How I Learned to Decorate – One Easy Step

IMG_7792[1]

I follow a lot of bloggers – mostly via Instagram.  There is nothing more enjoyable for me than a post about people’s homes.  Over the past few months, I have gleaned a lot of information and style ideas from these posts.  I have learned how to hone my own personal style, grabbing a bit from here, a blob from there, and most importantly – just allowing my intuition be my guide.

IMG_7654[1]

Not unlike fashion style, home decor style really allows you to be individualistic and do what feels good for you.  I’ve come to find that my home (not to be too cliche-ish) truly has become my sanctuary; I feel happy and safe there.  When I walk through my backdoor, a load of stress rolls off of me and it’s almost as if my blood pressure lowers and my sense of fight-or-flight is turned off.

IMG_7770[1]

As my blog title gives away, I am 38 years old.  I often can’t believe that it has taken that long to be able to stop caring so much and to subsequently pin point the following ideas:

When decorating your home – just do what feels best.  Like that wild paint color, use it! Adore that old movie poster, hang it up!  Do candles and fairy lights ease your soul, string them around!

IMG_7741[1]

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who already had this figured out.  But, personally, I spent far too much time trying to make my life something it wasn’t, and my home decor was part of that.  Now I just buy and display things that make me feel happy; things that I like to look at on the daily.  Is my house perfect and clutter free?  Absolutely not.  However, I would say that 90% of stuff has a “home” and my living spaces are more orderly than not.  Do I draw inspiration from others?  Even sometimes purchasing the same item as some one else has displayed?  Of course.

JLNA3248[1]

In a moment of embarrassment, I once told a friend that I was a “follower” for buying a WPA food poster.  She told me ‘if you like it, that doesn’t make you a follower’, and she was right.  The artwork was cool, the message was thoughtful, and my husband is a bit of a history buff so he liked it too – basically, it was perfect for our kitchen.  So, I bought it and hung it with pride!

IMG_7656[1]

My husband and I are fairly avid antique and thrift store shoppers (it’s kind of become our thing).  So, most of what we have around the house reflects that.  We enjoy seeing things that are unique (minus the WPA poster) or remind us of sentimental memories from our childhoods.  Every now and again, we’ll splurge on something we’ve been coveting (see the above quartet of Coronet ladies) but, for the most part – if something speaks to us, we just pick it up.

Basically, it all boils down to us liking the stuff that we have to look at on a daily basis and giving ourselves the free range to just go with the flow and put that stuff around!

 

If every kid did it…

img_46461

The other day, I realized we were out of coffee.  Crap.

I use a french press almost every morning.  I’m the only one in the house who drinks coffee and I don’t like those single serve coffee makers.  I used to have one but I realized that a) I could never be assured that I was cleaning it out all the way and no mold was growing in it, and b) those little pod things are such a waste – they make way too much trash for my liking.

Overall, I am trying to be better in the eco-responsible portion of my life.  We use cloth napkins, but I can’t break us of the paper towel habit.  I use an old glass bottle with stainless steel straw for water at work, but my husband is obsessed with plastic water bottles (he says it’s a taste thing, I don’t understand).  We recycle diligently and I try to compost, yet I always forget my reusable bags when I go to the food store.  Sigh.

I am an environmental scientist by trade.  I am also in the consulting world, so I basically make a living off of cleaning other people’s messes.  Once, someone described it as being “the Earth’s janitor”.  Or, I suppose that is one way of putting it.  It all started for me at a very young age when I saw this bit on Sesame Street about Willie Whimple and littering.  It struck such a fear into me that forever changed the course of my life (I may or may not still shutter when I hear the music playing – if every kid did it… – omg CRINGE).

So, what do my coffee habits have anything to do with this?  Besides aiding in my productivity at work and making me slightly less cantankerous to my family and co-workers?  It’s simply one way (out of many) for me – and you, yes you! – to start going green.  If you’re looking for some low effort-high impact actions you can do around your house to feel like you’re going green while you’re actually going green, you can start using a french press and take a look at this list!  Three (I’m making things super manageable for you!) easy things to get started on, like, yesterday:

  1. I am starting you off small.  This is the easiest one of them all.  I did not mean for that to rhyme.  REPLACE YOUR PAPER NAPKINS WITH CLOTH.  It is that simple.  Go to a thrift store, buy yourself some pretty cloth napkins, and start using them.  If you (and your income) are so disposed, go buy some cloth napkins at a home goods store.  There are tons of them out there.  Pick what you like.  Get creative.  Get a different color napkin for each month of the year/person in your household/holiday/day of the week – I don’t care, just start using cloth napkins.  Also – don’t wash them until they really need it.  Barring small children or the inevitable spill, most of the time, we don’t use our napkins enough to warrant cleaning them on a daily basis.

  2. START SAVING/REUSING GLASS STORAGE ITEMS.  You know those jars that things like spaghetti sauce and jelly come in?  They are ridiculously handy for storage around your house and reducing the amount of plastics that you have in your home.  Like I mentioned, I currently have an old glass bottle on my desk that I use for water during the day.   While I know it’s out there, I am not 100% sold on BPA-free plastic.  I won’t lie and say we don’t have plastic items (both BPA-free and regular) in our home, it’s just that I’m trying to make a much more concerted effort to replace those items with glass.  And since I find that most of our plastic is food storage and kids’ toys (which please, I beg you, don’t replace your kids’ toys with glass containers), it’s not only more eco-friendly but also more wallet-friendly to just reuse/recycle the ones already in my house!

  3.  Okay, I am probably going to lose a lot of you with the first half of this one but, just keep on reading and I promise, I’ll offer an alternative method.  We abide by a fairly strict if it’s yellow – let it mellow, if it’s brown – flush it down policy in our home.  It keeps us from wasting too much water by constantly flushing the toilet (did you know that even the most efficient of toilets can use almost 2 gallons of water per flush?).  If you find our mindset to be absolutely revolting (and, I get it – I really do), then you can take an old gallon milk bottle (look at you reusing again), fill it up with water and put it in the water reservoir of your toilet.  This will cause displacement of one gallon in your tank, which means your toilet will flush one whole gallon less each flush!  Not too shabby!

So, there you go, three easy things that you can start implementing this weekend in your home to get green quick.  You’ll thank me, and the planet will thank you, and then you can tell people that you’re an Earth’s Janitor, too!  😉

 

Dutch Babies

Often, as in on a weekly basis, I find myself in the quandary that is trying to decide between throwing out all the crap in my house and eating healthier -or- embracing the comfort food culture.  On one hand, I’m all eat all the healthy! It tastes great and removing the sugar/dairy/processed foods will make me lose weight/feel less anxious/have clearer skin!, while on the other I find myself thinking nothing tastes more like love than a rich, hearty meal.  Cookies and cupcakes are fun to make.  Baking is cathartic.  Delicious food is a love language.

One day I will cook up some delicious stuffed baked sweet potatoes and then the next day it will be mac and cheese with cut up hot dogs stirred in (this may or may not be what we had Tuesday night).  Perhaps it’s all just really a balancing game.  Everything in moderation, right?

Tuesday night, besides the mac and weinie, my daughter and I tried making a chocolate dutch baby.  It was super easy to make and turned out pretty darn good, if you ask me.  Sadly, I was too occupied with removing the scalding cast iron pan from the oven without tripping over a cat or kid or spilling the delicious looking melted butter all over our kitchen rug that I didn’t get any photos (the fact that I am quite possibly the world’s worst amateur photographer may or may not have also been part of that) of our dutch baby.

Last night, I had an idea – I will make a savory Dutch Baby for dinner!  So, I did.  It was pretty good.  I’ll probably leave out the cumin next time.  I got the recipe from Betsy Life.  I was all prepared to take photos and make a cute little recipe post out of this but… this is as far as I got.

img_72201

Oh yeah, look at these eggs.  There’s four of them instead of 3.  I bucked the recipe.  I am such a badass.  So, because I forgot additional photos, this dish went from four eggs in a bowl right to oven ready… MAGIC!

img_72211

That’s right – that’s bacon in there, too.  It smelled sooooo good but I over cooked it and it tasted sooooo bad.  Yuck.  Sorry poor little bacon.   By the way, that’s the Dutch Baby to the right.

img_72221

Holy giant Dutch Baby, Batman!

Everyone, including the world’s pickiest eater, my 6 year old, enjoyed it.  I think Dutch Babies will be making a place in the rotation.  I can’t wait to see what I come up with!

Potato dutch babies, tomato dutch babies, mushroom dutch babies, chocolate chip dutch babies, other cheese dutch babies, bacon dutch babies, apple dutch babies, chocolate coconut dutch babies…

Hello.

Hi!  Welcome.  I’m Erin and this is my (new) blog.  I used to have a little corner of the web waaaay back when in 2008 when I was 29.  As the years have passed, I have changed.  Back then I was a miserable fiancee (to my now ex-husband) exploring the world of preppy and polished.  Now I am older, wiser, and just overall more chill.

At this point in my life, I am a wife, a mom, a friend, and a full-time employee.  I do still explore options in my little slice of the world: yoga, writing, journaling, crafts, homemaking, cooking/baking, travelling, you know – all the good stuff that most people do.  Yet, there’s a lot out there that I still want to find out about.  So, here I am, just about a week shy of my 38th birthday, starting over on my corner of the internet, looking to share the world through my eyes.  I hope you enjoy the ride!