...because home doesn't happen overnight.
09.18.15 / Post #1,000!


I sat down to write a more technical post and happened to look at my WordPress dashboard (which I never do because I hate thinking about the blog in numbers). The published post count read 999. WTF?! That just doesn’t even seem possible. I mean, I know I’ve been at this for almost six years but 1,000 posts feels a little monumental. So I ditched the technical post (i.e., saved it for another time) and decided to write something more personal. I spontaneously jotted down the first ten things about myself that came to mind. Fair warning: they’re pretty random. (AND THERE ARE A LOT OF PARENTHESIS.) (And some curse words.)

1. Audio alerts drive me crazy. Beeping microwaves, dinging washers, buzzing dryers, ringing & pinging phones. It’s sensory overload. (TVs and movie theaters always seem extremely loud to me, too.) I set everything to silent mode if it has the option.

2. I love tennis. Like, LOVE IT. I played two decades ago in high school and picked it up again last fall. I didn’t play much over the summer but have started playing more regularly in recent weeks. I play 3-5 times a week with an awesome group of ladies and it is so much fun. I like everything about it: the geometry of the court, the friendly but aggressive competition, the sound of a ball hitting a racket just right, the clothes, the exercise, the mental game, the net game, Roger Federer. If I had to choose between loving only houses or loving only tennis, I don’t think I could choose just one.

3. I’m running my first 5K tomorrow. I hate running. Not to be confused with running after a tennis ball. No, I’m talking about plain ol’ running. I ran track in high school, briefly. After passing out at the finish line several times, I was demoted to statistician. (math > running) I had always felt heart palpitations but I thought they were normal. Your heart is supposed to beat faster when you’re running, right? Years later after I had my first baby, the palpitations became so frequent and so severe even when not physically active that I finally saw a cardiologist and was diagnosed with PSVT. The arrhythmia was successfully treated via cardiac ablation in 2006, but a fear of running has been plaguing me ever since. Then Steve went and organized a 5K to benefit autism and I couldn’t not run (such a good cause, I want to support my husband, yadda yadda) so I’m running my first 5K tomorrow. Eek! My goal is to not pass out.

4. The last thing I binge-watched on Netflix was Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Summer. (The TV series, not the movie.) It’s hilariously stupid, if that’s your thing. (It’s my thing.)

5. I’ve only taken one bath in the tub we tricked out with a wood cradle base. It was glorious. It needs to happen again. Maybe after the 5K?

6. Things have been a little rough since Everett’s accidentPhysically, he’s fine but there are some lingering PTSD symptoms affecting both him and me. (So many acronyms in this post!) I don’t want to delve into details because he deserves some privacy, but, honestly, it has been extremely difficult watching him opt out of everyday activities due to fear. Ironically, none of them have to do with riding a scooter or bike. It’s also very hard to get anything accomplished when he so obviously needs my attention. The start of a new school year has brought even more challenges. This week was better than last week and I hope I can say the same next week.

7. The last thing I bought for our house was hand soap. Mrs. Meyer’s rosemary liquid hand soap, to be exact. It’s perfectly lovely but I am very promiscuous when it comes to hand soap. I’m a hand soap whore. I can’t commit! So many hand soaps, so little time.

8. The last thing I bought for myself was a vintage Mexican skirt on eBay. (see above) I’m crunchy like that. It was $29 and it’s going to be my fall staple. Fashion week, shmashion week.

9. Going from two to three kids did me in. There was a lot going on then. We were living in an interim apartment and renovating. I quit my day job. Mabrey was awful colicky and didn’t sleep more than a few hours at time for almost a year. I was running on fumes. Even if things had been more stable, the jump from two kids to three threw off our cushy 1:1 adult to kid ratio and I feel like we’ve been driving on a metaphorical flat tire ever since. People with more than three kids should automatically get $1,000,000.

I’ll never forget telling other parents of three that we were unexpectedly expecting a third child. They smiled the biggest smiles and kept telling us how “awesome” and “fun” it was. “It’s such a great dynamic,” they would say. Either we’re doing something wrong or it was complete bullshit. In reality, I think they were quietly celebrating, “Yes! They’re coming to the dark side!” I seriously can’t remember what life was like before three kids. That being said, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Mabrey is still my favorite surprise. And sometimes it is awesome and fun but most of the time it’s loud and frenzied.


10. The best book I read this summer was Euphoria by Lily King. It’s a must-read!

*BONUS* I eat french fries two at time. They have to be similar in size.

Whew. I bet you’re glad this won’t happen again for another 1,000 posts.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

03.23.15 / Made Me Smile

Dayton Art Institute

Dayton Art Institute

dayton art institute

dayton art institute

The last few weekends have been good to us. No snow, no traveling, no big projects, lots of exploring. It’s been wonderful having a wide open schedule and making (or not making) plans on a whim. I feel like much of the time Steve and I are tag-teaming our parenting responsibilities, so it’s nice when we actually get to do something all together as a family. And it’s more fun being a present parent than a serious one with a never-ending schedule.

This past weekend we visited the Dayton Art Institute and it was perfection. The kids were in awe and asked tons of questions. (They were mostly questions about boobs.) Sometimes I forget that we have one of the best art museums for kids in our backyard. If you’re ever in Dayton, Ohio, you should check it out. It’s not too big, not too small. A current exhibition, The Last Supper by Julie Green, was especially moving and it sparked an interesting conversation with our oldest. I love it when art does that.

I’m also loving…

*The hits of black and dark olive in this row house by Mazen Studio.

*Benita’s DIY bar cabinet featuring a Superfront door.

*Sunset’s special small space style issue. (So fun to see familiar homes in a different way!)

*The kid-friendly lunchbox of my dreams.

i carried a watermelon

*I carried a watermelon.

*The idea of a zero waste home. (Not sure I have the discipline to hit zero but every little bit helps, right?)

*Clare’s new large format prints. Use the discount code HOUSETWEAKING at checkout to score 15% off any purchase.

*A gauzy, floral robe for the summer ahead. (I wish it had been in my hospital bag when I had my babies!)

P.S. – It’s snowing now.

images: 1-5) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 6) etsy (listing unavailable)


Congrats to Nitasha who is going to look fabulous in the Anthro sheath dress she poached!

levis legging

Lately I’ve had a lot of people asking me (in real life and on the blog) about my jeans. They’re Levi’s. I discovered them two years ago and they’re my favorite. It only took me 30+ years to find the perfect jeans! Haha. The thing I love about Levi’s is once you find a style you like it makes shopping so much easier. I just grab my style, size and color preference and, BOOM!, they work every time.

The two styles I return to time and time again are the 535 leggings and the demi curve skinnies. I’m petite with a bit of a boyish figure and I like the way these styles give me a curvier look. I have a short torso and I like the low rise of these styles, too. They aren’t low enough to let it all hang out but they are low enough to avoid the dreaded mom jean look. They have the teensiest bit of stretch in them so they hold their shape really well wear after wear, wash after wash, year after year. I have some that are 2+ years old and they look and fit like they’re brand-new.

I like to roll the 535’s and wear them with ankle boots.

levi's demi curve 2

The demi curve skinnies look great with flats or my trusty leather boots. These boots are five years old and they just keep getting better.

So, yeah, I’m always on the lookout for Levi’s. When I find a pair marked down in my style and my size, I have a hard time not scooping them up because I know I will have them for years. Just the other day I found a pair on sale thanks to PoachIt. Have you heard of PoachIt?

poachit 3

PoachIt is a free service that lets you track your favorite items for price drops and it gives you access to coupon codes (that actually work) across the web. Basically, you never miss a sale again. You can follow over 5,000 merchants like Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Shopbop. Use a tracking button in your browser (much like the Pin It! button) to track specific items from other sites. When one of the items you’re tracking goes on sale, PoachIt sends you an email and saves you time, energy and money. There’s also an app to Poach on the go.


Right now I’m following Levi’s, Target, Madewell, H&M, ASOS, Forever 21 and West Elm. I’m also tracking a few cold weather-specific items like snow boots, hats and leg warmers. We got our first snow of the season last week and I realized how NOT READY I am for winter. My birthday was Saturday and I have a little money burning a hole in my pocket so I’m really hoping those Sorel boots go on sale soon. I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life and I’ve never owned a decent pair of snow boots. As a kid, I always tugged on four pairs of wool socks and wore my dad’s Red Wings to play in the snow!

With Black Friday only four days away, I’m curious: do you do the Thanksgiving / Black Friday shopping thing? I used to when I was younger but it’s such a hassle now. I feel bad for the employees. I know what it’s like to work retail. I was listening to an NPR report this past weekend which revealed that many of the in-store Black Friday deals are recycled from the previous year(s)…same products, same prices. Meaning Black Friday shoppers could actually be paying more for outdated products. No thank you. Plus, I’d really rather spend the day at home with my family. This year, maybe I’ll check PoachIt to see if there are any deals to be had. Would you like to try it too? Lucky for you, PoachIt is offering up a $100 giftcard to spend on anything you want! Find entry details below.

PRIZE: one $100 American Express giftcard

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Click here and sign up for a free PoachIt account. Then leave a link in the comments section sharing what you would purchase with the $100.

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, December 1st. One random winner will be announced Tuesday, December 2nd.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: I shared my favorite jeans, now it’s your turn! What are your favorite go-to jeans? I recently introduced my friend to Levi’s. She used to buy pricey, designer jeans but all it took was one pair of Levi’s that fit her like a glove to change her mind. She was leery at first because we don’t have the same body types. She’s taller and curvy in all the right places. She found a style that suits her and now she’s a convert!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking