The Calm Before The Storm.

This is a DIY blog, and for five years to the date almost (YAY!), we haven’t gotten too deep and personal about much and have kept it DIY and home design related. That doesn’t mean we have had it easy breezy 24/7, it just means for two folks who pour their home improvement hearts out, we keep everything else pretty close to the vest.

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Moving to Nashville was a HUGE life decision that took a lot of weird exercise to get to. Almost three years ago we were packing up and ready to move to Los Angeles for all the wrong reasons, and then two years ago Richmond, VA was where we were house hunting pretty seriously. Making a decision was debilitating, so I put it all on Joey and he picked Nashville and I am so happy he did. We love our new home.

We have been here six months now, and a lot is happening. The DIY projects are being curated and scheduled. We actually set up a pop up shop for Rich Hippies at Old Made Good in East Nashville, and open our first full store front in East Nashville on November 1st. We will have our home goods line, children’s line and a host of brands we use and love at the shop. Interior styling and decor services will be available via the store as well. This + a new home + our really big news in the works with only 10 hours of reliable daycare each week makes for an interesting schedule.

With that being said (after the big ol’ break we took to get things lined up), we are ready to spill the beans.

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We bought another house. Across the street.

This house needs a lot of love. It’s currently a duplex and our plan (as of now) is to turn it into an Airbnb. We are very, very excited. After blogging for five years and turning into a full-time career, we decided that opening up a storefront and keeping renovations and DIY projects alive was what’s int he cards for us. It truly makes us happy. We have never gotten too deep personally, like I started off mention with this post, but we are just so grateful for you guys who follow along and keep us dreaming and scheming of new projects and new ways to do things. Cheers to figuring more stuff out and sharing it with you.

 

It ‘Rox

So, this happened.

It’s not anything new around here, and it’s not worth crying over – but it is worth a deep cleaning over. If you know me personally, you have an idea that I carry around a travel size of disinfectant spray. I have a variety of hand sanitizer that would put Baskin Robin’s selection to shame, and if there is a widespread virus that suddenly pops up, you better believe I have shoe covers and medical grade face masks for you to wear if you stop over to say “Hi”. I wasn’t so bad before we had Atlas, and I don’t think I am that “bad” now. I like to think of it as prepared. I only whipped out the blue shoe booties once, and it was for the pesticide guy who had just walked around our muddy house. He gave me a look, but hey, I got a toddler running around this house. And a wool rug I really like.

It’s not easy keeping things clean, especially when you work from home (and your husband works from home), and your toddler is in the height of exploring everything. We have have to stick to a pretty strict nightly routine to keep things acceptable around here, and hopefully our routine could be of some use to the parents out there.

Bathe the baby, then the toys. A simple solution you can do nightly/weekly/bi-weekly to keep toys (and other items that can get wet) is to make a bath for toys. It takes about five minutes for the soak, and two seconds to set up. This soy milk incident is a perfect example of a toy bath night.

Clean Toy Committee Recipe

1/2 cup Clorox Bleach of water per gallon
Let sit for five minutes
Drain and air dry

I got the recipe straight off the Clorox website, they have a few more solutions and tips, like what to do if your little catches a cold, etc. The reason I mention Clorox is because Regular-Bleach disinfects 33% more than store brands. Win.

Another thing we just got into is making our own cleaners. I found some glass bottles tinted amber and one of them I fill up at the beginning of the day 1/2 way (it’s a 16 ox bottle, but I only fill it up 8 oz with warm water) and then I add 4 tablespoons of bleach and a teaspoon of laundry detergent. It only lasts a day, but round here we go through cleaner super quickly. And if you aren’t comfortable DIYing cleaning solutions, Clorox makes one you don’t need to replenish daily.

We are finally hiring a cleaning person (crew?) to help out around here because “doing it all” all the time is leaving us a little sleepless. So Clorox toy baths and a for-hire weekly clean is my secret weapon, what’s yours?

All thoughts, opinions and stories represented in this post are my own.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Clorox. All thoughts, opinions and stories represented in this post are my own.

Kitchen Addition

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Rubbermaid, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #RMDishRack ”

We finally got to showing you our kitchen, and as soon as that post went live, our dishwasher stared getting fussy. Really fussy. It’s working, but who knows how well and for how long.  We hopped over to Target to get our hands on a Rubbermaid dish rack because we were not prepared for the hand-washing dishes party to start just quite yet. Also, we just won a really amazing mug that needs special care.

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dishrack

 

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It fit nicely next to our sink, above the dishwasher and wasn’t an eye sore at all. It actually matches our kitchen, which is bonus. So bonus. I decided to do a little “dishwashing inventory” as I allowed my tougher dishes and pots battle with our unruly dishwasher, I carefully cared for my more precious pieces and washed them by hand and lovingly drained them on a proper rack instead of just plopping them on a dish-towel  or baby bottle grass-y drain like we had been doing before.

I had recently won a pretty amazing pour over and mug and have been staring at it’s amazingness and treating it like a puppy that could suffer from broken bones if the wind blew too hard. It’s my mug. It holds my coffee (aka “mommy milk”), and it’s painfully cute. I don’t want it to get ruined. It’s the object below with the eyes on it. You think it’s cool too. I know you do.

dishes

Anyway, I thought I would only use the rack for my precious mug until we got a fix on the dishwasher, but in my little experiment I learned I have a lot more kitchenware  that needed extra love than I thought. The bunny bento for Atlas which is made of steal and would be so sad if his face rubbed off, so we wash it by hand. My cutting boards, hand carved ladles, raw porcelain measuring spoons, pottery from the Smoky Mountains, and baby food maker all are pieces I care about and treat like little treasures.

If you have cartwheel, you can grab 15% off your own off Rubbermaid Deluxe Drainer and keep your fussy precious pieces safe.

Do you love your dishwasher (we just started the research)? Do you dishrack it too? Clue us into what’s been working for you over in your kitchen.

House Hunted

I am dying to dump my DIY plans and design dreams of our new home into the internet right now, but I know I have some explainin’ to do and catching up of things need to be had.

Back when Joey and I met in Manhattan about nine years ago, I had already actually moved back to my home town (Boca Raton, FL) with my fiancé and best friend to live a beachy and more relaxing kind of life. The plan was to do interior design for high end homes after working under my dad a while. After a small stretch of working with him, I realized we may not be able to maintain this kind of perfect thing we have going on, and I should quit because trying to explain why he needs email in this day and age was getting exhausting, and I love him too much. So I got another job, which brought me to New York on business, and this is how I met Joey. After just hours of knowing him, I knew I was in major trouble. I was mid-break up with my fiancé, and not loving my new job and Joey insisted I move back to New York, and in with him, and he would promptly be in Florida to pack me up and bring me back. And the crazy part was, I did. After only two weeks of knowing him, I moved right back up to New York and the rest is history.

I really wanted to see where this relationship would go, but I hated the idea of more winters and the constant buzz of the city, but in the line of work he does, it’s New York or Los Angeles, and I certainly wasn’t moving to LA. Basically, I was done with New York nine years ago, and we just now finally got around to moving. It took a while to find a spot what worked for us. Moving home seems to be the obvious thing to do, but Boca and Houston aren’t exactly on the top of the list for either of our industries, and though they lack snow, the heat is a bit much as well. We went back and forth between Richmond, VA and Nashville, TN about a hundred times after some pleasant vacations and enough possible work for both of us was evident. Literally. We took so many trips to each over the last year, they were both started to feel like our new home.

When we put our house on the market, we certainly didn’t expect to sell it in four days. In the middle of the holidays. We had to rush to pick and place, and I finally just told Joey, “It’s your call“. Joey picked Nashville, and that worked for me. Us and timing, it’s a thing, I swear. We seemed to have picked a time in the history of Nashville, that everyone is buying. Inventory is low. Prices are high. Every house has a major problem, and they aren’t that much cheaper than Westchester County, NY. We bid $50K over asking on a cabin we were sure we were going to call home a few weeks before closing on our New York house, and it wasn’t until we actually moved to Nashville, that we found out we did not get the house. WHAT?! Yep, that crazy of a market.

So, Joey, Atlas, Rocket VonScience, Porkchop VanderSandwich myself, and one surviving house plant had been doing the AirBNB hop for three weeks while we hunt for a house full time. We happen to have the most amazing husband/wife realtors who have been so kind and flexible with us. After losing the cabin (on an acre! ah!), we proceeded to be “too little too late” on a handful of other properties. While mid-contract on a pretty large house (with a theatre, studio for Joey, three large bedrooms on one floor, big new kitchen), our realtors sent us a cute little cottage next to the park, in a very family friendly area. The house looked super cute. It was pretty small, but had a good vibe to it. It was 10 pm when this house got listed, and Joey went to drive past it. We have learned the game. First one in with a big bid gets the house. Inspect and get quotes later. 

When he came back after peeking at the house, I knew this is the one we were going to call home. The next morning at 10am, we went to view it (along with a million other people), and thew in an offer $50K over asking, and crossed our fingers again. This time, the offer was accepted. We are currently trying to figure out how to put 6,000 sqft of stuff into a 2,000 sqft house! We LOVE this little cottage, and plan to expand and truly make it ours. We can’t wait to share! Thanks for hanging out and checking in along the way. We love you guys.

 

It’s been a pain in the Nash!

Hello friends! You have no idea how much I have avoided hopping on the blog and ranting and raving about how much moving just plain sucks, and then what a pain it’s been to find a house in Nashville. Hopping around with a baby and two dogs is less than fun. Like, maybe labor was a little easier (and certainly less time consuming) than this. I am going to spare you the details and drama of the last month, and do something better for you. I am going to collect all the really great info we now have about the housing market in Nashville, and work out some tips for you. Seems Nashville is the place to be and people are fighting to get in. Houses sell in hours. It’s pure chaos, but for good reason. Nashville is AMAZING, and so are it’s people. We are giddy to be here.

We finally have an accepted offer on a house, and one of four inspections are complete. Hopefully by the end of the week we can confirm our closing date, and take a nice long vacation to Houston. If you follow us on instagram, you have a pretty good idea what’a happening moment to moment, because I am too giddy with excitement. Here are a  few peeks on what looks like what will be our new home. Fingers crossed!

east nashville home

Six, I mean seven trips with an infant pt. 2

We took an “emergency” trip to Nashville on Sunday, completely unplanned. The tudor we were thinking about, and getting quotes on sold within twelve hours of our realtor giving us the information about what the contractors said. Remember I said Nashville was a crazy real estate circus? So, we drove on Sunday to show up Monday for an equally awesome open house.

Then the open house was canceled. The tenants renting the house got sick. I can not explain the level of disappointment happening when we heard. We knocked on the door and basically begged to get in. After driving for sixteen hours and pushing Atlas over the edge for the first time, we needed to at least see this house if we were going to make an offer. They caved, and we awkwardly snooped about while their dogs followed us and they were in bed, in their robes, watching TV.

AtlasCarseat

This is Atlas saying, “Mama, please give me a break!”. We got blessed with the kind of kid you can throw any situation at, and he’s a champion. I mean, he sleeps well, eats well, laughs all day – I can go on and on, but then I would simply feel like I am bragging. We know how lucky we are, and we say it every single day. “Thank you for being amazing Atlas, we love you”, and so on. So, we knew we really ticked him off when he cried for an hour straight when we got to the rental and it was bed time. We have been using AirBNB for all our house hunting overnighting because the washer/dryer and sanitization system we use for his bottles requires a microwave, and also renting a whole house. So happy we did, because that hour of cry was serious and hotel walls are thin. He had never been upset for that long, he got me crying because I could see how tired he was of all the back and forth and new places and new people. Nothing is worse than a sad baby. We exhausted him.

So after we saw the house, we didn’t even have time to talk about it or get an inspector in there yet, we just ran to the realtors office to make an offer, above asking. We want to lock this one in. We were exhausted, bebe was exhausted, and we have  a little less than two weeks before we move. Say it with me “STRESS!”.

We got back to New York yesterday and are still waiting to see if they accepted our offer.  The house is such a gem. We absolutely love it and it hits all of our requirements. Even two separate work spaces for Joey and myself. And a pool. And land. And so much more wonderfulness. It also has a ton of projects that make us so excited. It’s like someone took my brain and built this house and then gave my brain back and had me find this house and is now torturing us while we wait to find out if we can “keep it”.

Joeyatlasbarista

We were only in Nashville for about 24 hours and ate at the amazing Mas Taco’s and got our caffein fix at Barista Parlor and we were off again to get home and pack.

Tonight I am whipping out the worry dolls to do their magic. Life just feels so close to what we want it to be. One more step.

 

Six trips in eight months with an infant pt. 1

When you have a child, everyone warns you how much your life is going to change. And it does. Not in the ways they explain it per say, but in ways you couldn’t have planned for or dreamed up. Basically, the day Atlas turned twelve weeks old, we planned a road trip down to Houston for a sip n’ see my mother-in-law wanted to host for us. We thought it was smart to get him use to travel as soon as we can, so we did what we figured would be the most complicated thing, a 3,200 mile road trip with stops in a town we were thinking about moving to each way. As a chronic, obsessive, planner – I got to learn to laugh at myself that trip. When you have a baby this small and so in need of you – you stop basically every hour. Every moment you think he didn’t breathe right, it’s an emergency pull over. It’s backseat diaper changes (we didn’t figure out the trunk until about three months later!), and caving in to weird hotels in towns that smell like dogfood (what’s up Byran, Mississippi?) for the betterment of the little one. Needless to say, we weren’t subscribing to the my-life-needs-to-change-because-I-had-a-baby rants. We are travel people, and it’s going to stay that way.

i believe in nashville

Houston was great, but we quickly learned to double our estimated travel time when the bebe was with us. We later drove to Richmond, VA twice, Nashville, TN (the place we stopped both to and from Houston), and St. Louis knowing what we were in for, and gladly accepting. Atlas even went on a plane to Florida with out a single moment of crying during take off or landing in both directions. We credit the crazy long road trips as good practice for a few hour flight. I on the other hand just about had a panic attack figuring out the stroller situation for the first time.

We had planned our holiday last year after being super preggo and working super hard at hosting Christmas at our house. I figure I was due a nice and relaxing no-fuss situation with my boys. Surprise to us, we sold our house very quickly, and needed to make a decision about where to move next. It’s been a discussion for years at this point: Richmond vs. Nashville. I finally told Joey to pick because we have been walking circles so lone, and he picked Nashville, naturally.

house hunting

Our Christmas designation was a cute cabin (by the name of Buck Naked, no joke) in the Great Smokies, and it was absolutely perfect. But we didn’t get there before some serious house hunting in Nashville, and my word, our heads are still spinning from that.

Nashville is in the middle of crazy development, and developers are going wild. Homes don’t even get on to Zillow before they sell. It’s crazy! We were viewing a house and two other appointments showed up. It’s pure chaos. The land hunt, quickly turned into a house hunt, so sans building right away for us. Right now we are in progress on a cute tudor we fell in love with, and if all goes well, we will have another renovation under our belts to deal with. We are SO excited to share what’s been going on during this seemingly quiet time.

One important thing, was to explore our new town. We fell in love with the 12 South area. Nashville is broken into teeny tiny areas connected by homes. Everyone seems to be gravitating towards East Nashville, which reminds us of Williamsburg, Brooklyn 5 or 6 years ago. Very cool restaurants popping up, and a hipper crowd is moving in. We liked it to hang out, but fell in love with the tudors around 12 South. I rounded my top five picks, trust there is A LOT more goodness. I am sure Joey would have put Burger Up and The Pharmacy in the mix.

the pharmacy nashville

Nashville Vegetarian Wins!

1. Sunflower Cafe

We were a little scared to go here because we thought it was a serve-your-self buffet, and being germ-nerds, we avoided it. I am glad I finally caved and went, because it’s totally clean and super cute! It wound up being my favorite place to eat. You pick an offering of how many items you want on your plate, and it’s all behind glass and served by the staff. There is plenty of seating and a ramp for strollers to easy in-and-out. I think it’s all vegan. Everything was fresh and flavorful. I see it being a go-to spot in my future.

2. Wild Cow

We didn’t get to stop here this trip because we were focusing on new finds, but this 100% vegetarian joint reminded me of a Brooklyn place, and that’s good in my book. They had really great fresh food, and it’s in a small strip where you can hang for a moment or get ice cream and Jeni.I am not a fan of ice ream, but I tried the peach and biscuit one, and oh-my-lawwwd. AMAZING/DANGEROUS!

3. Mas Tacos Por Favor

Once a taco truck, and now a counter-order restaurant, this place reminds me of a good Miami spot I would go before shows. The fried avocado taco is TO-DIE-FOR!.They serve it Monday – Thursday, and then do a fish Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There are other veggie options available, but that one was perfection. They make their own drinks, and the elote is solid. We went twice, and I have craved it 10X since being home.

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4. Taco Mamacita

Ask for the vegan menu, and you will be set up good. I love the vegan soup and taco with plantains in it. It’s on a cute strip, and has the best baby shop ever close by, Tweed.

5. Josephine

We happened upon this place when we showed up to Mafiaoza’s and they were closed. Josephine had just been open a week, and it was perfection. Total date night place, with really delicious vegetarian options. Get the Brussels sprouts, then email me and let’s talk about them for a week straight, because I am sure Joey is sick me me drooling over how good their food is.

nashville park

 

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Beyond the food, we found very cute shops, very kind people, very cool parks, and a lot of hard work ahead of us on the house hunting front. Also, the cafe culture in Nashville is pretty awesome. We fell in love with Barista Parlor, which, I swear, makes us feel like we are in Williamsburg again, in our 20′s. Just this time, with a baby, and a mortgage.

Barista Parlor

So, we left Nashville with a boatload more information, and a house we are thinking about putting an offer on, one an engineer addresses our concerns. It’s still mind blowing how quickly things can change, and plans can become fiction. We happened upon a husband-wife realtor team in a weak moment of peeking at a non-reno-neede open house. Talk about fate. These two have been so great with us, and are fun and adorable. I am so grateful we found them and how well they have been helping us with so very much. Atlas even loves them! Please email me if you need a realtor in the Nashville/Frankin area!

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This wraps part one of our two week trip, which was suppose to be a one week trip to the mountains. Planning has become no good for us! Happy New Year friends! Don’t plan too much, we learned it kills the magic of life! See ya next year!!

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