The end of Phase I is in sight. #stanley90sreno week 16!

1.30.2017

We've made such progress on the flooring install in the past couple weeks that I can almost see the end of what we've been thinking of as Phase I of the reno!

We finished flooring the final bedroom/future guest room this weekend, huge closet and all. It's a funky room with a hall into it. Here's the before.

Now all we have left to do of flooring are a couple closets downstairs. Then we have to install baseboards. For that part, I am a little terrified. (How long will that take??) The other part of Phase I is the tile backsplash, vent hood, and open shelves in the kitchen. Then we are DONE with the major part of the reno!! (I'm not counting the bathrooms, since they are all fully functional, and we need a break before that!)

We also made two big lighting improvements in the kitchen! We replaced the can light (which had a broken stub of a bulb and lots of dead bugs in it) with this goooorgeous pendant light and recessed can light kit. Took quite a few steps and I think I'll blog about it soon!

We also replaced the fluorescent light (which had had two burned out bulbs and of course was completely hideous--whoever thought using these in residential settings would be okay?!?!?!) with this LED light. I got a couple quotes from some electricians for replacing the big fluorescent guy with can lights, which would be ideal, and it's actually not too expensive but there's all the drywall damage to deal with as well and I'm just not up for that right now. So this $30 LED fixture was a cheap, totally acceptable solution for now. SUCH an improvement!

We've also gotten into a good pattern the past couple weekends of work hard Saturday, do slightly more fun work Sunday. I've done a lot of flooring the past couple Saturdays, and exciting stuff like moving furniture around on Sunday! Getting couches in the right rooms and stuff into the house from the garage is a gooooood feeling! Here are some before/afters for you--just tidying things up and choosing pieces for each room, still need large rugs for both these spaces, and art on the walls! Also, we have more plants than we have horizontal surfaces for.

See the couch swap?

We do miss having weekends off to hike, maybe do some shopping or window shopping, and just focus on groceries and prepping for the week. Ahhh, someday. For now I will just live vicariously through all of you who Instagram about doing fun weekend stuff on my breaks from Craigslist shopping for rugs on all my free time. It's temporary.

Affordable decor and the difference lighting makes. Dining room update

1.26.2017

Now that we have flooring in the whole first floor of the house, things are really starting to feel homey and normal in here. And I'm getting a chance to play around with decor! There's one piece we're totally settled on, though!

I've been back and forth on our dining room chairs and table, and really just happened on the blue rug we put in here. But the first piece of decor we settled on in this dining room was this light fixture.

Here's what the room looked like a couple months ago. We had moved the dining table in but hadn't really unpacked the kitchen and had tools everywhere. BUT, as soon as we installed the light fixture I could see the room coming together! (If you want to see the true before--it's in our "before" tour! Hint: original 1992 shiny brass.)

I did really debate about what kind of statement lighting we wanted in this room. I started noticing chandeliers and big pendants in dining rooms and there are so many cool options! Mid-century/atomic gold burst ones, modern metal ones, drippy vintage-ey ones, the classic drum... so many. They can get really expensive, though.

A company called Designer Living reached out to me about trying out their affordable home decor goodies, and I was so drawn to their lighting. Here are a few of my faves. Everything on their site is a great price and way less than you'd expect at a high end decor retailer! I love the retro look of some of these pieces, and modern, classy, minimal look of some.
1. Lamp / 2. Chandelier / 3. Pendant / 4. Desk lamp

The fixture we got, the Cyrus Chandelier, is only $199 (before the 15-20% off you can get if you sign up for emails!) and also comes in a brushed gold color. Ohhhh, I had the hardest time choosing between the bronze-black and gold! I'm happy with what we got but man, they both are beautiful.

It looks a lot like a West Elm one you may have seen around, but is $100 less!

It ties in with the darker colors in the room but is a bold statement against the white walls! And because of the clear glass bulbs, it's not too heavy or overbearing. It's modern but also playful. Goes really well with the new chairs, and...


...in one corner of the dining room, with the vintage buffet I got at the Restore. I need some lessons on styling it, as you can see. Part of the problem is we haven't unpacked a whole lot of stuff to put on it yet! But that's a problem for another day...

The dining room is really feeling close to done and this fab light fixture is a big part of that! Changing out lighting is such a small thing--less than $200 and less than an hour or so of work that you can do yourself--and can you imagine the difference between this and the dated, dusty, shiny brass chandelier that had been there since 1992??! Why don't people do this kind of update all the time?!

Check out Designer Living if you're looking for affordable updates to your lighting or wall art, bedding, and more.

Thanks to Designer Living for sending me this chandelier!

A finished living room! And dining room? #Stanley90sreno week 15

1.24.2017

I'm feeling good! Let's see, what have we been doing... finished the flooring in the living room, moved in more furniture, finished some decor in the dining room, replaced lighting, and more!

I spent allllllll day Saturday laying flooring. I didn't do a huge amount in terms of square footage, but they were awkward areas and it took quite a while. BUT I got the living room and downstairs hall done--that means we now have continuous laminate flooring throughout almost the whole downstairs!

Coming down the stairs now you see cohesive, connected, elegant flooring and the living room, foyer, and hall all blend together nicely! Plus we now have flooring all the way out to the window, and it's like a whole extra room there! We had been storing boxes and a ladder and junk there and it was one of the last places to remain subfloor, so this is HUGE.

This also meant that we could bring in some of the bulky stuff from the garage... like a few bigger chairs that have been taking up a lot of room and blocking the file cabinet. I also sold a couple things from the garage including a shelving unit, so I brought a bunch of the boxes that had been sitting on it into the office (which is now a big mess of boxes). I would really like to do some sewing soon, so this is progress--the fabric and sewing machine are now inside!

Also last week our new dining chairs arrived and we put them together. The dining room is looking pretty good!! (We recently moved this rug in there.) I also hung a mirror and some art--Jason's grandpa did these charcoal sketches.

And I replaced our hall light fixtures! They were the plain white $8 ones and some of the globes had broken. I bought these cute flush mount fixtures for about $20 each and these LED Edison bulbs--what an improvement! I will have to show you some more context later when we have more unpacked.

I'm feeling really energized for this coming week. I want to reinstall some bi-fold doors, install more lighting, and start tackling the stuff in the office!

All natural peanut butter and jelly raspberry protein smoothie recipe (with frozen Oregon berries!)

1.19.2017

I dare say I've mastered the slushy, milk shake-ey, delicious, still nutritious and filling all natural protein shake. I made this one extra exciting with some frozen berries and it is so tasty, pretty, and perfect for the middle of winter!

The Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission supports hundreds of Oregon growers of raspberries, blackberries, Marionberries, and other caneberries (have you ever heard that term?? Berries that grow on a cane!) and wants to spread the word that we can eat Oregon berries all year long! They provided some of the ingredients for this post, and I used berries we picked at a farm last summer!

We love to do u-pick berry trips in the summer at local farms, and freeze lots of berries for eating later. Raspberries freeze SO well and are just as flavorful and even have a good texture after being in the freezer for months. Adding these to my smoothie reminded me of our summer picking trips and much better weather than we've been having now. ;)

Plus, the color is pretty for Valentine's Day! Here's a healthy treat that you can enjoy without guilt! I use unflavored protein powder so there are no mystery ingredients, and you can make it dairy-free and legume-free for strict Paleo or nut-free!

Peanut butter & jelly raspberry protein smoothie


Ingredients:


  • 1 c. coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 serving unflavored protein powder (whey or collagen)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter powder, peanut butter, or almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Sprinkle sea salt
  • 1/2 c. frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 tsp. xylitol (optional--use if you want it sweeter or if your banana wasn't super ripe)
  • 8 large ice cubes

    Instructions:


    1. Measure milk using guides on blender pitcher. Combine all other ingredients into blender.
    2. Blend on low (on a Vitamix or other high speed blender) until smooth.

    You know it's perfect when it looks like this!

    Makes 1 serving or 2 small servings. (I usually eat a whole one myself but they look cuter in two small jars!)

    Optional: top with more peanut butter, almond butter, or powdered peanut butter made up!

    Great optional add-ins:


    You can add a lot to these slushy protein shakes/smoothies! Here are some easy ones I enjoy:
    • Couple handfulls of fresh spinach. It'll make it greenish in color but you can't taste it!
    • 2-4 dates instead of xylitol if your bananas aren't sweet enough
    • Top with coconut flakes or sliced almonds for extra texture

    If you don't have a quality unflavored protein powder on hand, I highly recommend getting some! Grassfed whey is great but this is a budget-friendly option. If you don't do dairy or want some extra skin, nail, and muscle health benefits, this grassfed collagen protein is amazing. These and other faves used in this recipe linked below!



    Thanks to the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission for sponsoring this post!

    More flooring progress and a new bed! #Stanley90sreno week 14

    1.17.2017

    Wow, what a good week!! Despite the snow outside (maybe because of it?) I was able to get a lot done on two big projects!

    One of my decor dilemmas has been our bedroom, but I think I've decided on a style and bought a pine four-poster bed recently for re-doing. It's not done yet (I ordered new finials) but over the week I prepared and painted the whole thing! I used pretty much the same method as for our doors and cabinets, so takes lots of coats and drying time, but it's a great weeknight project since I was able to just do 30 minutes or so before bed every night.

    Why, yes, that is a wrinkled comforter cover that has been packed or on a shelf for months. But at least it isn't the blue one we had on there because it was all I could find at first! And yes, that is a storm trooper alarm clock and I have accepted that we will incorporate it into our decor.

    It feels SO good to have that room coming together more! I still have a lot of decisions to make with furniture, curtains, art, etc. but the bed is anchoring things and I can start to see it looking like something.

    Over the weekend, I did a ton of flooring (Jason is busy studying for a certification so it's mostly me for a couple weeks)--I did half the living room and the hall on the other side of the stairs. The small areas take so long since there are lots of small cuts.

    Sunday I did almost the entire spare bedroom!

    And Jason tore up the oak flooring threshold that was keeping me from doing the other half of the living room. I have been dreading dealing with this stuff since when I tried to pull it up I barely got one tiny board after much effort. He went beast mode and did it all. Yay.

    And Sunday morning I drove to Home Depot before Jason woke up and bought particle board so we can do the subfloor and add flooring over it!

    Feeling really good about our progress and looooove how the living room is looking so I can't wait to get back to working on the flooring in there. Often I don't have the energy after work for more involved tasks like the flooring (and we have to move the car and set up the saws in the garage) but I am pretty motivated to get through it this time! We'll see. I'll keep you posted on Instagram stories.

    Cranberry vanilla almond gluten-free protein bars

    1.12.2017

    When I figured out this homemade protein bar recipe, I was super pumped. I so often find the need for a low-maintenance, balanced snack and the storebought options are either full of mystery ingredients, really expensive, and/or really high in sugar. I've been making my basic protein bars pretty regularly, but wanted to try a special treat variation and came up with this one!

    I don't eat many grains at all (discovered how much better I felt cutting them out in my raw vegan and now mostly-Paleo days) but I have been tolerating the organic oats in my protein bar recipe very well. This cranberry almond version uses half as many, though, and no peanut butter, so the rest of the ingredients are Paleo, real food, low toxin, all that good stuff.

    This flavored bar needs an unflavored protein powder. You can use collagen peptides protein powder for dairy-free or a high quality unflavored whey protein. This recipe makes 8 bars so it's great to make on Sunday nights and pack for snacks during the week! I take 4 and give Jason 4 to keep in the fridge at work.

    Cranberry vanilla almond gluten-free protein bars


    Ingredients:



      Instructions:


      1. Combine dry ingredients (through cranberries) in a mixing bowl; mix well. I use a fork!
      2. Add milk of choice a few tablespoons or splashes at a time, mixing to incorporate. The only way you can mess this recipe up is by adding too much liquid! It's hard to stir and very sticky, but try not to add any more liquid than absolutely necessary! Add vanilla extract at this stage, as well. 
      3. Lay out a 12" or so long piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface. Distribute mixture into a loaf shape. Wrap plastic wrap around starting at one end and roll out until mixture is packed down and relatively uniform. (I often use the cylinder shape bar and cut into 8 discs, but you can also pack down into a rectangle and cut 8 bars as I did in these photos.)
      4. Refrigerate or freeze for 15-20 minutes until solid but not rock hard.
      5. To cut into eight relatively even-sized pieces, cut in half, then cut halves in half, then cut those halves in half on each side. 

      Stop adding liquid when it looks like this!

      Store in the fridge or freezer. If you put too much liquid and they are too soft or sticky, definitely store them in the freezer.

      You may not have happen to have unflavored protein powder in your pantry, but if you've been looking to get more protein (but not more mystery ingredients) into your diet, I highly recommend stocking it. You can shop my favorites and other ingredients for this recipe here!



      Kitchen organization, The Minimalists, & finally finished a project. #stanley90sreno week 13!

      1.09.2017

      So my dad needed his saws back for a bit, so we're stalled on our flooring installation for a weekend. Oh, well! We found plenty to do despite being snowed in after about 11am Saturday!

      Since we have flooring in more than half of the first floor, we figured, we can bring more boxes in! Last Monday we brought in a bunch of boxes, mostly kitchen, some office or other, and I was totally overwhelmed about unpacking them. But I finally got into it and rearranged a bunch of parts of the kitchen to make room for the less-used kitchen stuff that had been packed away. We've missed having more than one oversize coffee mug, for example, but for the most part I felt burdened by all of the stuff we own and have not missed since we moved and it's been in the garage. I've been thinking, why do we have all this stuff?? I don't need all of these cute dip bowls and sets of drinking glasses of different sizes and obscure cooking implements. Kitchens are the worst to pack, you always need way more boxes than you think you will, and it turns out I haven't needed most of the stuff that was in our old kitchen.

      Overwhelming, right??! (It will help once we reinstall the pantry door, but still... pretty cluttered.)

      Part of the issue is we need to tile the backsplashes before installing shelving on the sink wall. That will be for plates, bowls, and hopefully some other commonly used items like glasses or mugs. So I put all the plates and bowls on the counter for now and am trying to anticipate what space we'll have later.

      It was quite timely that the documentary Minimalism came up in conversation or Instagram 7 times last week. Almost everyone was inspired by it. So we watched it on Saturday night and... well... here's my film critique.

      I am all for the concept of living simply, with no more space or stuff than you need. I am creeped out by the constant barrage of commercials, cheap fast fashion, different sales every weekend, consume-consume-consume nature of our culture. As I just said above, I've felt burdened by all of the stuff in our garage while we've been living pretty comfortably "camping" in our home waiting for our flooring! I enjoyed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I was moved by The Story of Stuff in 2007.

      But honestly, to me the movie didn't build on those concepts very much, or give me any more reason or inspiration for living minimally than I already had. I felt like it was about 30% content and 70% drama, with music and poignant-sounding statements added in for shock value. I think the concepts have been circulating around for a while now--I am glad they are getting more attention with these dudes' popular blog, podcast, and movie--but I wanted to learn more about how and why to live more minimally.

      I did appreciate that they related the constant cell phone-checking and connections we are surrounded by to consuming more physical stuff. I don't go out and shop a whole lot, but I am kinda glued to my cell phone or another screen and I think I am victim to that dopamine smartphone addiction so many of us have developed. But again, I wanted to learn more about how to combat that.

      Also, this is totally not important because, to each their own, but I was a little discouraged that most of the minimalist homes they touted were so modern and stark, with blank walls and trendy furniture, as if that is the right way to do things. No art on the walls? None?? No rugs on those hard floors? Nothing on the kitchen counters? I love the William Morris quote, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." I find value in things I find beautiful or interesting, and I like to change seasonally and as I change, and I think I am happier in a home that has decor as well as purely functional items. (So why am I defensive?? I know who I am, right? I think my other issue with the film was the narrators left me feeling judged, as if their version of minimalism is the right thing for everyone who puts thought into their lives. And yet they still didn't explain why that's the right thing!)

      Jason pointed out that the movie talks about "minimalism" kind of interchangeably with "living an intentional life," but there's a big difference. The main idea of the film is that mindlessly going through your life accumulating possessions is not a way to happiness, but that doesn't necessarily mean having a minimal amount of belongings; only that the belongings we have should be in our lives because of their utility, beauty, or meaning, not simply because of a habit of accumulation. Calling the idea minimalism makes it sounds like you're supposed to get rid of all your stuff, when the idea is really to live intentionally. They talked about living intentionally in the film, but all of their examples of minimalism came from showing how little stuff they had, which didn't necessarily mean anything.

      I'd love to know what you thought of the movie! It's on Netflix and a bunch of other places, very easy to find.

      Sunday we were snowed in all day, so we got some little things done--installing switch plates, cleaning, removing ancient pieces of tape and gunk from a window...

      This window in the front of our house was the most disgusting to clean and I had been putting it off even after painting it. I finally cleaned off the tape and dog spit and nose prints from the previous tenants' pets, and cleaned out the disgusting window wells.

      Since there's no wall above it we haven't had curtains on this window (and they would block some of it even when wide open) but for privacy I think I'm going to install some on a hanging track system! (We also close the bamboo blind at night and most of the time.)

      We also finished the beam. Hooray!! We installed it a while back but had to buy the right color of wood filler for the nail heads/holes, and get back up on the ladder. We (Jason) finally did it! I can't wait to show off the beam once the floors are in and rest of the room is more finished!

      Meanwhile, I am still trying to decide between dining chairs. It's down to 4 white plastic Eames-ey ones with black spindle end chairs or 6 matching low-back (probably black) ones. I just don't know. Opinions welcome.

      We definitely didn't make big progress like we have in the past, but considering we don't have the tools we need for the floors and couldn't drive to the hardware store to get stuff for other projects... I don't feel bad about it! I am feeling a little cabin fever after today, though!

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