Get You House Guest Ready In Under 10 Minutes

One of the best parts about getting older is that the “drop by” is rarely done. I can’t remember the last time I drove near a friends house and thought, “oh, I’ll just knock on their door and see if they’re home”. Although in writing this, I realize that it most likely has more to do with cell phones rather than age. But I do think that age is still a factor as I’m sure, women especially know that the thought of someone just showing up on your own doorstep unannounced fills you with such dread that you would never do that to someone. So let’s all take a moment to be grateful for both wisdom with age and technology.

However…there IS often good reason for the “I’ll be there in 10 minutes” text resulting in a semi drop by visit. So this may be the down side to cell phones, we may have lost the no notice visit, but where visits used to be more planned, now the idea that you’re already out and about so you might as well stop on your way home visit exists. The good part about that is that it usually gives you at least 10 minutes to pull yourself and/or your house together really quickly. The bad news is that 10 minutes is very little time.

Keep in mid that sometimes, these visits are from your loved ones. Your near and dear, they’re seen it all, there is no need to tidy for them type people. Those are not the people who you are going to sprint for. Not because you don’t love them, but because really, they don’t care. You would in turn, not care if they did not tidy up for you, so no worries. Maybe brush your teeth if you know they’ll be near your face otherwise, meh. What I’m talking about is the stuff you do when your colleague is coming by with some papers to sign, or your kids new friends mom is dropping by with a favorite toy that was left in their car. Perhaps your in laws are in the area and want to say hi. In my case, it’s usually a client who is coming to the studio to shop for jewelry, so some level of decorum is expected.

I’ll start with the 10 minute deadline, and then move onto a few things to add on if you have extra minutes or if they’re late or something. Ideally you have a home where most of the things on this list are always done, but we have all have those days when they are not. If you have one things that has to be done, be thankful that you instead have a spare moment to brush your hair or change out of your jammies and into a pair of jeans. Or put put on a bra or something. Hmmm, I might do a post on that too. Until then, let’s get you ready for that semi drop by!

How To Get You House Guest Ready in 10 Minutes

1. Close doors of any room you just can’t even deal with.
Bed not made? Shut the door; Laundry room a disaster? Shut the door; Kids room a nightmare; shut the door. Basically you want to have as few rooms as possible visible to your guest that you have to tidy up.

2. Get all the trash out of the room/rooms.
It’s amazing how much garbage can accumulate in living spaces. Grab a garbage bag and toss in the newspapers, empty la croix cans (my husband leaves them everywhere), junk mail, tissues (my dogs love to carry them around and leave them on all over the place) and any big dust/leaf/whatevers off the floor. Basically you want to do this at a quick jog. Empty the waste baskets in the rooms guests will be into the bag and stick it in the garage/outside the back door/just get it out of the house. While you’re at it, if your kitchen garbage smells, that should go too.

3. Shove all clutter in a bag, basket or box and put it behind a closed door.
I’m serious. You will need to deal with what’s in the basket later, just grab everything that shouldn’t be there and remove it as fast as you can. Random socks, toys, books, blankets, whatever looks sloppy needs to be out of there. Make sure all dirty dishes are hidden too. You’re still jogging through all of this.

4. Grab a sponge or towel and wipe down any sticky/dirty surface in the rooms the guest will be.
Think kitchen counters, bathroom sink, etc. You’re not trying to really clean anything, just avoiding grossing out your company.

5. Light a scented candle or spray room spray, especially if you have pets.

6. In the final seconds, run around the room and fluff couch pillows, straighten furniture, tuck in chairs, straighten anything askew.
This is basically the equivalent of making sure you don’t have lipstick on your teeth and your pants are zippered. (Maybe do that too)

Your house is now presentable for last minute company, yay!

If you have a few extra minutes:

1. Vacuum.
This is not the type of vacuuming where you’re moving furniture and getting under things, but rather a quick pick up of dog hair or dust bunnies.

2. Dust.
If you have rooms with a great deal of natural sunlight, the dust can look a bit more obvious on table tops that have not seen a duster for a bit. Grab a microfiber cloth or a feather duster and go to town as fast as you can.

3. Clean the bathroom.
No one has ever walked into a freshly cleaned bathroom and wished it was dirty.

4. Make the bed.
If you can see the bed from the where you’ll be with your guests or want to give your guest a house tour, pulling up a blanket and fluffing the pillows can make a world of difference.

5. Clean the pet hair off of seating areas.
A quick vacuum, roller or blanket spreading can make a difference (I always forget to do this and feeling incredibly guilty when guests sit on the dog hair covered couch).

6. Wipe down mirrors.
If you have mirrors in living areas, a quick wiping down of them will make the light sparkle better and everything look cleaner.

Whew, you did it! Pat yourself on the back and go offer your guests some coffee!

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5 Rules To Organize Anything

5 Rules To Organize Anything

Organizing is never something that I do, it just happens. If I look at a shelf and a pile of items to go on it, there is no thought process that really goes on, I just put the items on the shelf and there they are, all organized. I however think that this happens as I have conditioned my brain over the years to see a pile, break it down in my head of how to process it and then place it accordingly. The basis of the conditioning is to live by these 5 rules which can be applied to an area of your life: your home, your desk, your car…you name it.

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1. Only buy and keep things that are useful or beautiful.

I learned something interesting after my apartment flooded one year and I lost cards, letters, old journals, pads with a few pages of paper left, fabric scraps etc. It felt amazing to not have to store it all and made me never want to deal with any of it again. 3 great reasons to NOT hold on to things. They are purely sentimental (but nothing you ever want to look at again like cards, childhood mementos); could maybe serve a purpose one day (scraps of paper, fabric) or because it was expensive (old electronics, clothes).

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2. Everything in your life has to have a place.

Every single time you bring something new in or get rid of something in a space, take a moment to reorganize and make new homes for everything. The secret to staying organized is to stay on top of it! There should be homes for everything. This means your keys, the milk in the fridge, your toothbrush and on and on. My bathroom was low on storage, so the first thing I did was to buy something to give my stuff a home. Make sure when shopping for storage that do a little planning ahead and include room to grow. I could only fit something small in here without it looking weird, so I reorganized what I needed to actually be kept in the bathroom and moved some things out to a cupboard in the bedroom. Remember that where things live is a constant evolution, I’m always movig things around and rearringing.

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3. When you’re finished with something, put it back in it’s place immediately.

Do not leave the flour on the counter because you may bake again tomorrow or the colored pencils all over the living room table in case you want to color again later. However note that if you find yourself leaving the same things in the same places that are not where they belong, then you need to assign them a new home closer to where you keep leaving them. In my pantry, I keep a big basket for dirty dishtowels. This is due to once upon a time, the towels never making it to the laundry room, but sitting in a pile on the floor. Now the dirty towels have a home and no more pile on the floor! Also note that if it’s an ongoing project, temporary places need to be established for everything involved (like stick all those colored pencils in a pretty cup).

5 Rules To Organize Anything

4. When organizing and storing items, use similar storage containers for ease of stacking and to reduce the visual clutter.

Once you get your matching containers, do not just fill those big bins and baskets with a chaotic jumble of items. Within each storage container should be a system and finding what you need within your storage systems should be instantaneous. All of our photos are kept in decorative, same size boxes in a big closet where we store seasonal decorations, winter coats and scarves (which are in the bins under the coats) that we use mostly when we travel north. The photos are organized chronologically in the boxes, the clothes by item and activity level (snowboarding, NH winter worthy, mild winter) and holiday decor in bins by by holiday and what they are (christmas lights in one box, halloween outdoors in one, halloween costumes, and on and on). I never have to look for more than a few seconds for something in this closet because of this.

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5. Group like items together for both storage and everyday items.

Above I explained how similar items are great to store things, but what about for everyday? A great example is my closet. Sure there are the obvious such as jeans or socks or blouses grouped together, but some areas there are so many of something, like my dresses, that it needed to go deeper. So I started thinking about how I get dressed. I am usually getting dressed for either a. something low key, like errands; b. day time more dressy activities like meeting and lunches; c. dinner or cocktail parties; or d. more formal night time events. Keeping these in mind, I grouped dressed by these categories and within the categories I arranged them by sleeve length (strapless all the way to long sleeves). This makes it so when I am getting ready for a meeting, I am looking at only a chunk of clothes right for that time of day and activity, if it’s chilly, I look more to the right and if it’s super hot, to the left. I do the same with shoes, toiletries (hair products, lotions, face products), food (oils, vinegars, teas, spices, herbs), dishes (china, everyday), studio supplies (findings, gems, glass), and all sorts of other things. The more you break down a selection of items, the easier it is to find things. Add chronological, color or alphabetical orders to the mix and it can get amazing!

 

I hope this list inspired you to flex your organizational muscles, happy organizing!

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Top 5 Things Right Now

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Oh my goodness, there are so many things to share and write about right now that I have been unable to write anything at all. It will however never get done unless I start though so here we go with my recent Top 5 Things Right Now…because I love these posts!

1. Speaking of starting, Emily Henderson wrote a beautiful post today that is my very top thing right now. It’s about how beginning a successful career is about the exact sentiment: Just Start. If I could tell every newbie designer who wants to take me out to coffee in exchange for my words of wisdom the single most important thing about having a successful business…it’s to just START! Ugh, I am so tired of the, “I can’t launch until it’s perfect”, “it’s not ready”, “it’s not there yet”…yadda, yadda, yadda excuses. Guess what? In all the time you’ve been afraid to just start, there are hundreds out there who beat you to it and who are already on to the next round of designs, season, etc. They are creating new content daily and getting more eyeballs on their biz everyday that you hold back. It may never be perfect, you may never be ready, the time will never be right…just start already. Remember: no matter what, you’ll make fun of your early years, so you may as well get them behind you faster. But really, go read her post, it’s wonderful. Preach, Emily!

2. Pinning Halloween treats over on Pinterest. This is my first year of spending Halloween sugar, sweet and candy free and it is ROUGH. I am back to the daily talk downs to not buy and eat all of things. I have almost cried in stores over not eating bags of the special flavors of candy corn this year. There was also an incident where I saw sour candy corn (my two favorite things are candy corn and sour brite crawlers/octopi/anything so the combo sounds incredible) while checking out at a store. I started texting Adam in all caps about it while babbling to the cashier about how much I wanted them and really I all I could think was that I needed to get the hell away from the display before I grabbed the bag and ripped them open right them and there. To further illustrate the problem, last year at this time, I was eating over 1lb of candy corn a DAY. So yeah. I have been finding that pinning the treats makes feel kind of better in a weird twisty way.

3. Rainy weather. It’s a rainy day here in Austin and it means it finally feels a bit like fall…well, until the next day or so when it will go back to the high 80’s. But today, it’s fall, and that’s awesome. I also have started to crave noodles (Thai or Japanese) when it rains, which makes sense but then I just want to lie down and nap, so I have to keep the noodle eating to a minimum.

4. Almost being launch time on a few projects that have been in the works for months and months. That’s the weird thing about social media and being so connected to everyone. You want to instantly share and be excited together but the reality of business is that until the contracts are signed and the projects are underway with set launch dates, that is a big no no. One is so hush hush that I didn’t even tell my mom about it until last week! But a few really cool things are coming up this next month and I can’t wait to both share them and to be finally doing them!

5. The show Vinyl on HBO. I cannot believe this show was cancelled. There is only one season and it was AMAZING. I loved every minute of. A “1970’s rock and roll drama”, produced by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger and involving Terence Winter. What would not be amazing about that??? My favorite part was actually the 60’s art hanging in the houses, so many colors, just so good. It was made fun of by critics for being cliched, massively over spending on production and for being the worst part of Mad Men and Almost Famous. But who cares what they thought, I loved it.

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Top 5 Favorite Things Right Now

Shoe boxes in action in the studi
Shoe boxes in action in the studio

I enjoyed my Top 5 Favorite Things so much a few weeks ago, that I have decided to do it again. That’s the beauty of having your own blog after all, you share whatever you want.

1. Jelly hair elastics. I have been using these for a few years and feel that it is my duty as a person with fine long hair who is athletic to bring these up. These things do. not. move. You can jump up and down, run for miles, punch and kick shit and get soaked with sweat and your ponytail will be right where you left it. They are not the easiest to remove as you can’t just pull it off your ponytail, and instead have to unwind it, but no big deal. I bought mine at the grocery store, but Amazon has them too. (Scunci No-slip Grip Evolution Jelly Ponytailers)

2. Crime shows. I have yet to meet one that I did’t love. I actually screamed in excitement yesterday when I saw that there was a new season of NCIS on Netflix. I have watched probably most of the shows out there, but am always looking for suggestions for new ones. I have a few days coming up where I will have to lay low on the couch and take it easy so I’m currently trying to prep myself with good tv…well, you know what I mean.

3. Jicama Tortillas. My gal pal Cyndie brought these to book club to go with her epic cuban pork and holy moly, they’re amazing! They don’t crack/rip/break as you’d think they would, are crisp, delicious (I have a crazy crush on jicama) and really good for you compared to a real tortilla. I’m not sure if other states have them but we have them at HEB here in Texas in the produce section and I HIGHLY recommend you try them.

4. The Container Store shoe boxes. I bought 2 cases for my studio when we moved and I’m ready to order a few more cases. They are great for organizing, well made and cheaper than most boxes this size. I heart them.

5. Magic Erasure. I have been using these for years and years and every single time I use one, I agree that it’s magic. Every house should have one on hand so you can experience it’s magic powers.

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Top 5 Favorite Things Right Now

A happy Bird of Paradise plant in it's new basket.
A happy Bird of Paradise plant in it’s new basket.

I was inspired to make this list by John and Sherry from their Young House Love podcast. They end each week with what they have been loving lately and it always make me think about what I am loving too. As I usually get excited about what they love, I thought that you may appreciate my favs too…so here we go:

1. Command Strips in brushed nickel for bathrooms. You guys…hooks for the shower that match the fixtures and don’t fall down!! I started with 4 but once I discovered how amazing these were, added 2 more. Who knew I needed 6 hooks in the shower?? What hangs on these hooks you may be wondering? Wash cloth, scrubby gloves, shower cap, squeegee and 2 for drying bathing suits (we swim often and I rinse and hang them to dry).

2. Mini Grocery Carts. If you’ve been to a large grocery store recently, chances are you have used the smaller cart option. If you have not, I am sad for you because they are FUN to use. Although they are too small for a weeks worth of groceries for two people, I will make it work if they’re available. These little carts zip around and make me feel like I’m in super market sweep. I may have run into a few people taking the corners too fast, but once you tell them how you feel like you’re in super market sweep, they are usually amused enough to forgive you.

3. Sale duvet covers from Pottery Barn. I think all but one duvet cover out of the 8 or so duvet covers I have owned have been from Pottery Barn and most of them I found on sale. The quality is great, they are beautiful and if you strike at the right time can be scored for a great deal. I ordered one this morning for the 2nd guest room which I found on the teen site (by the way, always check the teen and kids sites for sheets smaller than king beds!), it’s exactly what I wanted for that bed, was marked down and had  free shipping. It was $42.22 for a queen duvet cover including tax. Boom!

4. Dyson cordless stick vacuum. It’s cord free, people. Imagine this scenario: white stone floors and 2 dogs who have all or some black hair. As you can imagine, I use this vacuum at least 3 times a day. Its light weight and powerful. I grab it, run through the room that I can feel or see specks of dirt or hair in and it’s all gone within minutes. The downside is that being cordless and light, the battery only lasts about 15 minutes. If I need to vacuum the whole house, I have to do it in segments. But the pluses far outweigh that single con. I never thought I could love a vacuum so much!

5. Baskets for plants. We recently went a little plant crazy. Adam has been obsessed with turning the patio into a jungle and I got overly excited in the tropical indoor plant section. We asked countless questions about how to keep them all alive, one of the tips was to not repot them for at least 4 months. If we wanted them to look prettier, to drop them potted into a larger container until then. Well, for some reason the containers I kept bringing home were not the right shape to “drop” into. I was also getting frustrated as I didn’t like the look of many of the pots that were big enough. I was also getting worried that we would buy all of these expensive pots and then need bigger ones in 4 months. So when I walked into Michael’s to get a few frames the other day, I got really excited when I laid my eyes on these bucket shaped baskets that were pretty and 70% off. I bought all of the blue ones in the small and medium sizes that they had. I patted myself on the back for not bringing home the fuchsia ones as they wouldn’t match at all. Fuchsia is still hard for me to resist even though Manic Trout pink no longer exists, so that was a big accomplishment. Once I got them home and saw how well they worked, that I actually went back and bought all of the large ones too. Not only do the pots drop in perfectly height wise, but plastic saucers fit perfectly in them as liners. They work so well that this may end up being a more permanent solution than we intended. Even if we replace them with different pots in 4 months, it was under $70 for 6 large plants so I’m not stressed about it. If you are on the lookout for plant baskets, check your local Michaels! Although if that means the one on Brodie Lane in Austin, all the blue ones are gone. #sorrynotsorry

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June 2016

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Yesterday I was organizing the piles on my desk since moving in last week and almost fell over when I realized it was already July 13th. Then I looked at my last blog post and I was even more shocked that June seemed to have not existed at all, woah. As I’m sure you assumed, the busier real life is, the less on is on the internet. June was for sure one of those times. It’s all pretty much a blur but there was a week in NY with my family, finding and closing on a house and a week of really intense packing. I may have missed the boat on holiday pitching throughout all of this, but I was at least trying to keep up with the prep for that as well.

The first few days of July were filled with the closing and 3 days of intense DIY moving with a uhaul van. The first day we almost killed Gretchen by moving in the triple digit Texas heat and I logged 35k steps each day doing van runs mostly by myself as Adam had to work (bad timing with a move immediately after vacation btw, try and avoid that!), on the 4th day, the movers came for the big furniture and we joined our stuff over in the new house. This entire week was filled with unpacking and shopping. I’d unpack from 9 – 4 and then take a break to go get food and shop for things I realized I needed in the unpacking. You know the kind of stuff: baskets, bulbs, hanging things, storage pieces and on and on. For about a week there was lot’s of shopping for furniture, scouting for future furniture, and buying all of the organizing and gardening things. I realized last week that I went to Home Goods every single day for 8 days. There were 3 in rotation, and it was intense. Target was also in heavy rotation and I visited Nadeau, Pottery Barn, Pier 1, Z Gallery and Restoration Hardware at least 2 times each. There were a few days where we were going to any store we could think of with big stuffed chairs and sitting in every single one. I also realized that we at this point had all of the storage furniture we needed and I was feeling over shopped and becoming incapable of making any more decisions with the decor.

Do you get that feeling when you move? You have a vision of where certain things are going and what you want the vibe to be and then you start to wonder what the hell you’re doing? Yeah, that’s where I am now. I’m a big believer in living in a space before really decorating though, so I think I just reached the point where I was making decisions I wasn’t ready to make without living in the space first. So for the past 4 days, I have enjoyed the feeling of having all the boxes unpacked, the closets, cupboards and shelves sort of organized (these will evolve over time too) and I’ve gone back to work in the studio. Every time our voices echo from having nothing on the walls, I cringe slightly, but am still not ready to pull the trigger on where to hang all the art. We have a great deal of art at this point. I have given away/sold most of my own paintings but I still have a decent amount of them, I have a collection of photographs I adore, we have art by friends and family, inherited pieces that we have a few of and more coming in the late summer and of course, the collection of large photographs that Adam and I have bought as our Christmas gifts each year we’ve been married. The third is pretty large and at the framers right now. In the back of my mind, I’m waiting on gettting that back to make any other decisions as it’s 42.5″ x 42.5″ and will command a big wall. At the same time, I’m pretty content with waiting a bit more anyway.

After the art there are a few details like curtains in the bedrooms, the decision on where and if area rugs should come in and a few pieces of big furniture we need to order. Any input on where you have bought really big and comfy chairs would be appreciated btw. I need a large piece of furniture for the bedroom and both of us think it’s the perfect place to put a reading oasis for me that I can retreat to when Adam is watching movies and I want a quiet and comfy place to go. We love the grande chair/chair and half with an ottoman idea and are considering all the options out there right now. House plants, accent furniture and furniture for the third guest room are on the list as well. But for now I’m just enjoying being back in the studio with the dogs.

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The Monica Closet

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The Monica Closet in all its large and ugly glory

I am naturally a really organized person. This just means that my brain puts things in logical order. However, in order to actually be organized, I have to stay on top of it. I remind Adam constantly that the secret to being organized to always be reorganizing. If you go shopping, you have to move things around to make room for the new so everything has a place. If you notice that you are using a different counter in the kitchen then your tools are near, you need to re-organzie. As you can imagine, I am constantly moving things around. Except for this one place. I call it my Monica’s Closet as a reference to Friends, when the very neurotic Monica was found out for having a secret closet that was insanely messy, disorganized and out of control. She explained that everything in her life has a place and a system…and well, in the closet are all the things that do not fit any of these systems. Like a junk drawer on steroids. So yeah, I relate and accidentally created my own version.

It started out innocently enough. We moved in and there was this cupboard looming at me from the laundry room off the kitchen. At first I was really excited as I have a lot of dishes, gadgets, etc and was grateful for the extra space. Then I opened it. It’s made from cheap materials and not well. The shelves are huge and really far back. They’re so large that I could curl up on each one and comfortably nap. It makes it so you cannot really get to the things in the back and as it’s so dark in there, you see back there. As I unpacked, I started stashing things in there that I didn’t need at the moment and wanted to deal with later. Like drawer organizers and bar wear and huge vases. I’ll admit that if I owned this house, I would have removed the thing asap and put in shallow, white, floor to ceiling cupboards with adjustable shelves and doors. As I don’t, I’ve just kind of ignored that I hated it and over the few years we have been here, I just started throwing things back there and up on the higher shelves when I didn’t know what else to do with them. The middle shelves were not as bad as I keep the laundry and cleaning supplies in the front of one and baggies, tinfoil and the like in the front of another. Behind those was who knows what though.

Over the last few months, with all the the confusion of “are we moving, are we not?” I lost my organizing mojo and let a few other spaces go that were a bit more out in the open. Yesterday, I got on a tear and after vacuuming the couches, started tackling the shelves in the living one by one. It felt so good that at 7pm I looked at the clock and knew I had to decide to work out or keep going. I was really feeling motivated to tackle the Monica Closet, so I figured as this has not happened in three years, that I needed to take advantage of the feeling. So I jumped in. It actually didn’t take that long, I’m pretty quick with a clean out. I moved across the country still pretty recently and three times within Austin since then, so at this point there is little that I don’t want to keep, but I found much more to donate than I thought I would! I boxed up a bunch of stuff that I did want to keep but don’t have room for at the moment for the garage (things like my beloved fridge magnets, martini glasses, mini silver vases) and stored them out there. I threw out a few empty cleaning supplies and light bulb boxes and assessed what was left. I then sorted, contained and put back in everything I wanted to keep in there, putting the items I use the most up front and keeping them low so I could reach the back. Things like candle sticks went on the very top and in boxes so I can slide them out easily. Its really all about grouping like items and containing them so they don’t move around. And then, just like that, my Monica Closet was no more.

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A case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder…it’s ugly but it’s so much better.

Let me tell you , this was an AMAZING feeling. I felt more accomplished with this feat than anything I’ve done in awhile. I keep opening the door and peeking in. Its lovely.

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Wrapping it up

GiftWrap

How do you wrap? Are you a themed wrapper? Do you just use what’s on hand? Wrap with a roll until it’s over and then move on to the next? I pretty much stick to a theme, although some years are waaaaaay more elaborate than others depending on my mood, time and if gifts will sit around under the tree or not. I am big fan of kraft paper and my pinterest board of gift wrapping ideas will attest to that! I find it the perfect blank canvas and it can be made more fun for kids or glammed up a bit for adults. I’m really into the live greenery on gifts for this year, but almost everything will be sent by mail, so I don’t think that will translate very well. Hmmm, the possibilities are endless!

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Two Dogs Vs One

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So many wonderful things have come out of adopting a second dog last winter. It’s interesting to look back after almost a year and see what changed, what did not and what the good and bad from it is. A great deal of what did change was due to having a senior dog and bring a 4 year old into our home, who for their breed is pretty much newly out of puppy phase. So much more energy! The biggest change has been oddly in Faye regarding her schedule. She used to sleep when I slept and would stay buried under the covers until I woke up, no matter the duration of sleep or the time. A few months ago, she began waking up between 5 and 7am and demanding to be fed and let out. Then Mora would wake up and the two would jump on our heads until one of us woke up. The only way to stop this seems to be kennel them or ignore them (we tried everything else). We really don’t want to kennel them and ignoring only made it impossible for us to sleep, so we take turns getting up to feed them and let them out and then return to bed. Both dogs fall immediately asleep after this. However, Mora is a morning dog, so at about 8 she wakes up again and rolls around on the floor or sits in the sliding glass door window gazing out at birds. I have taught her to knock on the door when she’s ready to go out, so I’ll get up to open the door when that happens. Then last month, Faye started wanting to get up again as well, for water usually. But she cannot get up on the bed by herself any more, so we have to help her after she wanders off to get water. Basically neither of us have had a good nights sleep in about 6 months. It’s the only complaint we have though, so I’ll take it. I put together lists of the top 5 pros and cons of 2 dogs vs 1, because I love lists. Before I leave you for the lists, I need to mention that 1st and foremost, Mora is wonderful and her personality is awesome. Everyday Adam and I talk about how lucky we are to be her parents.

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Top 5 Pros:
1. When they interact cutely with each other, it makes both Adam and I gush like no other. If there’s a dog cuddle puddle, we almost cry out of joy.
2. There is now an equal human to dog ratio in the house, although we often end up with two dogs lying with one human.
3. Even though Faye acts like a put out older sister much of the time, when they are home alone, I know that they have each other.
4. There is much more “fun with dogs now happening”, like double dog selfies!
5. They keep each other active and run around the yard together.

Top 5 Cons:
1. Adam and I have both travelled a lot in the past year, but never together. I still have too much guilt to leave Mora. Kenneling two dogs is expensive and it’s hard to find a sitter for both.
2. Dirt and mud x2. If they both need emergency baths at the same time, it’s really challenging.
3. Having one dog for 13 years means there is much jealousy, which means sometimes fighting.
4. They pick up each others bad habits.
5. Having people come to the door can be stressful…we’re working on that.

The list of cons is pretty basic. The pros out weight them greatly. I will admit that I draw the line at two though. Perhaps if they were not terriers (a nice way of saying that their assholes) or all older it would be ok, but only two rat terriers at a time for me!

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Holiday decorating…I’m starting to get why

Excuse the dark phone photo, I call this visual day dreaming
So much has changed from this view since we moved in:new couch, dining chairs, fridge, whale, pillows, throws…(excuse the dark phone photo, I was just making a point).

Besides the obvious reasons…for the kids, festive spirit, keeping up with the Joneses…I am starting to understand the deeper desire behind holiday decorating. We are in our third year living in our current house and I am so bored with it. The layout is a tough one with odd walls, excessive doors in the rooms and a large open living space. I realized yesterday that I have swapped the dining room table out with the extra one we have stored in our garage multiple times, rearranged the guest room and studio at least 4 times each and added new furniture, cloths, lamps and what nots in every space I could. I have moved art around, swapped things between rooms, switched what I have stored with what is out and on and on. Its been two years and four months and I am so over this space. As we do not plan on living in Austin for much longer, we rent and much of my being over the space is from my hating the wall colors and the carpet. If we had bought the house, I would have knocked down walls, redone the kitchen, removed ugly light fixtures, changed the floors and at the very least painted the walls. But as we do not own the house and it was freshly renovated, we live with choices I never would have made.

This morning when I was rearranging the cooking utensils in a new crock, I was daydreaming for the umpteenth time about a new kitchen (in a new house, in a new city) and a light bulb went off in my head…this is why so many people get crazy with holiday decor! It’s the perfect excuse to completely over haul as much as you want in the name of festivity and then when it’s over, you out it all away and decorate for normal life again. As I have bought nine ornaments in the past few weeks for a tree we have not bought yet, I think I’ve arrived at the holiday spirit decor of my life. Last year we were away for the holidays and I think I missed not having a having a tree. I have been slowly collecting little bits and pieces of holiday decor over the past few years and will most likely not go overboard, but I accept the challenge with open arms and will keep you posted.

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