around the house

late night wallpaper browsing

The other night when I couldn’t sleep I got online and started looking at wallpaper.
I know. I know. How random can one girl be?
Pretty freaking random.
But, decor!

I want to do some bold dramatic wallpaper in a couple of places in the new house. At least one wall of the main level powder room, the laundry room, and the ceiling of our bedroom.

Wallpaper has a bad rap, you know? Like, it’s old fashioned, something to do with a grandmother’s house, that kind of stuff. But I gotta tell you, I’m totally feeling some of the wallpaper I saw the other night.

I’m particularly obsessed with this water color floral from Olivia + Poppy.

It’s just whimsical enough to interest me without being ‘too much’ and I’m feeling it for my laundry room.
Maybe.
I mean, I just started looking, right?

Another thing I’m obsessing over is organization.
The Container Store has this Elfa system I’m planning to use on the door of the pantry.

Between this place, Target, and Home Goods, I’m going to have a seriously gorgeous organizational situation in the new house!

YBW has finalized his must haves to make the house smart. I’m riding shotgun on that, but enthusiastic about being able to say, “Zhu Li, do the thing.”
He’s spent time researching his most desired things and creating a color coded key on copies of the floor plans to make sure he’s got it all exactly where he wants it.
Y’all, watching him with those colored pencils fed my dork soul!

I don’t know where he’s going to land on the wallpaper front, but I’m confident his opinion is positive when it comes to organization.
It’s cool, cause while I know where I land on the wallpaper front, I’ll enjoy the looking until I make some choices.

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timelines and titles

Turns out I have a new title to add to my list.
Project Manager.
I mean, it’s not that serious, the title. However the project is pretty serious.
The project is getting this house ready to go on the market.
I mentioned I was concerned it felt like a long time, but between now and May isn’t all that long.
And though the list isn’t terribly long, it’s still a list.

Remodeling will be tricky with extra people in the house. But we’re just going to have to find a way to make it work. Since we’ll be down two bathrooms, (hopefully one at a time) Thing G is moving to his mom’s sooner than originally planned. He expressed his disappointment and anxiety. YBW encouraged him to examine what about the change was causing his anxiety. Thing 1 assured him leaving the home he grew up in was a big deal so feeling anxious about it was normal. YBW and I were gentle with him when we made it clear he was truly without choice in the matter and reassured him of our love and support. We reminded him he was not being thrown to the wolves but going to his other parent where he would be loved and supported. He’s accepting of the situation, and we’re accepting of his feels.

YBW and I created a preliminary timeline yesterday. One that we’re both comfortable with. It started out a bit with him questioning my proposed timing. But then I expressed my concern about pushing everything off. I said I’d rather get it all done and breathe than be panicked about getting it finished in time. When I likened it to his travel anxiety he had an ah-ha moment and agreed to my proposed timeline. (He’d rather get to the airport early, get through security then use that extra time to walk around or sit at the gate than be running through the airport to get to the gate before the plane door closes. TBPH, I feel the same damn way.)

So our prelim timeline looks like two bathrooms asap, one right after the other.
Painting immediately after the holidays.
Flooring in March.
Pressure washing the exterior and lawn and garden touch ups in April.
All the myriad things can be inserted when and where most applicable.

The master bath plain old boring builder grade stuff that’s never been changed in the twenty years YBW’s lived here. We talked about changing it many times and right about the time we were ready to pull the trigger, the new house became a thing and we abandoned those elaborate plans.
Now we’re just going to update the floor and tile, light fixture, faucets, and cabinets.
Thing 1 and I went looking at tile Friday morning. (both my girls love any excuse for a trip to the hardware store)
We found this tile for the shower and tub surround.

We chose these beautiful porcelain tiles. The white ones are .79 and the carrara looking ones are .99 and I plan to set them vertically. We found 12 x 12 squares in a gorgeous gray for the floor.
Done and done.

On my calendar today is to call the contractors.
My notebook and pen are at the ready!
I got this!

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tricked out kitchen in a smart house

When it comes to the new house, YBW is eager to make it a smart house. He’d love for there to be a central command (thingie) that we can tell to do what we want it to do. You know, like saying “OK Google” or “Alexa” but it’ll be connected to all of our house and have it’s own name.
It feels so Varrick to me.

(For those of y’all that don’t know, this is a The Legend of Korra reference. I did not enjoy Korra anywhere near as much as it’s predecessor, Avatar: The Last Airbender, which I absolutely adored.)

Anyway…
YBW is all about making the house work for us. To be able to control lights and thermostat and even the garage door from a tablet. That if we weren’t sure we’d turned out the lights on the ground floor he could push a button from the bedroom so we didn’t have to go down and back two flights of stairs. He wants the house to do as much as possible from a central hub.
I love to watch his brain work. See his face get all excited at the smart house possibilities. He’s committed to making our forever home one that does all the things we need, and many of the things we want.
For the most part, I’m interested in learning how to use it once it’s set up, but I’m less enthusiastic about choosing how to set it up. He’s cool with that, as long as he can get his geek on. He’s super patient when I ask questions that probably aren’t applicable, or he just explained to me.
I’m more concerned about surround sound for the big tv, and speakers around the house so I can play music. But there is a bit of pleasure at the thought of being able to turn things on and off from a screen…
We each love what we love, right?
My husband loves science and math and tech and super cool nerdy things. He is getting to play with that in creating a smart house that works for him.
I support this fully!
I’m like, get your geek on, bud! Hook it all up and make it do your bidding. (But please let the command be “Zhu Li do the thing” so I’m constantly amused.)

I want to get my geek on in the kitchen!


This picture is the kitchen at the model.

My kitchen will have a bigger island (my favorite design option). It will have another row of cabinets above the wall cabinets up to the ceiling. The hood vent will be hidden behind cabinetry. And the lower cabinets will have more drawer units than cabinets with doors.
All the cabinetry will be navy and look a little something like this.

I’m salty about paying so much for a brand new house and having wire shelving, so…
I may want to trick out the pantry.
I’m already designing closet systems for our closet, probably Pax from IKEA, but I’m also looking at Easy Closets.

The laundry room is on the bedroom level (thaaaaaank yooooou) it’ll start out boring, but I’ll fancy it up too.
With a roof deck, main level porch deck, and ground level back yard, I’m getting excited about designing outdoor spaces too. Plant life and lighting, water features and accessories will create beautiful spaces for us to be outside.

Now, if YBW’s smart house can control outdoor lights and fountains, etc. or could somehow make my laundry run, I’d be inclined to get as excited as he is!
“Zhu Li do ALL the things!”

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a dollie crib for Baby K

I finished the dollie crib for Baby K!

When it was mine it was a sort of green leaning aqua color with animal decals.
I painted it purple and added the wooden hearts for Thing 1.
Since Baby K doesn’t have a favorite color yet, I chose two soft coral colors hoping she’ll like them.

First, I took it completely apart and sanded it. Then I used wood glue to ensure it went back together properly before prepping it for paint.

I finished painting it Friday.
(you can see where even with sanding it well, the decals and where the hearts were attached were problematic)

I put it back together Saturday.

YBW had a piece for the bottom that became exactly what was needed with a little reinforcement.
I cut foam to the perfect fit for the crib mattress.
Went to Target Sunday afternoon for a pillow case to cover the foam mattress.
(WTF was I thinking going anywhere on the weekend in these mask-wearing-pandemic times? Target was straight chaos. For a bit longer, I will only go public places during the week.)

Anyway, we had fun reimagining this little doll bed for Baby K.
Now it’s in her room, and ready for her to put her dollies in when she gets here.
Three weeks from today!

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a very Roby week

Y’all know about this file folding your clothes situation?
Seems it’s been around a while, but gained serious momentum with Marie Kondo. Of course I consider myself a damned fine laundry doer, but this file folding is something I’m not familiar with. And I’m always game to learn something new. Especially if it’s about my fave household chore!
A quick google search lead me to Abby Lawson’s youtube channel.
Her voice is kind of annoying. But I quickly became focused on what she was doing and stopped listening to her.


Y’all! This is so freaking simple!
It’s almost how I pack a bag, only it’s a combination of rolling and folding.
I’m over here like, Oh hold on sister, I got this!

I went to my tee shirt drawers.
Yeah, you read that right, drawer is plural. There were three of them. (mind ya business)
There were three because separating them suited my way of life more than necessarily needing that much storage.
One was plain tees. You know, a few each of black, white, and navy with a couple other colors thrown in. They’re for layering, for wearing outright, and can be worn with anything to dress up or down.
The second was printed tees. You know, words about reading, or books, about kindness. These are the tees I can wear to school on casual days.
The third was printed tess that aren’t school appropriate. You know, that Drink Naked tee from Naked Mountain Winery. The three concert tees I own. All my Nats gear (can wear to school, but only on spirit days).

So, after a super quick purge (maybe 8 tees?) I got started. I was saving so much damn space I even got shirts off hangers in the closet and folded them.


This one is all the plain tees and my Nats gear.


This one is all the printed tees.

At this point, my concern is wrinkles. If they’re a hot mess, I’ll rethink this file folding situation. If not, BOOM baby! I’ve got three drawers and some hanging tees all in two drawers.
I’m considering doing my sleeping tees and jammie pants next…we’ll see.

In other news, we’re looking at less than a month until Thing 1 and her family move to this house! I’m ready for unrestricted access to that baby girl! Of course, she’s going to exhaust me and I’ll be like, Birdie’s over it, go tell your Mama. But to be able to love her whenever either of us wants. And to watch her do all the weirdo baby things as she does them? Priceless!
I’m excited to meal plan and do food things with Thing 1. I’m super eager for her to bake for me. That girl is the queen of baking!
We talked today about her anxiety about me and her dogs. I’m honestly super chill about the concept of three dogs in this house. I mean, that may change, but instead of me having a huge temper fit when I’m at the end of my rope, we’ll discuss and problem solve anything as needed. She seemed more relaxed after we talked. Yay!

Had delicious (appropriately social distanced) lunch on the porch with Nora Wednesday. She brought Greek food. Because she rocks! Y’all I do love me some porch life!
Yesterday, I went grocery shopping and finally went to get a pedicure. I know. I know. It was frivolous, but I DGAF! I needed to do that for me. Now I have feet as soft as a baby’s bottom and adorably peachy-pink nails. My feet and I are content! (mind ya business again)
Today I’m painting a crib for Baby K to put her dollies in.
It was mine when I was a little girl, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 used it when they were little. Now it’ll belong to Baby K. I’m nearly finished with all the painting at this point. I’ll share the process in it’s own post.

I also need to go to the liquor store. That seems almost more frivolous than getting a pedi. But I took vodka with me to Thing 1’s and accidentally left it there…twice! So while we have wine and bubbly, summertime beer, and bourbon, also a bit of tequila, we have no vodka.
I’d like to make vodka lemonade with some of my porch grown basil.
We do have gin and fresh limes, so I could make gimlets. Oh! I’ve got that mint growing on the porch, I could make a south side…hmmm…maybe I’ll go to the liquor store next week?
What’s funny is I’m not even hankering a cocktail. I just want to be able to do what I want when I decide I want one.

This is YBW’s last week working from home.
His company finally moved into the office that’s right near the house we want to buy. The office space is bigger so the entire team can be in the same physical space while being appropriately distanced.
I can hear him watching Trevor Noah right now, so I don’t guess he’s working all that hard at the moment. I’m not calling him out or anything, I’m just sort of acknowledging that there’s not really much he can do at home. It also means I can go in there and see if he wants to hang out with me with probable success!
And that’s what’s up around here.
Hope all y’all are content in your week.

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might as well do something productive

In David’s comment on my opportunity post, he suggested I make a list. I loved it!
I mean, duh!
I’m the freaking List Lady, and it never occurred to me to make a list?!?

So here’s what’s funny, I didn’t actually make a list…
Yet!

What I did do was pull nearly everything out of my closet.

Y’all see my Nats World Series hoodie right there? Makes me so dang happy!

Anyway…
I put back only what I truly believe I’ll wear this spring and summer.

I’ll definitely wear all of this.
(Well, not the boots, sweaters, and hoodies, but they have to be somewhere, right?)


There are some dresses starting with the black khaki and white stripes and ending the solid blue one next to the navy floral one that are questionable. I’m going to give them a chance to prove themselves between now and my birthday and if they don’t, they’re out.
That’s valuable real estate.


I even purged shoes.
What you can’t see in this photo is that there are six pairs of Chucks on the bottom shelf. There were ten.
You can also see when I find a shoe I dig, I get it in different colors. Those Sam Edelman Felica ballet flats and Greta sandals are absolute faves! And I bought them all during a huge 4th of July BOGO sale!!


Here’s what’s going away…though I’m not sure any place is accepting donations right now.

I sent pics in the group chat with the girls.
Thing 1 said: Wow!
Thing 2 said: That looks amazing!
I said: Y’all!! It FEELS amazing!

I made that closet my bitch!
And(!!!) In between, and after two conference calls, YBW pressure washed the porch today in anticipation of me prepping out porch life.
I feel accomplished and content.
His shoes are soaked but he’s satisfied with his work.

Look at us using this opportunity presented to us!
I’m going to pour us some wine.
Y’all be good now, ya hear?

Categories: around the house, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

all Lady Macbeth up in this bitch

Thing 1 and Baby K left and made it safely home Monday. I know they’re happy to be home and with Husband N and the animals, to sleep in their own beds.
And I gotta say, that baby is pretty much all consuming. I’m glad I had babies when I was young. I’m much slower now, and she’s non-stop! But those sweet smiles and waves and kisses are worth every moment of being tired!
I was more sad than I anticipated that night, but Tuesday I was less sad. Missing them, but also kind of pleased to be alone.

Thing G never ever leaves the house, but decided Tuesday to go out into the world. (You do you, kid.)
So I was completely alone in this house.
Did y’all hear my most satisfied “Ahhhh”?

I stripped and remade my bed and the guest bed. Did the dishes, and seven loads of laundry (all those extra sheets and towels, yo).
After that, I opened all the windows, the big garage door, even closets and the pantry and I went systematically through every room burning white sage.

I went all Lady Macbeth up in this bitch, “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”
This house needed a good smudging. I’m ushering out the chaos and inviting in peace.
And while tensions are high with what’s going on in the world, it seemed a smart choice to facilitate peace where we dwell.
It feels different in here and I like it.

I’m going to wipe down the kitchen and my bathroom and get after my reading.
I’m curious about this book club book, have any of y’all read it?

Hope your Thursday is everything you need it to be.

Categories: around the house, me | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Soundtracking my Saturday

Soundtracking my Saturday.
It was a struggle to choose music that inspired me to tackle getting the house back together after the chaos of construction.
(In addition to the tree falling on the house which finally finished construction the last week of August, our main waterline from the meter to the house was leaking. Homeownership is NOT for the weak of heart…or stomach.) Moving the shelves of tools to make access for them to jackhammer out a place in the floor where the water comes into the house and now completely reorganizing the utility room.
We also moved Thing G into his brother’s old room. (the one damaged by the tree and rain in the house) Now we must disassemble Thing G’s old room.
Purging. So much purging.
Decorating for Autumn because I must honor the beginning of meteorological fall!
This is my life today and I’m cool with that.
But, I was slow moving and couldn’t land on a playlist that worked for me. Turns out, the wonderful thing about my madly eclectic music collection is how quickly it can surprise and delight me!
A song from Thing 2’s Cool Boy, Real Cool mix came on and fired me right up!
I’m inspired to accomplish great things. Let’s see how long I can keep up the momentum.

This is Brick + Mortar with Terrible Things.
Please listen responsibly.

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Y’all want to know a secret?

Y’all want to know a secret?
About certain things, I’m lazy as f**k.

When YBW said to me, “You need to capitalize on some sort of ‘floor based’ dressing system.” after I finished laughing, I knew it was time to do something.
Interestingly enough that something was rat myself out to y’all, not put away the laundry.
I love that he was remarking in such a way as to not shame me. He kind of just called it like he saw it and we both laughed. LOTS! I appreciate that he didn’t shame me. I appreciate that he accepts this particular quirk, even though it’s ridiculous.

It would be easy for me to make excuses.
Busy busy.
YBW’s mom died, I’m planning, etc.
YBW’s birthday.
My birthday.
But y’all, it’s not those things. Truthfully, I have no excuse.

I love to wash, dry, and especially fold laundry.
But the putting away?

Meh. I simply cannot be bothered.
Makes no sense, especially with my mad organizational skills.

Mostly I’ll hang up dresses, skirts, sweaters. But everything else just kind of sits there until I get around to putting it away. And sometimes, that takes longer than one might imagine.

But now that YBW called me out, I have two choices.
1) Put away the laundry like a proper human
2) Be stubborn as f**k and let that shit sit there
Y’all check back in to see which I chose.

Who knows?
Perhaps I’ll actually come up with some new ‘floor based’ system that works for me. (Even I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.)

I’m curious.
What’s your guilty secret when it comes to the way you keep your home?
Let me know in the comments.
And if you’re not as lazy as I am, please make up something. Help a girl out, so I’m not over here feeling like a complete and total loser. K? Thanks!

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don’t make me use my teacher voice

As you may recall, a tree fell on our house during the mad windstorms on March 2.
That was seven weeks ago.
Seven. Weeks.

State Farm completely underestimated the extent of the damage as well as what it will cost to repair it. I mean, of course they did.
The roofer sent an updated proposal for the repairs to State Farm…the week of Spring Break.
Meanwhile, there’s still a big ass hole in our house!
And it’s finally starting to let water into the livable parts of the house.

To State Farm I say a vehement:

There’s absolutely no excuse that the work isn’t finished…even less that it hasn’t started. YBW’s at his wit’s end with these jokers. Seeing the toll it’s taking on him, I offered to handle the situation from here on out. The relief on his face made me sad I hadn’t offered sooner.
When you call and are forced to leave messages day after day, your messages tend to become less and less polite.
I’ve gone quickly from “butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth” to:

Five weeks until graduation.
Five weeks until a house full of people needs places to lay their heads.
Oh, State Farm, I’m just shaking my head. Oh, roofer dude, you’re getting off any better.
I’m going to need for y’all to get it together. This little red haired girl is over the run around.
You should be afraid…I’m just sayin’.

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