Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I like this article:
Granted, numbers three, four and 12 totally do not apply to our home (all relate to smaller homes being easier to sell and less expensive), but I do often need to remind myself about the environmental impact of choosing a small condo over a larger single family home, as well as the extra time to spend with family. These are pretty large benefits to small living.

This is Where We Used to Live: Part 1

I have lived in many homes, apartments, townhomes and condos in my life... I'd estimate around 15 different dwellings. I've been thinking about the different homes I grew up in lately. The feelings they had, the things I liked about them, the things I didn't, the memories they evoke. It's funny, but I think my housing obsession started way back when I was a little kid. I think there was something stigmatizing about the way we moved a lot, and were renters. Not to say there's anything bad about renting (heck, if we were renters we wouldn't be so many tens of thousands of dollars underwater right now!) but I hated that I couldn't ever paint my bedroom, or really settle into the family home the way my friends had. We never bought backyard toys, because they'd be a pain to move. Basically, I wanted a sandbox, swingset and a frilly pink bedroom like my best friend Sarah in Bakersfield, and instead, I had a white-walled, olive green carpeted room with a dingy, cement patio yard.
The first home I have real memories of is this one, in small Dixon, CA. I lived here from 1984-1988. I still remember the address because it rhymed, but this isn't what I remember the outside of this house looking like. I think in the 80s it was brown and white. It had two stories, and I remember it just seemed huge. There were open stairs that lead up to my bedroom, and I used to like to hang upsidedown from the underside of them. The carpet was dark brown, and you walked right into the living room. There was a kitchen and den in the back. The upstairs was where I liked to spend most of my time... aside from my small little bedroom tucked into a corner, there was a huge open playroom, where I liked to play school. My dad worked at a nature gift shop in a nearby town, and we had decorated the room like a mini-museum with things he bought there - gemstones and a model dinasour skeleton, and a huge poster of the solar system. We had a book shelf with an illustrated dictionary and a set of encyclopedias. It was a really nerdy playroom and I loved it.
The yard had a small cement patio and a big open play area, and was fenced, so my brother and I could play outside without much supervision. There was an open field behind the fence, where we sometimes flew kites. I bet it's been developed by now.
We played in the front yard a lot too, and there were some eccentric kids a little older than us next door that I sometimes rode bikes with. While looking at the Google Maps of this house, I barely remember it looking like this, but one glance down the street and I'm flooded with the memory of riding a two-wheeler for the first time, and playing The Snorks in the open garage. I had my first sleepover in this house, had a bunny named Francis that died on Easter Sunday, and one Christmas my dad somehow left us bikes and my mom a record player in the playroom while we were at church, and I was completely convinced that Santa had visisted while we were gone (I think he had a friend deliver the presents).
I remember this house really fondly.

Monday, August 30, 2010


We've been living unplugged the last few weeks. We have a TV, but no longer have cable. When we purchased our condo in 2006, the seller told us at the closing that "the cable just kinda works." We plugged the TV and sure enough, free basic cable. I sort of felt bad stealing cable for four years. But I figured I'd just plead ignorance and suck it up and pay for it if we were ever caught. Well, in July Comcast switched over to a digital signal, requiring a cable box. So, the days of free cable were over. I thought it would be bad... I loved watching the Daily Show every night before bed, and surfing on over to HGTV whenever I had a free moment. But now, I just leave the TV off. It's been really, really nice. I know come fall I'll start watching some TV again, but it's been a lovely, quiet sumemr not to have background television on constantly. And then when our laptop required a new keyboard and spent two whole weeks with the Geek Squad, I relished that too. I didn't have to have conversations with Matt as his nose was buried in a sports blog, or try in earnest to check my e-mail as Sebastian came running to bang on the keyboard (erm, and we wonder why it broke!)
The laptop is back, but for now, I'm trying to keep it pushed under the couch, and the TV off.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Photo courtesy of Waldorf Mama (www.waldorfmama.typepad.com)
The past few days, I've gotten really sucked into reading Waldorf blogs and websites. It was one of those fluke things that I stumbled upon... if I remember correctly, I was reading a blog about Slow Family Living, and then I clicked on some links and found some Waldorf blogs. I find it a completely fascinating subculture, and one that has a lot of beauty to it.
The more I read about it, I know that the education style is not for us. We are not a religious family, and it really has a lot of religious and spiritual undertones. There's the whole anthroposphy thing, and delaying reading, and other things I'm not sold on. Plus fairies. I'm not big on those (although I can get behind the gnomes). But I do find a lot of it really appealing. The connection to nature and the seasons is really beautiful. I love the idea of your day having a rhythm to it, and spending lots of time outside. In terms of parenting, I love the emphasis on open ended toys (specifically wooden ones) and eschewing media. The from-scratch cooking is great, although not always attainable when you're a two-working-parent family.

And then there's the style of decorating. I've looked at a lot of Waldorf home images, and when you see them it's hard not to let out a contented sigh. The colors are soothing - pale yellows and greens, this warm pink, and lots of gorgeous blond wood. Waldorf homes aspire to be simple and uncluttered with material things, so you don't see massive entertainment centers filled with DVDs, loud colors, plastic toys everywhere or lots of knick knacks. Everything looks so airy, yet warm and cozy at the same time. They seem like the kind of place you could curl up with a mug of herbal tea in a sunny window.
While I'm not about to start dressing my kiddo in wool caps, draping the house in colored silks and celebrating Michaelmas, I think I just might adopt a few Waldorf touches in my home. A lot of the colors we've chosen already have that pale yet colorful feel to them, and I already favor light wood to dark. But I'm thinking of getting a pretty wooden bowl, and maybe filling it with some of the elements from outside - rocks, pinecones, twigs. I really like the Waldorf tradition of the nature table, so I think for autumn I will give that a try. I often change out the decor on top of our game cabinet seasonally, so this time around I plan to give it a more natural spin.

Grievances and Gratitude

Last night I got an e-mail from our condo association informing us there is going to be a special assessment. I've always known these were a possibility, and I knew that we were likely to have one to fix the garage aprons on our homes that are threatening to sink into a giant hole. But I'm still annoyed because the whole reason we have to pay so much now is because no one voted to do this two years earlier, when it would have been far less expensive. Plus, I admit that I completely cringed when I read the e-mail because it was so poorly written (they actually typed "we're gunna fix...") and unprofessional. Since my profession is publishing, I can't stand how lame their newsletters and e-mails are.
That aside, I'm trying not to let it get me down. I have a fun-filled weekend coming up to celebrate two wonderful gals who are getting married in the next couple of months, my friend M. and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, R. I have M's bachelorette party tonight, and R's shower on Sunday. And Saturday is supposed to be really nice, so I may go to a farm festival with S., or just stay at home tooling around our neighborhood.
Today I am grateful for:
- Lunches on the patio with my friend at a fabulous little bakery. A nice interlude to the work day.
- The way S. smiles around his pacifier in the morning.
- Time to surf parenting and housing blogs while eating mint chocolate chip ice cream last night.
- Playing outside.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


It was a beautiful day on Tuesday, and Matt was on his way to a game night at a friend's house. I was itching to get outside and feel the slightly cool wind on my skin, so I took Sebastian on a walk. We trekked over to the nature center, and spent some time wandering around, picking up twigs and rocks. Sebastian was in a bit of a clingy mood, though, and wanted to be carried most of the way, pointing at pine trees, so needless to say, we didn't make it too far. We came out on the other side of the street, and started heading home. As we walked along, we saw Daddy's car driving up. He waved enthusiastically as he passed, and Sebastian responded to my excited, "It's Daddy!" with a giggle and a wave of his own. Then we saw a couple coming up the sidewalk with a big, black lab on a leash. I recognized the long-haired woman as Sebastian's former early childhood education teacher. A super sweet, bubbly woman, Miss R. gave us a big smile as she approached and said, "Well hi guys!" We stopped to have a quick chat about how big S. is getting, and whether or not we had signed up for a fall class (we did). After we said our good byes, and continued on home, I smiled to myself. I love this neighborhood. There was something so sweetly old-fashioned about being outside on a gorgeous summer evening, running into people we know from the community.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Simple Things

There's nothing better than pruney baby toes after a long bath.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good Enough

I have a drive for constant change and reinvention, as well as a strong desire for stability. It's a push and pull that I struggle with, probably stemming from the way I grew up, and the way we moved every three to four years. I know I need to stay put, in my job, my house, my life. When I think about what I want out of my life, stability is at the top of my list. And yet. And yet. I still yearn for different things. New surroundings, new challenges, new things, to try on new personas instead of being happy with the one that I have.
This past Saturday morning, I sat in the dining room of a friend, with all the girls from my book club seated around a wooden table. We were eating the most sinfully delicious pancakes I've ever had - chocolate chip and bacon - and sipping mimosas. We were discussing The Glass Castle, a book about suffering and poverty. And yet. Here I was, looking around her condo, wishing my place looked like hers. She just moved in about six months ago, and has a nicely remodeled kitchen, and these gleaming hardwood floors. She has a teeny living room, but a big. white linen sofa on a fluffy white rug that just looks so fresh and inviting. Her bathroom is a cheery blue with a pink and purple floral shower curtain Matt would deem far too girly for our shared space. I felt so shallow and dumb. Because at this point, I wasn't even yearning for something I don't have. I have a condo. I just liked hers better in that moment. It was cleaner and more put together than mine. Somehow, more special and sophisticated. Here I am, discussing the tale of someone's horrible childhood, and feeling petty and envious because someone has a nicer shower curtain than me. I kind of hated myself in that moment.
Then I read all the blogs I subscribe to in my Google Reader, and I wish that I had the time, the talent, and the inclination to have the lives of some of the women I read: The ability to cook fantastic, photo-worthy meals, or to craft sweet little clothes for my son. I suddenly don't want the city condo of my book-club friend, but the life of a stay at home mother who homeschools, who cloth diapers and dries them on a clothes line, who grows a big backyard garden. Who lives in the woods and wears breezy sundresses, whose home is artfully disheveled, with distressed hardwood floors and a big farm sink, and is decorated with charming bowls of polished stones and fresh wildflowers. I read about their deliberately slowed-down lives, and wish that I could be more like that.
I want to be crunchier, hippier than I am sometimes. But I also want to be more put together and have a clean, magazine-ready home at the same time.

Why is my own life not good enough? I am so blessed. I have the most amazing son, who always has a mischievous sparkle in his eye, and is always dancing, laughing and giving kisses. He is certainly happy. My husband is great too - he makes me laugh, he always gets me and my neuroses. And his presence is always so calming - in the midst of any kind of crises, he is there to lend logical advice and support. And then there's my home. It's fine. In fact, really, it's more than fine. I love the way the maple wood floors in the kitchen look in the mid-day sun, and the contrast of the creamy white cabinets against the cherry red walls. I love our big, comfy sectional, and how we can lounge on it while Sebastian crawls over us and bounces up and down, and how once he goes to bed we put our feet up, crack open a beer and watch Mad Men. Yesterday, I glimpsed Sebastian sitting on the floor of his bedroom, paging through a board book with his brows furrowed in concentration. His bedroom is a bright blue, and has hand painted clouds on the walls, and decals of hot air balloons and airplanes. There's a book we read together sometimes called Zen Ties, and on the cover two pandas hold bright balloons. Sebastian points at them, and I say "balloon!" and then he points at his walls. And recently he started pointing at an orange lantern he has hanging from his ceiling when we say "balloon." So I bought a tiny basket and some ribbon, and turned the lantern into a hot air balloon. It's seriously cute, and a good example of how we use simple things to make our house ours.
And as for me, I try really hard to be patient and kind, to my friends and family. I think I'm fun and cheerful and a good person. The thing I need more of is confidence. Confidence that I am a unique, worthy person who can eat local meat AND sometimes really want something from Taco Bell. Who can read Unconditional Parenting and blogs about kids and consumerism, but also let my kid watch Sesame Street. That I can dream of spending the whole day picking up sticks and leaves with my kid, but that the reality is I have to go to work and make money, and that's okay too. And that I can drool over someone else's granite counter tops without feeling like my little condo is unworthy. That I can't spend my energy envying other people. It's not healthy.
This blog was started to convince me that even though our "investment" is hemorrhaging money, that it can be a good enough place to live and for our son to grow up. Lately I feel it's the place where I need to come to convince myself that my whole LIFE is good enough. Because it so is.

Craft Fail

I had this great idea for our playroom makeover. We needed a couple more toy storage bins, and I discovered that an empty diaper box with the lids cut off is just the right size to fit into the Expedit book shelf. I brainstormed ideas on what I could do to turn them into decorative boxes, and decided to cover some in pretty scrapbook paper, and another in cut up paint chips arranged in a mosaic pattern, using Modge Podge. I spent nearly $20 on the craft supplies, which sort of negated my desire to save money using leftover diaper boxes, but hey, at least they'd be custom made. I covered one box relatively successfully in the scrapbook paper. The second, I started covering in the chips, which immediately curled up in an unattractive fashion. So I flipped the box upside down, and weighed it down with a heavy pot. Once it dried, I picked it up, peeling off several of the chips. And, even though they were flattened now, it just didn't look *good*.
So I bought two storage cubes from Target for $12.
I have these visions of myself as a crafty mamma, one who can just whip up a really nice looking home decor project with little to no effort. But as time goes on, I'm realizing this is not my strength. I have creative ideas, but I'm not particularly skilled or artistic enough to pull them off. I'd say I have a good eye for design, but I'm not great at DIY. I think I'm just not patient enough. I start working on an idea, but then it takes too long, so I cut corners and it turns out poorly.
I've been reading a lot of crafty and Waldorf-mom blogs lately, and I think it's increasing my craft anxiety. I'd love to have quirky hand-knitted sweaters, homemade yogurt, and sweetly painted wood toys. But the truth is, I work 40 hours a week and it's so much easier to pick up T-shirts at Old Navy, Stonyfield from the grocery store and a rubber dinosaur at the one spot.

A Condo Owner's Guide to the Weekend

Summer weekends in Minnesota are often tied to the yard - there's yard work and gardening, and of course, grilling out. Kiddie pool parties, sitting on the deck with a glass of wine, maybe a late night bonfire.
Well, as condo owners, we have no yard (we do have a small deck, which we can do a few, but not all, of these things). So what do we do when the weather beckons us outside, but we have no outside space of our own?
We go to the park. Our town has 15 parks, and three are within walking distance of our house. They all have playgrounds, for our son to climb, and picnic areas, so we can have dinner. We've even dragged our mini Weber to the park and "grilled out" there. Basically, we adopt the local park as our backyard in the summer. It's a little bit more of a hassle, and I'd love to be able to just head outside for a half hour here and there when it's hot, instead of trekking all the way to the park, but we make do. We're very lucky to live in a city with lots of outdoor space, which helps ease the annoyance over our lack of a yard.
And as an aside, I just adore going to the park. It's awesome having a kid now, because there's an excuse to go climb the playground equipment, go down the slides and swing in the swings. Before having Sebastian, I hadn't really been to the park since I was a teenager. It's fun to be a kid again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stay or Go?

I thought this item in our local paper was interesting:
It features two families that are underwater on their mortgages. One has chosen to walk on their home, the other is staying. The article states that the market here peaked in June of 2006. To give you an idea about our situation, we bought in April of 2006. In other words, we basically paid as much as was humanly possible on our condo.
We have no intentions of walking away from our house, but sometimes, I'm not going to lie, I think about it. Because let's face it, we're stuck with this thing forever. I looked up similar condos in my town, and estimate that we're now $65,000 underwater. Financially, it's stupid to stay. Ethically, it's wrong to go.
The comments are even more fascinating than the article. The family who walked is getting totally villified, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Does it make sense for them to keep paying on something that's depreciated $100,000? They're taking the credit hit, and the bank gets the house, just like the mortgage contract says. But, there is something that feels icky about it.
When it comes down to it, I'm kind of too lazy to consider this idea. Repairing my credit would take work, trying to figure out how to rent a house while walking away from the condo seems hard, and my payment is low enough that it just seems like it'd be more trouble than it was worth. We pay about $90 more a month than we'd pay to rent a comparable 2 bedroom (and then $165 in HOA fees).
So yeah, we're staying. But these articles still make me sad. It's a sucky situation to be in, and I feel for everyone involved.

The Road Not Taken

While I was cleaning out some old files the other day, I found the listing for one of the homes we saw in 2006 when we were looking. It was a townhouse in the city, extremely near where I lived on my own when I was in college (so close, in fact, that in talking to the realtor, I found out that she had actually sold my college house a few months earlier). We made an appointment to go see it, and found out that the realtor was actually having an open that day. It was really hard not to gush around her - we absolutely loved it. I'm sure she thought we were about to reach into our pocketbook and write a check that day. I remember it so well. It was a rust color on the outside, with dark brown shutters. There was a front door, and a backdoor (which backed up to a small yard with flowers planted alongside the house). It was in a small, four unit association, and the fees were only $50 per month. You walked inside, and came to a huge living room, painted a really pale blue, with light wood laminate floors. In front of you there was a small kitchen, but it was open to the living and dining room; it had white painted cabinets, brushed nickel hardware.
The ceilings felt really tall, and there was a staircase up to the top floor that felt really open. There was an Ikea light fixture on the ceiling as you went up the stairs. On the second level there was a big bedroom, a bathroom and a second bedroom staged as a kids room with a charming little nook/crawl space.
I wanted to live there. I wanted that house.
But, we didn't buy that house. The image above is why. It was such a wonderful little home, and everything about it felt so right, except one huge drawback. It was directly across the street from a railroad track. The listing touted "watch the exciting Amtrack go by twice a day!" Hah. The realtor kept telling us the noise was no big deal, but I remembered from my little college apartment, about four blocks away, listening to the trains go by late at night when I had my window open. And then there was the matter of having small children so close to the train as well (although given my son's fascination with trains, maybe it would have been a good thing!)
We tried our best to incorporate a lot of what we liked about that townhouse into the one we did buy, but there was just an indefinable quality about it that made it so open and homey, that I still feel like our condo lacks.
I still think about that place sometimes. And wonder.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Slowing Down

This weekend was a whirlwind of house projects. Matt installed a new faucet in our bathroom, as the old one started spraying a dripping. It's something I've wanted to do since we moved in, since the faucet has always been ugly and 80s. So that project unfolded with lots of soaked towels, piles of unused lotions and potions on the bathroom floor, and tools and caulk taking up residence on the vanity.
Instead of just focusing on that and getting it done, we also decided to spend Sunday morning at Ikea, and buy a blackout shade for Sebastian's room, and the gray rug I mentioned in my last post. And we also sold our old yellow couch on Craigslist, and delivered it to the buyer. There was a lot going on.
I still need to set up the playroom, since now it just looks like a weird mishmash of furniture instead of a neatly defined room. But last night, as tools were everywhere, and rooms were a mess, and I could feel my blood pressure rising since it seemed like it would be FOREVER before we could get things back to normal, I just had to take a timeout. Slow down. Pack a makeshift picnic, throw it in the stroller basket, and head down to the park. Where the cool breeze whipped around my hair and I squinted into the sunshine, watching a tiny little boy reach for his daddy's hand and scramble up the stairs of the slide. Then the two of them came twirling down with big grins on their faces, and I was able to leave the mess at home, not worry about "accomplishing" things, and just take in the moment.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


For me, one of the best things about my move from California to the Midwest was the chance to experience seasons. As a California girl, I'd only ever seen two "seasons": cold and hot. Now that I live in a place with seasons, there's such a rhythm to the year. There's the slow, languid, humid summers, the crisp, cuddly autumns, the batten-down-the-hatchet and stay indoors extreme winters, and the sigh of relief, slushy, sunny springs. And there's that inbetween time, like right now. It's hot as hell, but you can tell summer is winding down. My teacher friends and husband are preparing for the next year, weekends are crammed with last minute BBQs and swim parties, and the farmer's market's offerings have come to a full crescendo. It's obvious that we're coming to summer's end, and soon, we'll be breaking out the sweaters, picking apples and crunching in the fallen leaves. Fall is absolutely my favorite season: as a nerdy kid it always meant fresh notebooks, new clothes and the start of a year full of possibilities. Now it means chili bubbling away on the stove and long walks through the nature center to take photos of the brilliant orange and red leaves. (Even though I've lived here over 15 years, I still marvel at the fall colors every year).
When my husband and I were condo/townhome shopping in 2006, each of the three homes I liked evoked different seasonal images for me: there was a city condo with a big communal deck that I could imagine sipping mojitos on and barbecuing in the height of summer; there was an airy townhome that I could imagine a chilly spring breeze rustling crisp white curtains as we cleaned and danced to music on a Saturday morning. And then there was the condo we bought, where the image that came to mind was a fire in the fireplace, reds and golds outside my window, and friends gathered to snuggle under blankets and watch a football game.
This year I can't wait to host an autumn brunch, like we did last year; to buy Sebastian a silly Halloween costume he'll probably hate us for when he's older, and take him around with his other little buddies; to trade splash parks for apple picking; and to wrap my hands around a cup of tea and get lost in a good book.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Playroom Plans

One of the first things that attracted me to our condo was its many areas in which to eat. We have an eat-in kitchen, a breakfast bar and a formal dining room. We eat in the kitchen every night for dinner, and if I am eating alone, or surfing the web or doing some work on the laptop and need a change of scenery, I use the bar. The dining room used to get quite a bit of use when we entertained more. We used to do pretty frequent dinner parties, game nights, brunches and of course, our bi-weekly dinner with our friends. But now that we all have little ones, dinners often happen in the kitchen (where there's easy to clean wood laminate instead of carpet), and our entertaining has gone from a frequent occurance to a couple times a year event.
While I still really love the way our dining room looks, it's not getting much use these days. Since condo living means that every square inch of space should be used to its maximum potential, we need to make this room into something that we'll actually use. The plan? Turning a formal dining room into a cozy reading nook for me, and play room for my son... all on a tight budget.
We're going to use some things we already have, like my beloved blue chair (top left). Sadly, the chair doesn't look anywhere near this nice anymore (there are two big rips in the vinyl). I'm planning to recover it, first trying a pre-made Ikea Karlstad cover, since the shape is nearly identical. If that doesn't work, I'll be employing my mother-in-law to see if we can cook something up (she's much better with a sewing machine than I). My husband and I also have grand plans for turning a honey oak coffee table that's currently in our storage room into a train table for our son. It's a great, square shape and low enough to the ground that it'd be great for his trains. Plus, it has a drawer where we could store extra tracks. Some painted landscape and a cute train drawer pull would hopefully be enough to make it work. Currently, our Ikea Expedit bookcase is serving as a china hutch and liquor cabinet. Not exactly kid friendly. I'm thinking of swapping some of the cubes out to store books and toys instead.
We'll cozy up the space using cheap accessories, like this $19.99 rug I fell in love with from the new Ikea catalog.
Hopefully it'll work. It's sort of a long range plan - I hope to be snuggling up in the chair with a book come fall, and maybe Sebastian will get his train table for Christmas. Anyway, I see an Ikea trip in our future... and maybe one last dinner party.

Hot Pink Vegetables!

The farmer's market is a great place to get color inspiration, especially this time of year when everything is blooming in season. There's flowers, shiny purple eggplant, bright red peppers, deep green zucchini. And this crazy Swiss chard I picked up for $1.

I cut the ribs up, braised them in cream and added them to pasta, sauteed the leaves, stirred those in, and added a few slices of crumbled bacon for smokiness (but that could easily be left out to make it vegetarian).

Yum! And so colorful.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bedroom Mini-Makeover

When you like bold color like we do, it's a good thing to really, really think it through before slapping that color on the wall. Because while paint is an easy, inexpensive way to completely transform a room, painting something bright is a bit more time consuming. We primed and did three coats of red in our kitchen, and there are still areas I think could stand a fourth coat. For our bedroom, a deep orange called "pumpkin spice" by Pratt and Lambertt, we didn't have to prime, but we did need three thick coats.

So when I started to desire a lighter, airier look to our bedroom, repainting was not an option. Especially not with a mobile little one. I needed to make the orange work. Which is why I redecorated using linens and accessories to brighten the space.

Here's the before:
Master bedroom before

We had fully embraced color in this room, and played off the wrought iron Ikea bed by creating a Moroccan theme. It was fun for awhile, but it started to feel too heavy, dark and, well, theme-y.

Wow that's a lot of accessories! Picture frame, three candle holders, two ring boxes, a fancy-pants Chinese takeout box and a Japanese fan. Culture clash!
So we pared down the color scheme from the deep jewel tones of red, gold, purple and of course, orange, to a simpler scheme of orange, cream, slate blue a little brown, as I talked about a few posts ago.

I got new bedding for my birthday; it's from Target's Dwell Studio line, and it was just the thing I think the room needed. Not only did it add sophistication, but it's WAY brighter in here now.

Master bedroom after

We replaced the previous bedside tables, which were old, dark wood end tables, with new, birch tables (also end tables. Hey, they weren't being used in our living room anymore, so why not?) Then we pared way down on accessories (because not only did it make our bedroom too cluttered, but they were also just things to be thrown around and broken by our son). What accessories we did choose, we bought in colors that went with the new bedspread.

Ahh, much better
After our son was born, we moved our office into a corner in the master. It's not ideal, but we have a really large bedroom, so it made sense. There I added a couple of desk accessories to brighten the space: a pretty mug from Pier One and a cream paper tray from Target. These help keep the desk clear and organized. I also took a magazine file I had sitting around from Ikea and placed our modem inside. I was inspired by this post.

It solves a lot of issues, since I not only hated the cord mess, but the little blinky led lights kept me up at night!

There are still a few more places that need some brightening - we have heavy blackout curtains and a window seat covered in a wide-wale corduroy. I also want to get new artwork for over the bed, since what's there right now seems too small in scale and is pretty dark. But it's already made a huge difference! It's a much calmer, more serene space. And aside from the new bedding, it was maybe $20 in new accessories. And far less hassle than repainting.