Do it All

The weekend goal was to finish demo. That means getting the beam up, kitchen wall down and a dump run to take all the debris out of our house. Of course, construction never goes quite to plan, so we are flexible with adjusting those expectations. Especially when it means balancing good quality sleep and breakfasts.

Saturday morning promised sunshine so we ate croissants and headed to the beach to hunt sea glass and agates. The sun was perfect for agate hunting and we came home with a handful! Awesome start to the day! Then it was time to change into construction clothes and get to work.

Matt made more progress on the demo, but it was slower than we both had hoped. By Sunday afternoon it was clear that we had some questions and needed to pause again. We called in our go-to resource, Shane, and he came over to take a second look. Our plan for installing the beam was good, but not quite as good as his years of experience. Thank goodness we called! We needed a different bracket and a different type of screw…and he recommended some additional bolts for the attic rafters. With inexperienced blank stares looking back at him he offered to show us exactly what we needed at the store. Can you say lifesaver? We trucked into town, and $60 later we were ready to tackle the beam.

While Matt went back to the project I picked up some more hobby work. Posted two new mobiles to Etsy and shared them on Instagram. I also made a neat connection to work as a day-of wedding coordinator for an island wedding this summer! I am so excited to help this bride out and use some of my creative wedding and planning energy in a local way! And I finished our taxes. Horray for finding money to finance our DIY remodel. As I was happily working away in our freezing cold house (the ceiling is open to the attic so all the heat just leaves), Matt discovered that the bolts were too burly for our drill so that meant another pause until we could borrow on Monday. Thank goodness for generous neighbors with tools! So we called it for the day.

Monday morning I had a work meeting on the island and worked from home the rest of the day. Flexible schedules are amazing. I worked away at the dining room table while Matt worked on the beam through the soon-to-be-gone kitchen wall. At 4:30 we were ready to hang it! It only took 3 tries to get the post heights just right and then it was set in. Screw in some brackets and it is in! Woohoo!

Today I am writing from a coffee shop before an all-day work workshop. I am excited to see the wall down when I get home! This will be the hardest week to live in the remodel (well…maybe cabinet painting will trump it…) because we will not be able to really cook. Our stove will be in the middle of the dust zone so it covered with plastic and cardboard. Not available for use. We will get by with the toaster oven and oven but we are a no-microwave household so tea and hot water are not really an option. Guess we will be reheating things and eating out!

Project summary:

  1. Remove french doors and fill in new guest room wall
  2. Widen entry to living room to add french doors and transom
  3. Open wall between new dining room and living room
  4. Remove old guest room closet
  5. Add supporting beam in kitchen
  6. Remove wall between kitchen and new dining room
  7. Drywall to close up all construction areas
  8. Repair/add and refinish hardwood floors
  9. Add additional kitchen cabinets and counter tops
  10. Paint all cabinets white
  11. Paint walls and ceiling
  12. Build built-in bookcases and new fireplace mantel in living room
  13. Move existing gas stove to new fireplace area
  14. Finish all baseboard and casing trim
  15. Move on to the basement!

All We Did (and a recipe)

After a week back in the office (hello water taxi/bus commute!) I envisioned a weekend of progress on our remodel. Finish the closet drywall, take down the plastic and start priming and painting walls. Right?

Ha. We spent the weekend in glorious slow mode. Sleeping in. Drinking coffee and taking long walks to the beach. We went to two beaches on Saturday and one on Sunday (can you tell we love living on an island?). Spent 3+ hours walking, listening to the waves, picking up agates, sea glass and driftwood. It was magical. We brought home bags of glass. All perfectly frosted and in a beautiful array of colors.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning and sorting glass, cleaning and drying driftwood, and cooking. And sitting in the hot tub. Bending/squatting down on the beach for hours does wear out your back and legs. We made our favorite soup with fresh made chicken stock, and ate in front of episodes of Parenthood and It’s Always Sunny.

The renovations did not get touched. We continued to navigate around the plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling. I did not make any mobiles. Progress on those projects will get tackled this week while we feast on delicious leftovers.

Kale, Sausage, Bean Soup

Our favorite go-to, especially with fresh kale from the garden. Awesome with a hot baguette.

  • 1 package sausage, out of casings (we like spicy Italian)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 32 oz can tomatoes (diced, or if whole, cut into pieces with juice saved)
  • 16 oz chicken stock
  • 16 oz water
  • 2 bunches fresh kale, destemmed and ripped into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 2 cans garbanzo or white beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oregano
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley
  • Parmesan rinds (optional but totally amazing if you have them)

Cook sausage out of casings until golden, remove and set aside. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook until tender. Add tomatoes and juice, stock, parmesan rinds, oregano, parsley and kale. Simmer until kale is wilted. Add beans, sausage, basil and extra water and simmer until kale is tender.

Enjoy topped with grated Romano cheese and hot pepper flakes.



Lake Retreat

Sunday was hot. We rode our bikes to the Vashon strawberry festival, watched a parade in the shade, then biked home to enjoy rootbeer floats in the back yard. Followed by a hike to the beach at the old gravel mine park. More hot and sunny but much needed not-working-on-the-house time.

Sunday was even hotter. Couch couch for breakfast but it was too hot even to drink coffee. I was watering the garden and we were brainstorming indoor projects when it hit me: we should go to the lake! Matt’s parent’s lake property is a 15 minute ferry ride + 15 mile drive west of us. The thought of cool water and shade and jumping off the diving board sounded so good we dropped everything in favor of fun.

I texted Rebecca and she showed up with her son, Eli. Snacks packed, sunscreen and towels in the car, and we were out the door and in line for the next ferry. (I somehow managed to also throw together a cooked ice cream base and get it chilling so we could have fresh ice cream post-swimming!)IMG_5558[1]

Across the water and through the Kitsap Peninsula and we were at Tiger Lake! An afternoon of swimming and sunning was just what we needed.

Homemade ice cream before bed was not too shabby either.


Stitch Fix Slump: Box #5

I am on to box #5…I think? That is how thrilled with Stitch Fix I am right now. It is kinda “meh” after two not-so-great fixes. I still have a small amount of credit left so I am hanging on to hopefully see at least one new thing I love, but it was not in this box.

Now, I say kinda “meh” but it is still fun. I like trying things on, the surprise of seeing what someone picked for me, and seeing things that I would not have picked up myself. Add a glass of wine and it is a pretty fun evening. I apologize for the lackluster photos. It is really cold in our house and Matt was busy drywalling (he is usually my photographer) and it was dark already so not ideal for photos. iphone images will have to do. And it was after a long day at work, sans makeup.

Bonus? I started working out again and have slimmed down a little bit! Clothes are fun to try on again!

So what was in this fix?

PIXLEY Martina Slub Knit Open Cardigan — $54.

It was good fabric…super soft and cozy, just a little too basic for the price.


KUT FROM THE KLOTH Denna Skinny Jean — $78.00

These actually fit better than I expected, but they were slightly baggy around the knee and the whiskering went too low down on the leg. Just not quite right.


LOVEAPPELLA Calisa Twist-Front Maxi Dress — $44.00

Slightly too big on top, but fit bottom well. The fabric was a beautiful color! However, I was not a fan of the twist front since the stitching seemed to always show. Good length though!


41HAWTHORN Toullouse Collared Wrap Dress — $68.00

This one was so close! Great fit, great length, good fabric and color…but my husband said the stitching make me look like I had an extra set of boobs. Had to send back.image2fix

SKIES ARE BLUE Tory Textured Button Front Shirt — $48.00

I loved the fabric but the extra seam down the arms was not professional or “me” enough to earn a place in my closet.image1fix

So yea, back to the drawing board for my next fix in February. Fingers crossed I find something. Otherwise I am burning through my credit and sticking to shopping on Zappos.

Curious about my other fixes? Click here for #1, #2, #3, and #4!

Want to give Stitch Fix a try?  If you do, please use my referral link  🙂


Back for a summertime fix!

Since this is my 4th box, and there is not really anything I feel I need in my closet right now, it was really just for fun. I also had some remaining referral credit (thanks ladies!) to use so I figured, why not get another box?

When I opened this one initially a few pieces really caught my attention…for both good and bad. There was a dress in a soft teal pattern and I was really excited to try it on. And a BRIGHT magenta shirt that I knew was out from the first second. So I went into my mini fashion show with mixed feelings (and a ton of BBQ party prep-to-dos on my mind!) and ultimately found one winner in the bunch. Ready for the rundown?!

I liked this but the color aIMG_9780fixnd style, but was not a fan of the exposed edge seam stitching. Not quite polished enough. It was super soft and cozy though and only $28 so to avoid losing the $20 style fee I used $8 of my credit to keep it. It will make a good casual weekend top.


I liked the color and the idea of this dress, but it was just too short and not flattering enough for mybottom half. I felt like it chopped me in half.





I really wanted to like this dress. I love the color and style. Ultimately I sent it back since it did not feel like it would stand up to much use. The material was pretty thin and light and pill prone. Not what I am looking for when I invest in my wardrobe.IMG_9803fix





I do not like these huge swingy tops. If I was pregnant…maybe, but I am not so away it goes. The shoulders were cut well and I liked the idea, but this was not IMG_9788fixsomething I would wear. Nice material though! This felt like a quality piece.





Really did not like this one at all. It felt poorly made and was a really bad color for me. Just a bad fit all around. No thank you.





So only one piece worked in this fix. And honestly without the referral credit I would have probably sent them all back. Still, it was fun and I got a new top that I have been wearing all day. It is really cozy and will turn into a new go-to hangout top. Woohoo!


Want to give Stitch Fix a try?  If you do, please use my referral link 🙂

Stitch Fix Review: Box #3

After a spot on perfect fix last time I waited for the third with giddy anticipation. What would be in this fix? Would it be great too? I had requested the same stylist to do this one and was eager to see what she would find for me.

I opened the box and was immediately impressed with most of the pieces…good fabrics, good neutral colors and a pretty decent assortment, but they were not quite as inspiring as the previous fix. Turns out my Fix #2 stylist is no longer there (so sad!) so a new gal was trying out my look. Honestly it was still pretty good but I only kept one piece.


Here is the rundown:

Cynthia Graphic Print Mixed Materials Tank (Collective Concepts)

This top was ok. It actually really liked the fit and the fabric but could not get over the high neckline. Not my style, and especially for the price, it went back.


Juliano Twisted Shoulder Cowl Neck Top (Tart) pictured with jeans from Fix #2!

This top I actually really liked: fabric was good, color was good, but it was too pricy for what it was. It also went back but inspired me to look for something similar next time I shop.

Nanette Striped Lurex Detail Jacket (41 Hawthorn)

Now this jacket was a total fail. Honestly this one was out of left field. It was SO BAD! Cut horribly, granny fabric and really did not fit at all. Do I even need to say I did not keep this? Better luck next time.


June Polka Dot Skirt (Pomelo)

This was the gem in the fix: who doesn’t love a navy and white polka dot pencil skirt!? Although it was a little snugger than I usually wear, I am in post-grad school slim down mode and figured it was a good motivation piece. Also it was the cheapest piece in the fix AND actually fit my waist (skirts never seem to) so I kept it. Looking forward to wearing it this summer!


Celia Printed Maxi Dress (Tart)

Finally, the maxi dress. I LOVE maxis…especially ones made with a slinky, no-wrinkle hardy fabric. This dress was pretty, but not totally perfect. It was also expensive…so it went back.


All in all, this was still a good fix. After such a KILLER box #2 it was a tad disappointing, but I am excited to get the next one in the mail! Have you tried Stich Fix yet? I recommend it! Give it a try with my referral code below. And stay tuned for another review of Fix #4 later this summer.

Want to give Stitch Fix a try? I highly recommend it! If you do, please use my referral link 🙂


I have wanted a clutch handbag for a while now. I have been working on amping up my wardrobe and so accessories are a fun and easy way to add a bit of pop. I set my sights on a brown clutch from J. Crew and it started a search for the perfect (and somewhat affordable) clutch.

As much as I surfed the web I could not find many that were simple and classic enough for my tastes. So I came back to J. Crew. While looking up my favorite brown one, I stumbled upon a classic black with a really cool hinge. Humm…now I was debating colors. Then I went to eBay. OH MAN! The CHOICES! I emailed my sister in law for advice on color. I wanted them all! So unnecessary from so many angles (but I was excited and they were all so much fun!)

I was pretty much settled on a black basic one and one that would be a color or fun option. I bid on a bright orange clutch on eBay and WON it! So the orange one was taken care of. Isn’t it fun?!

The black clutch from J. Crew was not on sale online, but I decided to check the store. Low and behold! It was 40% off in the store and I got my 15% student discount! Less than $30!

Leather clutch

Well…that led to another clutch that was an unplanned give-in moment…but it was only $22 after the discounts!

And yes, I got the brown one that kicked it all off. So yea, I am set. I figure I could always sell them or regift at some point…and TOGETHER they were all less than just the two I originally picked.

Stationery clutch

So much for self control. It’s my graduation gift.