Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals. I'm a recovering former vegan and vegetarian, now healing with a nutrient-dense mostly Paleo diet, and love at-home CrossFit and yoga workouts. I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!


Must-have tools, how to do eclectic style without going circus, where to buy Benjamin Moore paint, and more!

We love the community that has come together on the Your Home Story Podcast Facebook group, our Instagram, and of course listening to our episodes! We've collected some great listener questions and answer them in this episode. One of my favorites is what our essential tools are!
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14 stylish, affordable rocking chairs - nursery decor

I have been excited to decorate a nursery for a long, long time now, and we will finally be moving into our house in a few weeks! We've made it this far (8 weeks with Otto) without one--we store extra baby stuff in the hall closet, and his changing table/dresser is in a corner of the living room--and it's been fine, so I was questioning recently about what else we'll need.

I picked out a rocking chair months ago when I was making mood boards, but now I was questioning if we needed one more big thing and if it would be useful past the newborn stage. I shared that question on this post on Instagram and the response was overwhelming--YES!!! So many people said they loved theirs and use it every day, even for bigger babies and toddlers.

But I've also seen comments that it's hard to find rocking chairs that are more affordable than the chicest $800+ ones... lucky for you, I've been comparing options for months for our nursery and I have lots of ideas!

There are lots of options for stylish rocking chairs under or around $300, if you know where to look. I found all 14 of these and linked them in the graphic below at the lowest price sources I could find. There are a couple splurges on there, but nothing as expensive as the ones you see in designer portfolio nurseries.

Only problem is, I was sure I was set on rocker #1 for Otto's nursery, till I did some more research for this post and found a few more choices!

Rocker or glider? Exposed wood or hidden base? Some of these even come with ottomans! Lots of choices. Many come in several colors, but I chose my faves in beige and grey below. So versatile.
Inspiration image sources (clockwise): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

You can also shop all of them here!

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How to decorate with a spouse (!!)

This question is SUPER topical for me right now because soon we'll be moving into our new house and starting almost from scratch on the decor in a lot of rooms! Jason wants to be involved in the decor but he and I work very differently with picking out products and styles. Not to mention all the DIY projects we'll need to do, like landscaping and plumbing changes!

But here are some Cliff's Notes and four important questions to ask for decorating or doing home improvement with a spouse! I gotta remember these tips on our upcoming projects...

This week on the Your Home Story podcast, Ashley and I share what's worked for us and how to work on a home project with a spouse, who may have different taste or level of enthusiasm.

When you listen to the episode you'll hear us go into more detail on these four questions you that will help you talk it through with your significant other:

  1. What do you envision the space to feel like?
  2. How are you planning to use the space?
  3. Do either of you have any specific “wants” for the space?
  4. Find what each of you does well and let you both run with it. E.g. budgeting, plumbing, design...

The first home tour Jason and I both liked--as I shared way back in this post. Image source.

Listen here or in your podcast player!
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Otto's birth story

I knew it would take me a while to write down this story, but it's really important to me to do. Otto is 7.5 weeks old now. My labor delivering him was very, very different from what I hoped for. We are both healthy and doing well now. But it's still hard not to mourn the loss of a goal that didn't work out, an experience you wanted but never got to personally have. I'm doing pretty well with acceptance and gratitude, but still want to share my real feelings as I have them now.

I once heard someone quote her midwife who said most people don't get a great experience out of all three of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. (My midwife scoffed at this, haha!) That concept makes sense to me in the sense of fairness of the universe, but because my pregnancy was so smooth I was hoping it would contribute to a great labor experience!

In that sense, I've had it pretty good. Despite lots of anxiety beforehand, we got pregnant relatively quickly once we really started trying. I had a textbook, super healthy pregnancy. I went into labor the day before my due date. Breastfeeding is going well (now--days 3-5 were pretty painful but much better now). Otto is gaining more weight than he needs to. My body is recovering well and I can wear my old clothes again. My postpartum hormones were crazy but I haven't (yet) had bad baby blues or other mood disorders. My relationship with my husband grew even stronger throughout everything. All in all, I got pretty lucky and worked really hard (successfully) with the baby stuff.

And yet, labor and birth are this huge, mystical culmination of 9 months of pregnancy, and introduction to the rest of my life and relationship with this new person. So they seem more important somehow than some of the other things. I think that's why there's so much emotion around labor.

Well, let's get into it.

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Buying & selling on Facebook, Craigslist, in-person sales, and more!

This is super topical for me since we're planning to move into our new house soon, but you may be interested if you're a serial redecorator, or just need some new pieces (or to clean out old pieces) in your current home!

This week on the Your Home Story podcast, Ashley and I are sharing what works well for both buying and selling secondhand home items direct from sellers (online or in-person). You can get some amazing pieces and deals!, but it takes work to find them. Plus, selling your used furniture, rugs, etc. can be a great way to get some extra cash to cover new purchases!

We talk about using Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and buy/sell groups, garage sales, and more.

Here's one of my favorite Craiglist finds--this vintage dresser. It's been a dresser in our townhouse and a TV/media stand at our last house, and it's one of the few big pieces of furniture we kept when we moved last!

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1 week of EASY & healthy (new mom-friendly) dinners

I'm usually the cook in our family but I've had about 9 months off of doing it every night like I used to. Morning sickness, fatigue, moving in with my parents for 4 months, moving into the apartment super pregnant and being exhausted again, then having Otto and the chaos of his schedule of feeding and trying to get him to nap... Jason (or my parents) did a lot of the cooking for a while!

But the past couple weeks I've been able to actually cook real food for us most nights and I feel so good doing it again!!

I've come up with some hacks and found a few super easy recipes and meal ideas that are much healthier than eating out or buying prepared foods. I still don't have tons of time, but these are things I can do quickly, start ahead of time, or use in two meals (or as leftovers for lunches) so are great for a busy mom (or anyone). I put together these 5 meal combos, with links to recipes or just simple instructions, and hope they'll help you with super easy, tasty, homemade meal ideas when you're busy! There's even a shopping list for you!

These meals are Paleo-friendly or can be made strict Paleo with some substitutions, though for me personally I've relaxed on what I do and don't eat through pregnancy and a busy lifestyle. I've found I can tolerate white rice, corn, packaged dressings/sauces, and grassfed butter, so those are included. But again, feel free to substitute what you can't eat, and/or add dairy like cheese to things if you want!

I know lots of people are busy, but these recipes are particularly good for new moms - I know a lot of nights I just can't predict what Otto and I will be up to around 5:30 when I'd like to be cooking dinner, so I've found I can chop some veggies ahead of time, put some things in the oven and hour early, etc. and make it work. Plus, breastfeeding moms need to eat real food/balanced meals, so cooking at home is maybe a little more important now than other times!

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