...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Some of you asked about the quote I have displayed in my workspace. The short answer: I just typed it up in polyvore and printed it out. The long answer: keep reading.

scary fun

I didn’t make any resolutions for 2014. Instead, I coined myself a new motto for the year.

Scary is the new fun.

I don’t mean scary as in Freddy Krueger scary or fighting cancer scary or losing a loved one scary or playing with birds scary. (I have an irrational but very real fear of birds. Acknowledgement is the first step.) Nothing dangerous or life-threatening. I’m talking about scary as in out-of-your-comfort-zone scary.

Far too often I choose not to do something simply because I haven’t done it before. Because I’m afraid I’ll be really bad at it. Because I’m afraid others won’t like it. (Or worse, won’t like me.) Because I’m afraid I won’t like it. Because it kinda sounds like a lot of work. Because doing what I’m familiar with and used to is easier.

But lately I feel like that fear is holding me back from potentially experiencing something I will like. Or possibly even love. So what if it takes me doing 100 things to find one thing that is rewarding and fulfilling? So what. I can put 100 things on my “dislike” list then. NBD.

I don’t know what it is about turning 35 but ever since I did (in November) I wanna stop being a wimp. I feel like I’m finally comfortable with all things me (my style, my body, my passions, my parenting, my sense of humor, my beliefs, etc.) and I owe it to myself to get out there and just be me. Fear aside. Can any 35+ peeps relate?

So what exactly is scary to me? (Besides birds.)

Going to Alt for the first time was scary. But I survived and made new friends. Posting more pictures of myself on this here blog is scary. But I’m doing it. Because, personally, I like seeing the faces behind blogs. Monetizing a blog is scary. I need to make money but I want to stay true to myself and my readers and I don’t want to come across as a sell-out. Coding is scary. I do a lot of copying and pasting and pretending. Showing all the parts of my house that still need TLC is scary. We have lived here for a while now. Shouldn’t we be about done? Responding or not responding to negative comments is scary. Ahhh, what to do?! Sharing non-home-related posts about, oh I don’t know, MY FEARS, my hair, my clothes, my experiences as a mom, my beauty routine is scary. None of that really falls under tweaking a house but maybe someone would find it inspiring? Asking homeowners in real life if I can feature their home for a tour on H*T is scary. What if they think I’m a crazy lady and flat out say no?

And then there are the fears outside of blogging. Meeting new people is scary. I write good, talk bad. Traveling to a new place is scary. But I always end up seeing or learning something new. Being a parent is scary. But my kids seem to be okay. Wearing a bikini is scary. But I refuse to wear a mom suit. Finding the beginnings of a Stacy London gray streak in my hair is scary. But I really don’t want to start dyeing my hair. Realizing I haven’t showered for 3+ days is scary. But it has happened. Not using my college degree is scary. Selling a house is scary. Buying a house is scary. Renovating said house is even scarier. Admitting my shortcomings is scary. Thinking about the future is scary. Trying out new ideas is scary. Standing up for myself is scary. Standing up for others is scary. I won’t even mention public speaking. Grocery shopping with three kids is terrifying. Just ask the guy behind me at checkout who overheard my five-year-old loudly whisper, “Look, Mom! That guy is buying junk! He is making bad choices!”

I think you get it. We all do. We all have something we aren’t doing because we’re afraid it might not work out the way we want it to. We’re afraid of failure, humility, judgment. For one person, it might be exercising or making a lifestyle change. For another, it might be painting a room. For yet another, it might be learning a new trade. It could be anything.

But what if we look at those things in a different way? What if we think of them as fun? I mean, we are getting to experience something new. Isn’t that what life is all about? Experiences? What if we don’t worry about the outcome and instead focus on the fact that we are doing something we’ve never done before? We are living.

SCARY is the new FUN.

Try it. You might like it.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

workspace 6

As a follow up to Monday’s workspace reveal, I thought I would share the sources for my favorite office supplies since many of you asked. It’s pretty cool how a few stylish everyday items can put a fun twist on taking care of business.

office supplies

1 – Nate Berkus marble print tray (Target, no longer available) – It has the look of marble minus the hefty price tag and hefty weight. I use it at my desk to corral a vase of fresh flowers and my glasses.

2 – red Swingline stapler – It’s a colorful version of an office standby. Also, no more staple jams!

3 – acrylic & gold tape dispenser - Anything is better than the off-the-shelf, flimsy plastic dispensers. I always know where the tape is now and I save money by purchasing refill tape rolls.

4 – planner with gold details (Sugar Paper for Target) – If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen. This eco-friendly planner is constructed of recycled paper and soy-based ink. The gold spiral binding and letterpress make it special.

5 – elago indigo & gold phone case – I can’t say enough good things about this phone case. I love the look of the gold aluminum while the indigo surround provides an appealing tactile experience. (I have a thing for phone cases that feel nice beneath my fingers. I’m weird like that.)

6 – Lufkin chrome clad pocket tape measure - I keep this tape measure at my desk for quick measurements when shopping online for furniture or home accessories. I toss it in my purse when I’m heading out the door to a brick and mortar shop. It’s less cumbersome than lugging around the bulky 25′ tape measure that we use for home improvement projects.

7 – gold scissors – I have designated scissors in my sewing box for cutting fabric so these are fair game for opening mail and packages and for crafting. My kids love using them, too. They call them The Golden Scissors. All hail The Golden Scissors!

None of these items are must-have’s but you know what they say about all work and no play…

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Maria Rose! She’s all for the black version of the Barcelona chair.

Rove Concepts is your source for high quality, luxury furnishings and is a longtime supporter of House*Tweaking. The modern furniture company is graciously offering up one of their Barcelona chairs for today’s giveaway!

barcelona chair giveaway

Fancy, no? To enter, see details below.

PRIZE: one Barcelona chair in black or white courtesy of Rove Concepts (retail value $1,195)

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old. One entry per email address. This giveaway is open to international entrants! (No P.O. boxes please.)

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “Barcelona or bust!”

DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, February 23rd at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Monday, February 24th.

Thank you for supporting the companies that sponsor this blog. Best of luck!

images: collage by Dana Miller, Rove Concept images

barcelona bench 1

The horse blanket isn’t the only new thing at the foot of our bed. But before we get to it, let’s back up for a minute.

barcelona bench 2

Our bedroom is rectangular in shape. We placed the bed on one of the smaller walls, opposite the bathroom, which is really the only feasible location for a bed in this room. I haven’t mentioned it before but the area between the foot of our bed and bathroom is a decent size. And it has always felt a little empty. I’m all for open space in a room but it felt like something should be there – either a bench or a pair of ottomans. Something. I hadn’t taken it any further than that though. I mean, a bench wasn’t completely necessary and we were getting along fine without one.

Then one of my friendly sponsors, Rove Concepts, sent me an email asking if I might be interested in a piece of their furniture. I politely decline the majority of these types of requests because they don’t jive with my purpose and / or aesthetic. And I turned this one down as well. But six months later I received another email from them so I quickly glanced at their inventory to see if anything caught my eye. When I came across the Barcelona bench inspired by Mies van der Rohe, I was smitten. It was the ideal scale and style. I ordered the 52″ length in natural ash with a palermo caramel cushion. It had a twelve week lead time but finally arrived two weeks ago and it’s practically perfect in every way.

barcelona bench 3

As I was assembling it, Steve and I had a moment. We didn’t feel worthy of this bench. It’s a true work of art. The craftsmanship and attention to detail are impeccable. The bench is one of those forever pieces that’s crazy versatile. It’s sturdy and has a presence to it without feeling heavy…if that makes any sense. I like that it sits up off the floor with open space between the seat and floor. That gives it a lighter feel than, say, a slipcovered bench with a skirt.

barcelona bench 4

The leather is beautiful. It’s the perfect shade of caramel with flawless tufting and piping. It’s so soft, smooth and supple. Like butt’ah. It will only get better with age and wear. I love the natural patina that worn leather takes on over time. The warm hue of the cushion picks up on the wood tones of the nearby dresser, chair legs and bathroom mirror.

barcelona bench 5

Our bedroom can be a flurry of activity with three kids who like to romp on the bed and only one functioning bathroom which also happens to be the adjoining master bath.

Fun fact #1: I make the bed every morning but it rarely stays that way.

Fun fact #2: Sometimes there is a line for the potty in our bedroom. 

Our bedroom definitely isn’t a kid-free zone. Often times, all five of us can be found hanging out in here. The bench sorta acts like a buffer for our bed and provides extra seating, too. It’s a welcome addition. (Mabrey loves climbing onto the bed via the bench.)

barcelona bench 6

I haven’t cheated on my mattress and taken the bench for a sleeping spin (yet!) but the thought has crossed my mind. And that awkward space between our bed and bathroom? It’s not awkward anymore. The bench shrunk the barren area but we still have plenty of room to move around without feeling cramped.

While I’m happily working for and claiming the Barcelona bench, I understand that it may overreach some budgets. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend it. However, if you’re in the market for a similar bench with a smaller price tag, may I suggest this, this or this?

I’m curious. Do you have anything at the foot of your bed? A bench, a pair of ottomans, a trunk? Maybe you prefer nothing?

Stay tuned for a Rove Concepts giveaway later today! I told you those peeps were friendly.

This post was sponsored in part by Rove Concepts. All images and opinions are my own.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking