ON MAKING DESIGN MISTAKES

This is the first house we've owned, and probably not the last, so I'm trying to think of it as our "mistakes" house. I get to try out different designs, and see what makes sense for us versus what I see on Pinterest. I've already had a few "teachable moments" of design decisions that I would have done differently.

Take, for instance, that shelf on the mantel. It was wood before we moved in, and in an effort to get away from all the 90s wood trim and doors, everything was going either white (all walls and doors ) or black (hardware). So, white it went. It looked good against the then grey/blue walls, but once everything else was white, I realized I needed to add a little warmth back in. I assumed it was a done deal but Daniel knew of a way to get it back, by heating it, scraping it, and sanding it. He did it over the course of two nights, and the cost? Zero dollars, since we already had the tools. It was a little painful seeing all those layers of paint come off, but I knew that this time, I had the space to consider all my options and I knew that I was making the right decision. As a bonus, I didn't love the tone of the wood pre-paint (which is why maybe I was motivated to change it), but now that it's sanded to a lighter color, I love it. It's the shade my wood mantel dreams are made of. Had I not mistakenly painted it I wouldn't have known about this amazing color underneath.

My second design mistake here was that I have clear, glass sconces which I assumed only Edison bulbs would look good in. Went for it. Decided I didn't like the orange-y hued lighting. So I researched all my options, and I didn't think this was possible, but I am crazy about these light bulbs. I can control them from my smart phone and the color temperature is completely custom, meaning I can make it cooler or warmer depending on the season/time of day/mood etc. So happy with them. They even look great in the clear glass which I was concerned about. Welcome to 2018 - when you can order anything online to be delivered to your house in 2 days and control the temperature shade of your light bulbs from your smart phone.

So, my lessons learned: try everything. You sometimes don't know if you like something until you see it in your own house, in your unique lighting, with your unique family. And, secondly, if you don't like it, it's probably changeable. Thankfully, home decor is not open heart surgery. If the stakes feel high, it's because we've placed that unnecessary pressure on ourselves to have these Pinteresty-perfect homes, when in reality, there really isn't a lot at stake here. It's home decor! If you try and it and don't like it, change it. This is our first house. I get to "try on" everything here, and the mistakes just mean I'm closer to finding my style and what works best for my taste and my family.

BEFORE: Beautiful, but stark and not enough contrast.

AFTER: Warmth! Texture! Variation! Love the change.

Shared in partnership with Poly and Bark, who makes the Camberly sconces, and Hue Bulbs, who makes the light bulbs.

LIFE AROUND THE TABLE WITH TODDLERS

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I've always dreamed of a giant, handmade table to gather around. I kind of figured it was beyond our capacity at this stage in life to make one, so I just ordered one from cheap online retailer. The deal seemed too good to be true. And it was - it was only for the legs even though the listing said otherwise. The company was great about it and refunded us and said, just keep them, they're too heavy and not worth shipping back.

So there we were with two solid, chunky, modern farmhouse table legs. Since half the work was already, done, adding the top was doable and in Daniel's wheelhouse. He used four 2x4s to connect the legs since they were at an angle, and then added five 10ft pieces of wood to the top, and we now have a completely custom, long and wide, modern farmhouse table for under $100.

I love it and it's my very favorite piece of furniture we own, but I don't think you need a 10 ft custom farmhouse table to gather people within your home. It's not really about the table, or even the house. It's about making the time and the space for people to feel heard and seen and known and loved. Use whatever you have and whatever you've been given. An old picnic blanket works just fine.

I think most people who have toddlers would agree that dinnertime and two year olds doesn't always (ever?) look like calm conversation and time to connect. It is mostly utilitarian - here's food for you, and you, and you, can everyone just sit together for two minutes without screaming or asking for more or to get down, and if you're lucky a, "How was your day?" and enough time to hear the answer. Relaxing, it is not.

But it's important. And when there is something that I know is good for my family and will set the tone for years to come, I try everything in my power to make it happen. These things help me make dinner time happen for my family: the long term perspective, simple meals, wine, and... a grocery delivery service. I am trying out Shipt, and I'm learning that when our plate feels too full (literally here), to take something off it. There are kind, wonderful people who want to do your grocery shopping for you. Shipt just launched in Seattle with Target, and you can shop from your couch and have it delivered to your house within an hour. There is an annual membership fee, but after that, delivery is free over $35. Anything that makes getting my family together around a table easier in this season of life with a toddler is a win for me. The time together is worth it.

Thank you to Shipt for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

NORDSTROM ANNIVERSARY SALE PICS

It's that time of year! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is such a huge deal here in the Pacific Northwest. The headquarters, corporate office, and generations of loyal shoppers make this kind of on the same level as seeing Santa at Christmas. It's just a thing here. It's open to cardholders now, and to the public on July 20th. Each year I grab some Zella leggings ($35 down from $54) and I always love seeing other people's recommendations, so I'm sharing some finds today. 90% of these are on sale, but I'm including a few pieces that aren't, but that I have and love and get asked about (like the Dansko clogs or Madewell shorts). Also to note: some pieces have already sold out, but sometimes they will restock throughout the sale. I picked all women's/baby/kid/maternity items. Enjoy!

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