and the other end to the showerhead.

I swear, I heard angels singing when I stepped back to a shining removable showerhead five minutes later.

Amazing, right?!

And even more amazing, you can enter to win a Waterpik handheld shower exactly like this, plus a copy of The Design Cookbook by Kelly Edwards, AND a $25 gift card to The Home Depot.

Kelly shares some ideas for making easy and affordable updates around the home this summer in the video below, including installing one of these fantastic showerheads.


You can enter to win the prize package using the Rafflecopter below.  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided with the same prize package being given away here, but all opinions expressed are my own and I sincerely think this showerhead is awesome!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Lake House, Frozen Fruit Bars, and Gratuitous Pictures of My Children

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Fruttare, but all my opinions are my own. #itsallgood #pmedia

I have a serious case of summer-brain lately.  Or hyper-early-dementia, but I'm hoping for summer-brain.  We spent last weekend in NH with my in-laws and I completely forgot to pack a bag for my daughters.  Not one thing.  Actually, that's not true - I packed bath soap but not a thing else other than the clothes they were wearing.

Part of me hates feeling scattered enough to do something like that, but then there's also a part of me that loves the slow-fast pace of our summers.  Some days we stay in our PJs until 11 a.m. and others we're up early and on the go somewhere.  We tend to travel a lot, spending time in New Hampshire, coastal Massachusetts, the Delaware beach, and always a few days at my family's lake house in Pennsylvania.

I wrote a bit about what it was like for me spending childhood summers here a couple years ago.  You can read all about it there, but the house and the lake hold so much fond nostalgia for me, and I love spending time with my daughters there.

It's one of the only places I can almost completely unplug.  I love the total lack of compulsion to open my computer, because there's no internet at the house, so why bother?!  Instead I can completely focus on these sweet faces, and enjoy spending full days outside with them.

The house only gets 3-5 TV stations, so it's an unplugged vacation for them too, and they love running around and splashing in the lake all day.

My mom blew up big tubes and Ada loved kicking out off the dock and then pulling herself back in with a rope.

Ellie was less convinced that she was not being shoved off to sea.

There's a great outlet mall nearby but otherwise not a whole lot in the way of shopping, though we did stop into Walmart on our first day there to pick up Lime and Mango Fruttare Fruit Bars as a special summer treat.  You can buy the fruit bars in lots of other nationwide grocery stores as well.

Ellie could hardly believe I was letting her have "dessert" in the middle of the day :)

I love surprising them with something special like this in summer, and they spend so much time outside running around in the heat, a frozen treat is especially refreshing.

Can you tell they're enjoying them?

I love capturing sweet little shared moments between them too. And how amazing is that sky?!  It was a spectacular mountain day.

Don't be fooled by my absence in these photos - I was having a Lime bar behind the scenes.  Like Fruttare on Facebook for recipes and more ideas for how you can enjoy these tasty bars this summer.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Hostess Gifts

With the 4th of July upon us here in the US, and lots more summer gatherings and weekend trips ahead, I thought it would be a great time to share some ideas for hostess gifts as you go to BBQs, summer parties, or to spend a weekend with friends.

I'm so in the habit of grabbing a bottle of wine, but who wouldn't love to get something a little out of the ordinary instead sometimes?

I've rounded up some of my favorite ideas from Uncommon Goods, where you can always find something unique, often handmade by artisans.

As much as I love receiving a nice bottle of wine, I'd be so thrilled to get one of these fun gifts instead.  Anyone want to come spend the weekend??

Hope those of you in the US have a festive and happy 4th of July!

Uncommon Goods paid me to write this post, but all items shown are ones I handpicked and love, and opinions expressed are my own.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this blog!

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