Friday, March 22, 2019

Spring To Do List

The official first day of Spring was this week and I've been celebrating by wearing sandals despite the temperature each day & opening my windows even if it's only 50 degrees. There's definitely something in the later sunsets & slightly warmer temps that gets me inspired to work on projects and get some things done. I asked Jen if we wanted to post some seasonal goals, along with our monthly small goals, and she was down so here we are. I love how varied our goals are and I'm really excited to cross things off my list! 

Heather's Spring To Do List

  • Get new patio furniture - our previous patio furniture was foldable chairs and now it's one old computer chair and a cement block we use as a table. Not great. Jarrett and I like to sit outside and have a drink when the weather warms up so I want to get some patio furniture to make it a nice space to do so. 
  • Plant some veggies - we haven't attempted to grow veggies since 2017. The girls are growing cabbage for a school project so we are deciding as a family what veggies we want for our small garden. 
  • Start Couch to 5K - I really enjoyed this app a few years ago when I was getting into running and I want to get back into it now that the weather is getting better and the sun is setting later. 
  • Extra bedroom makeover - I want to make our extra bedroom and usable space after 3 years of just filling it with things that have no place. I've got big plans and I want to finish this by June.  
  • Take the girls to Forest Park - I want to take the girls to the Art Museum in Forest Park & maybe have a picnic on Art Hill. 
  • Do some thrifting/yard sale browsing - with my plans to update my home on a budget, I want to try and get as many things second hand as I can. 
  • Go to a farmers market - I haven't been to a farmers market since I lived in San Diego 6 years ago. I know there are some good ones in St. Louis so I want to make plans one weekend to hit one up. 
  • Go camping - I don't like camping when it's super hot out so this is going on my spring to do list. It will let us finally use the tent we bought two years ago. 

Jen's Spring To Do List

  • Sunshine reading - One of my favorite things about Spring rolling around is soaking up some vitamin D while getting my read on.  Mornings are my favorite time to soak up some sun!
  • Stairway refashion - Now that upstairs is pretty much wrapped up, I'm ready to tackle the stairs. I'm going to remove the old carpeting, give everything a good cleaning and then I'm going to brighten it up with a couple of coats of paint.  I'd love to have this project wrapped up by the end of March.
  • Paint downstairs bathroom - I just noticed my local hardware store has paint on sale so I'm going to stock up and hopefully tackle this project Easter weekend.  I have a very monochrome vision in mind and am just pumped to be tackling projects on the main level of the house.
  • Goodwill outlet - I have never been to the Goodwill outlet, but my sister and brother in law go regularly and I'm hoping to tag along on one of their thrifting trips soon.
  • Refinish kitchen table  My kitchen table has seen its better days.  It's still sturdy as an oak, but could use a good stain.  I'll probably outsource this project to my very crafty sister and brother-in-law.
  • Introduce Handmade by Gnomecat - It has forever been a dream of mine to sell homemade sewing wears. I now have the perfect opportunity to sell my wears and to advertise commission work through my sister's handmade business (she repurposes used furniture and paints custom signs). I'm very excited to be teaming up with someone who has very similar goals as I do and I can't wait to make my debut.
  • Walks in the park - There is a pretty decent walking trail at the park a few blocks from my house. I spent quite a few mornings last spring walking out my anxiety.  I really love to mix some walking/jogging into my current exercise regimen. Really, anything to get me outdoors more.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Attic Haven

Hey guys! I've been very busy the last few months (which you can probably tell due to long breaks between posting) but I have something pretty cool to share with ya'll. 

I live in a house that was built in the 1920's. It is structurally sound but very, very outdated. We are actually coming up on our 10 year anniversary of owning this home (I seriously can't believe this - I was a baby (21) when we bought it).  We had so many plans when we first bought this place. Most of which involved lots of demolition and doing a complete overhaul. I won't point fingers, but motivation dwindled pretty fast after the first couple of years.  Lately, I've been in extreme nesting mode and have become OBSESSED with making this house my own and the epitome of coziness.  I did a few minor updates last summer and then I plunged into a much more time consuming project.

I decided to tear up all the carpeting in the attic room (which I use as a master bedroom) because I realized there was old hardwood floor underneath.  I mostly wanted to tear the carpet out, not because it was outdated, but because it smelt really musty and gross. The biggest obstacle?  The carpet was GLUED to the old hardwood. Why? I'll never understand.

I wasn't great at documenting before pictures. I was just so over it, a little embarrassed and just ready for it to be gone.  I went through some of my ancient photos (from my olddddd blog) and found this one. At least you get an idea of the carpet I was dealing with.  Basically it was the carpet of every old attic room in American. (I'm not kidding, I spend a lot of time looking at houses on and I see this carpet a lot.)

As everyone does when they are plotting house updates, you jump on the pinterest to see what's trending.  I was certain there was a way to update the hardwood instead of replacing it.  The hardwood wasn't in the best shape, but it was mostly intact with the exception of a trap door which I think was for an old stove pipe? (Old houses are fun.) I didn't think it was worth the expense of refinishing the floors since they were in such rough shape.  During my pinteresting, I fell in love with the idea of painting the hardwood. To me, it felt like that would really breath some new life into this neglected floor.

The carpet and glue removal was so time consuming and honestly just really disgusting. I could only do smallish sections at a time because it took so much effort and strength to scrub that glue off. I also opted not to use any harsh chemicals in the removal for my own health and for the health of my cats. I'm unsure if that would have sped the process up or not, but wasn't something worth risking in my opinion.  I eventually worked up the stamina to do larger chunks at a time but the carpet/glue removal took me about four months to complete because I could only work on it during weekends.

The day I finished removing the carpet was honestly one of the happiest days of my life.  It was such a tedious, time consuming part of the project that would leave my arms and wrists sore for days on end.  I was able to watch an entire season of Friends while doing the removal process so I guess it could have been worse.

This trap door was also discovered. I'm pretty sure it was for a kitchen stove pipe that originally went all the way through the roof.  I toyed with closing up the trap door but eventually decided against it. At some point I might clean out the debris and turn it into a hiding place for my treasures or whatnot.  Sometimes it can be hard for me to eliminate old charm in houses.  For now, I'm covering it with a rug for safe keeping.

I started this process mid September. I finished tearing out the carpet/scrubbing off the glue just a couple of days before Christmas.  I then took the month of January off to relax.  The first weekend in February I got to work prepping the room to be painted. I was also able to give the walls a quick refresh that same weekend. I choose to keep the walls white since I really wanted an airy feel.

This was right before I painted the floors. 

I ended up having to paint the room in two sections over a course of two weekends. I hate moving furniture up and down steps so I simply moved it all to one end and painted the other. Then the following weekend I moved the furniture to the freshly painted side and tackled the rest.  I put two coats on the entire thing.  I suggest using an outside porch paint when painting hardwood floors. It is supposed to handle wear and tear better.

The outcome:

This project honestly turned out better than I could have imagine. It was definitely worth those few months of hard labor.  I rewarded myself with new curtains, a sassy new ottoman a new tv stand/quilt display repurposed from an old tv cabinet. This is my haven and I couldn't be prouder.

I would love to cover up the popcorn ceiling and add a couple of build ins (think window seat in the window that has the mirror and ottoman and some built in shelving at the top of the stairs where the white railing is) but I'm definitely satisfied for now.

I have many more house projects up my sleeves!  My goal at the beginning of the year was to bring a certain level of coziness to the house by doing some minor updating. I'm not sure where to start next, but I'll definitely be tackling the stairwell soon since the stairs are covered in the same carpet and it's got to go.  I feel obsessed about making this house the best it can be so stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

March Small Goals

Here lies Jake, doing what I want to do with all my time: lay on the couch with a blanket & nap. Sadly, I am an adult and have to work or something. Bummer. 

Did February kick your ass like it kicked mine? I feel like the whole month flew by and I accomplished literally nothing. Like zero of my small goals got completed. Which usually would be this huge bummer, but I'm trying to be kinder to myself and show myself some grace. Work has taken up a lot of my time. I'm learning to be a better leader and I can feel it paying off, but it's been a ton of hard work that has honestly left me drained at the end of each day. I'm ready for March, which promises more fun and (fingers crossed) the start of Spring. I think Jen was much more accomplished in February, so let's see how we did and what we've got planned for March. 

Jen's February Small Goals
1.  Paint my bedroom walls and floors.  Guys, this is probably the goal I'm most proud of accomplishing in my whole life. Walls and floor are painted and my bedroom is back to being functional again. This project turned out better than I imagined in my dreams!
2.  Find some pops of color.  I found the sweetest ottoman at Target and some yellow ombre curtains on amazon and this room honestly gives me life. It's a damn haven and I'm so happy. Still looking for a decently priced floor lamp though.
3.  Purge and organize my collectibles.  Yesssssss! Ya'll, this was such a hard goal but I have been so determined to purge the excess and I did it. I still need to actually donate the stuff - but it is all packed away ready for donation day.
4.  Organize my sweaters.  Sweaters are all organized into the cutest linen bins I found at Walmart. My closet is getting so much happier-but there is still work to be done!
5.  Finish Valentine's Quilt.  I technically finished this quilt the first weekend of March. Can I count it? I think I'm going to since it is finished.

Ya'll, I was on fire this month. My motivation and energy levels were crazy high which feels weird for the month of February.  5/5 goals complete! I don't think this has happened before!!!

March Small Goals
1.  Finish closet purge. Ahhh! I've been working on this goal in the smallest of steps for months and I'm really starting to make some progress.  I've purged most of the easy things and now I'm working through the more difficult items. I'm also ready to purge some "office wear" I've been holding on to "just in case". I'm probably never going to wear it again so it must go.
2.  Paint the floor in my closet.  So the floor in my closet is the same old hardwood the rest of the room had, it just never had carpet GLUED to it. Once I finish this purge, I'm going to pull everything I'm keeping out (that is arranged in very organized totes and baskets I might add) and I'm going to paint the floor to match the rest of the room. Might refresh the walls too, who knows?!
3.  Goodwill Donation.  I'm really hoping Heather and I can make a date work this month to get rid of our donations. Mine are also taking over my extra room and its starting to drive me bananas seeing everything every day.  
4.  Prep, Prep, Prep.  Guys, I have something brewing in the near future. I don't want to get too specific at the moment, mostly because I don't want to jinx anything and I'm a little surprised by my choices. Gah, this is so vague which I hate, but I'm going to spend a good chunk of this month prepping for a certain release. That is all I'm saying on this matter for the mo'. 
5. Kitty Love.  I'm just going to come right out and admit this, I've been a very distracted cat mom thanks to all these home projects. Yea, they get all the love and food they need, but I'm really skimping on some of my duties like brushing them and making time to play with them. I recently started brushing them again and I can tell they are living for it which makes me feel pretty bad because it hardly takes anytime at all.  Making more of an effort this month!

Heather's February Small Goals
1. Sunday yoga Nope. I think I exercised once all month. 
2. Wear a dress once a week No again. It has been so cold that every time I thought about pulling out some tights for a dress I would imagine the cold wind and change my mind. 
3. Organize the extra room This is still on my to do list, but I have a ton of stuff to donate to Goodwill before I can make more progress. 
4. Start a new knitting project I had good intentions but did not put anything new on my needles this month. 
5. Read 10 books I made it to 6 books. 

Wow ok 0/5 goals accomplished. February was a rough month for me guys. 

March Small Goals
1. Sell books at Half Price Books A friend from work told me you could sell your books at Half Price Books and changed my life. I have an enormous tote bag full of books I was going to donate, but will try to sell here first instead. 
2. Donate home stuff to Goodwill As mentioned above, I have a lot of stuff taking up space in our extra bedroom that needs to be donated. I've been trying to do this with Jen for weeks, but it's always snowing on the weekend. I'm making this a priority this month. 
3. Implement "radical self care" I made this phrase up, but basically I've been doing a shitty job taking care of myself over the past year. Binge eating and not consistently exercising when I know it helps my mental health a lot. I want to implement some radical changes this month to turn into a regular thing. Some daily things, some weekly, some monthly, but all things that I need to do to take care of myself. 
4. Cook 3 new things I've really been wanting to try some new dinners. All our usual ones are feeling boring. 
5. Drink 48 oz. of water each day I'm a slow drinker and usually don't finish my coffee until after 11 or 12 each day. I need to get more water in my life and I have a huge water bottle that holds 48 oz. of liquid, so here we go. 

Heather's Essential 2019 Oscar Nominated Movies

I believe I've mentioned Jarrett and I have a yearly Oscar bet. It started in 2014, when we had been dating a few months. Jarrett already had his own plan to watch a lot of the nominees for years before we met and I just kind of joined in and turned it into this fun things we do now. The premise is to watch as many Oscar nominated films as we can, usually prioritizing the main categories (Best Picture, the acting categories, directing, and screenplay are my top ones, plus foreign language if we have time. Then we make predictions and whoever wins buys the other one dinner of their choice.

While this is really fun, it's also about 4 weeks of intense movie watching. I'm talking like, 6-7 movies each weekend and 1-2 during the week if we have time. Plus all these movies are usually 2+ hours long so it's a huge time commitment. They are also really emotional and I end up crying or just feeling a lot of feelings, which can be a lot to deal with. On the other side, I also see a lot of really great movies that aren't always released in theaters close to me, or at least not for very long. Because of this, I wanted to recommend the movies I felt were totally worth checking out, some of my favorites of the year.

Disclaimer: I did not see every single movie nominated for an Oscar this year. I did watch all of the Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, & Best Original Screenplay. I hit a few from other categories, but didn't watch nearly enough foreign language films, which are usually my favorites, or documentaries or shorts, both live action and animated. These recommendations are based only on the movies I saw and my personal feelings about them.

The Favourite

Come for the gorgeous sets, costumes, intrigue, & humor. Stay for Olivia Coleman's winning performance as Queen Anne

In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.


This is one you will want to put your phone down for. It's gorgeously shot & the story wraps you up. My hands down #1 pick of this Oscar season, maybe even the year so far. 

A year in the life of a middle-class family's maid in Mexico City in the early 1970s.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy does a fantastic job of playing an unlikeable character with compassion and a touch of humor, but it doesn't feel like you are watching her play another one of her go to characters. 

When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Oof. This one might snag my #2 spot on my favorites list. Heartbreaking and timely, this story of love and family is one that I cannot stop thinking about. 

A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.

The Wife

Glenn Close shines in this movie. You will not be able to handle all the reaction shots that she absolutely nails. Every scene is a master class in acting. 

A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

First Reformed

The one movie I cannot get out of my mind. Just when I thought I knew where this movie was going, it changes and takes my breath away. 

A minister of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.


If a movie about racism was going to win Best Picture this year, it should have been this one. You will laugh and then sober up real quick when you realize these issues are still plaguing us in 2019. 

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

A Star is Born

I thought I would hate this and actually loved it. Lady Gaga steals the show and Bradley Cooper surprised me in the best way. Hold on to your butts for the performance of "Shallows" y'all

A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

I saw this in theaters with my nephew and it was so good and fun and made me cry unexpectedly. 

Teen Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man of his reality, crossing his path with five counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat for all realities.

Black Panther

Not only is this in my top 10 of 2018, it pulls off something no other Marvel movie has managed to do: win awards. 

T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

March Book Club

Happy March friends! This month marks the beginning of Spring, but it feels like never ending winter right now. I actually just came back from a weekend in Minnesota where there was more snow than I think I've seen in my whole life, but it was kind of beautiful and lovely. It was also so. damn. cold. Like just walking from the car to the restaurant made my legs hurt. One thing is clear that while I can make it through a Missouri winter, I am in no way adequately prepared for a Minnesota winter. 

Jen and I were shopping a few weeks ago when we saw this book in Target and knew immediately and book that takes place in the Buffyverse is a book for us. Slayer by Kiersten White is set in the world of Joss Whedon's Buffy but is a completely new story. I'm so excited to dive in to a world I love so much with a completely new story. 

What's it about? 
Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.