JUP-SpaWomanAAs my last post vaguely mentioned, I decided that there was no better time to quit my job. I wasn’t in love with the role and life is too short to spend every day doing something you’re not happy with. That means I have been enjoying some funemployment for the last two weeks. Going in I envisioned my time off looking something like this ——->

I have a hard time doing nothing, so of course I have been keeping a journal of the things I’m accomplishing each day. On Day #1, I allowed myself to just sit on the couch, to drink my coffee and fill my brain with a ton of things I wanted to do with my time.  I made a list (duh) and felt energized to get things done!

Day #2 Will was running a fever so we stayed home together. While we were playing in the office (read, Toy Room) I decided I could no longer take the chaos and decided to purge and reorganize. Man did that feel good after it was done. Day #3 I was lucky enough to grab lunch with a dear friend at my favorite pizza joint, Porta Alba. This is no joke – if you live in, around or near Madison, you MUST go there. (Side note: I always order the Vegitariana pizza and it’s to die for!) This sounds so cheesy, but it was nice to spend time as just the two of us. Normally we have our kiddo’s & husbands in tow, making conversation more challenging.

Day #4 started with a visit to my hair stylist, who is one of the most talented & caring people I know. I love visiting her and this time was extra special because I learned she is expecting her first baby! I was then off to another great lunch date with three very close friends. I’ve decided that I’m never finding a job and will become a lady who lunches.  I haven’t figured out how to pay for those lunches but that’s not of importance! I spent the rest of the afternoon evaluating insurance plans (yuck)! Since that was no fun (understatement of the century) I decided to pick Ella up from school early and finally make our closed terrariums. Let’s hope they are as low-maintenance as they say!

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Day #5 I decided it was time to get down to business. Yes, I still had a lunch date with an old coworker, but I also cleaned and purged more of the house. Day #6 we had no school or daycare so it was me & the kiddo’s again. Ella was invited to a friends house for a playdate and had a blast. Will and I decided we would go for donuts, visit the pet store and grab lunch with dad. Day # 7 started out with some pampering, as I decided to give myself a manicure I saw on Pinterest. I then spent the rest of the day doing some real “work” for Kella Design.

Day #8 yet again included a lunch date with a great new friend. It was so much fun to chat with her and it turns out we both have something in common, we’re raising an extremely challenging and spirited 6 year old little lady! I can’t tell you how nice it is to find someone who can totally relate to what it’s like to parent someone like Ella. The constant struggle to “get her under control” all while trying to not squash her “spirit.” Day #9 was originally jam packed with meetings, but of course my OCD-self was starting to feel stressed that I hadn’t accomplished enough of the projects from my list, so I cleared my schedule. The morning started with some baby shower planning (my brother & SIL are expecting twins!!) and then quickly moved to house projects. We have been in a process of painting ALL of the trim in our house and had yet to tackle the trim in Ella’s room. This is when I was quickly reminded why I don’t normally paint my nails. So much for the manicure! I then did laundry, cleaned and purged the kids bedrooms and made an amazing dinner (again).

That brings me to Day #10, today! Ella has early release and she’s decided that she wants to spend it with mom. Turns out that no matter how much fun she had at her playdate, she’s extremely jealous of Will’s one-on-one time with mom. So we’re repeating the same day that Will & I had.

The days haven’t gone exactly as I planned and they definitely do not look like the peaceful spa image, but I have enjoyed them nonetheless. After looking at the journal, I feel like I have done a good job at balancing my time with a little pampering, a lot of productivity, projects crossed off the list, some great homemade meals and quality time spent with family & friends. I’m not entirely sure how much funemployment time I have left, but yesterday we got a healthcare bill in the mail and as Ella opened it she said, “wow, that’s a lot – mom, you better get back to work and make some money!” So I plan to continue to fill the days with as much as I possibly can because I’ll likely not get a chance like this again.



When I was growing up I wanted to be a rollerskating waitress or to play for the Green Bay Packers…yes I said play. Later in college I broke my wrist and elbow rollerskating and my stature didn’t warrant any draft picks, so both of those options were ruled out. I settled on getting a degree in business and hoped for the best.

Marketing is alright, but after being in the workforce for almost a decade I’m still searching for a career that I can be deeply passionate about. Maybe I’ll play guitar and sing at Potbellys? Or I could become the spokesperson for Cleft Awareness and share our message? Both of those options seem to be far off so maybe I should focus on something we’re already doing? It’s no secret that we love projects and the DIY craze is booming. How can I become Nicole Curtis and have my own show on HGTV?

Not only do we have the handy skills to pull it off, but we also have the marketing skills to build it up. Thinking I could take some steps toward my pipe dream I had planned to post an update on all of the projects we’ve done – complete with checklists and budget numbers. I could utilize my best SEO tactics, create a Pinterest board and push as much traffic to this site as possible. We’d make millions of dollars, quit our day jobs and spend the rest of our days making things beautiful.

I know it sounds crazy, but there are lots of people who have done just that. One of my favorite success stories is that of Young House Love. Looking for inspiration I went to visit their blog and the timing was ironic to say the least. I have always been a realist and while I appreciate the motivation of a dream I also believe that no matter what you’re doing, even if it starts as your passion… always turns into a J.O.B. Things start out with the best intentions, but as soon as we get a taste of success – we always want more. We push & push and get greedy to a point that our one-time passion turns into something weighed with a heavy responsibility.

In the last two posts on Young House Love, John & Sherry informed their thousands of fans that they have decided to move on. They are burnt out. In just 7 short years, their passion turned into something that was so overwhelming that it caused many aspects of their lives to be out of balance. Needless to say, I didn’t post an update on all of the things we’ve done to our house, I didn’t look to Pinterest and I won’t be optimizing this post for increased web traffic. None of that really matters!

I want to be happy in my job, but I also need to remind myself that I have many other more important outlets for fulfillment outside of my career. Life is too short to continuously search for something more. I am going to slow down and appreciate all of the things right here & now! And..if you’d like to see my house – then please come visit and we’ll sit in our newly renovated kitchen, drink a cup of coffee and talk about all the funny & amazing things our kids are doing.




The Fruits of Our Labor, Minus the Fruit

As I’ve mentioned many times before, the project list in this house is never-ending. So when we had the chance to send the kiddo’s off to Grandma & Grandpa’s for the weekend – we jumped at it, in hopes that we’d be able to knock some things off the list. We worked very hard, I swear, but there’s not a whole lot to show for it!

We started Friday night by moving our island in the kitchen. It was an easy decision to make since it wasted a lot of space before. It’s a small change, but it made a major difference when it comes to functionality. We now have way more space at the kitchen table and the flow through the house is so much better. It’s hard to show just how much of an impact it makes in a photo (especially with furniture in the way), but here’s an idea. On the left is the before and the right is the after.

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This photo also shows a few other projects in the works. We replaced & centered the light over the table a few weeks back with a modern drum pendant. We absolutely love the embroidered pattern and while the old one was nice quality, it just wasn’t our style.

In the next few weeks, we plan to paint our kitchen cabinets white. Quite a few people have asked us why we chose white or didn’t want to keep the wood. Trust me, I love natural wood and it was hard for me to paint over it, but it’s just so orange looking that I couldn’t handle keeping it that way. I believe it’s technically called Golden Oak and while I love me some gold, it does not work in our space – plus, we just prefer white.


We decided that we’d like a more customized look so we decided to frame out all of the cabinets and island. You can see the unfinished oak in the picture above. I’m sort of a perfectionist so living with it looking like that for a few weeks might kill me, but I’ll try to cope. Here’s a close up shot of the island. It still needs to be wrapped on the bottom & baseboard added, but it’s going to look GREAT once it’s painted a greige color to match the backsplash.

Speaking of backsplash…once we’re done with the cabinets we plan to add an ice subway tile backsplash. I love the look of those tiles, but I don’t necessarily love that they typically have to be installed individually and they are a little hard on the wallet. However, I hit the jackpot at Menards and was able to find a special purchase that was the exact color I was hoping for, sold in sheets and super cheap! They even had enough in-stock for our fireplace.

You might have also noticed that we’ve started the transition of our old desk area into a bar area to make it a more usable space. Don’t worry, we’re not alcoholics, but who uses those desks anymore? It’s hard to see in the photo, but we plan to remove the drawer (and my pretty blue chair) and insert a beverage fridge in that space. We measured the opening and started by trying to find a fridge that was the perfect size, but those were all too expensive. We then turned our brains on and realized that instead of trying to make the fridge fit the space, we’d make the space fit the fridge! You will see that we built platforms to raise the entire desk 3″. The chair is still there because we have yet to purchase the fridge and I want to get to use it as long as I can.


If you look closely at the photo above, you might see a few spots on our ceiling as well as a hole with a blue electrical box. I have wanted pendant lights over our island since we bought the house, but since we moved it’s location – we also had to cut open our ceiling to reposition the lights. I wish I could show you a photo of that project completed, but it needs a bit more time for the mud to dry before we can hang the lights. Here’s what I’m planning to hang, but it depends on how they look once they’re up.

We also took down a LARGE shelf in hopes that it opens up the space even more. It’s probably good that we took it down, as it wasn’t screwed into anything and it was pretty big! That project is also not complete because even though it wasn’t attached to any studs, it left behind some pretty big holes that needed to some mud.

In addition to painting all of our cabinets white, we’re painting almost all of the rest of the woodwork too. That means I’ve been spending a lot of time painting doorway trim. If you look at the picture above you will see that I was able to finish all the trim (7 closets/doors) in the hallway. I’m happy to say that one more “room” is complete, but there are so many more that require taping, 1 coat of primer & 2-4 coats of paint. Boo!

Fruit people! Where is the fruit? While I wish there was more that we could actually cross off, there are two projects that we actually started & finished. Our electrician friend was nice enough to volunteer some time to help us get our lighting needs in order. Our living room has NO (yes, zero) overhead lighting. We have 3 lamps in that room and every day I have to walk around to turn them all on and then again to turn them all off.  After some electrical magic, they are now ALL controlled on a switch. That’s right, now each day I can walk over and flip the switch and illuminate the world. Okay, maybe that was too strong – but trust me, this is a game changer!

Finally, the only real fruit worth showing…my brother & sister-in-law kindly bought us a housewarming gift card to CB2, which was coincidentally where we found the light we wanted for our dining room. Since our electrician friend was over, we decided to replace the old and put up our new gem. So, what do you think of our one and only grape?




Furious 4 Months

The last four months have been a blur! We moved into our new house at the end of June and we haven’t even lived here 4 months yet, but a lot has happened in that short amount of time. We’ve crossed a ton of home improvement projects off the list, attended a few weddings, got both children through surgery, celebrated some birthdays, tried to enjoy a bit of summer, caught up with some old friends and even threw our first bash!

In a previous post I promised some before & after shots of our house projects. Since the weather has been nice, our primary focus has been outdoors, but I don’t have any great shots to show off the new fence, deck or landscaping – so that will have to wait. We’ve not done a ton inside and we’re not even close to being done, but here is a photo update of our progress so far:

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There is still a ton to be done in the kitchen. We plan to strip, stain and refinish the floors, but the bigger project will be the cabinets, as we plan to paint them white. We’ll also be replacing the light over the table and hanging pendants over the island.

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While the living room looks almost complete, we’ve got a long way to go. We plan to replace the incredibly dated and uncomfortable berber carpet, but I keep waiting for Will to stop throwing ravioli on it. I think the better solution is to move his high chair out of reach, although he has a pretty good arm.. We’ve also made the decision to replace all the base board in the house and paint all trim and molding white.  If we still have energy, we’ve talked about adding built in benches against the windows too.

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I’m really happy with how Ella’s room turned out. We had planned to focus on the downstairs first, but in true fashion, our little diva kept asking when her room would be painted, so she moved up on the priority list. The remaining items in this room include painting all the trim and replacing the base board. Even though we don’t love it, we’ve decided to keep the carpet in both kiddo’s rooms so when they trash it, we won’t care as much! To see another angle of Ella’s room click here.

I’ve updated the spare bedroom, twice actually. I first decided that I would paint the accent wall the same color as I chose for my fireplace wall, but after I had finished – I realized I hated it in that room. So I painted it again. I’ve also updated the dining room, entryway and lower bath. Those photos will have to wait for another update. My next project is Will’s room. Unfortunately he’s been pushed aside since he can’t talk yet. Even though it was a huge pain, I plan to do something similar as his last room.

Speaking of Will – he’s getting so big. In fact it was as I was sitting down to update his baby book when I realized just how fast the past few months have gone. We’ve been so furious that I had almost not recognized all the new things he is doing. He is talking up a storm and showing off his large personality more and more everyday. He says mama, dada, Ella, dog, truck, ball, no, uh-oh and woah. He loves fruit and refuses to eat almost any food that could be considered real. He throws everything (refer to ravioli mention above) and think it’s hilarious when he’s being naughty. He recently broke two more teeth, making a total of 10 chompers in that little mouth. He & Ella love each other and play really well together. We are finally having his baptism this coming weekend & I’m excited to have some of our friends and family here to visit.


Jack of all Trades

Master of none.

Work, home, parenting, friendship, etc. – I’m juggling a lot of different roles, but none all that well. I feel like I’m pulled in so many directions that it’s a struggle to be great at any one role.

At work I’m responsible for solving all the problems. Just the other day we joked that my title should be CTO, Chief Troubleshooting Officer – and I think I do a pretty good job of it. While it may make my co-workers & clients lives better, it causes a lot of problems in the other aspects of my life.

Will spent all last week without diapers at daycare. L1208916_10100527134081466_1759146518_nuckily he has friends that were willing to share until I found the time to stock back up. Then they sent home a note that he had no extra clothes for those inconvenient times he might pee on himself (like today). Not to mention the fact that neither kiddo is fully prepared for the impending weather changes – no appropriately sized pants, long sleeves, boots or jacket. Let’s hope this summer-like weather lasts a bit longer so I have some time to find some fall attire.

As I’ve mentioned before, the house is full of projects but we’ve been so busy running each weekend that I haven’t even been able to keep up with the basics. Thank goodness I was able to find my motivation the other night and in return was able to finish all the laundry, clean the house, paint the remaining stairwell spindles, swap out the spare room bedding and put together our new barstools. While it seems like a lot of productivity, there is still so much to do.

This past weekend we were finally able to spend a weekend at home. Who knew home improvement projects were easier to do when at home? We were so productive! Not only did we paint the spare bath, spare bedroom and dining room, we also built a deck!

It wasn’t all good news though! Poor Will woke with a rash on Saturday morning. I assumed it was due to teething (his molars just popped through, making 10 teeth in that tiny little mouth already) so I gave him an oatmeal bath and hoped for the best. On Sunday it was worse so I took him into the doctor. After a lot of questions she determined that he has scarlet fever. So random! All I could think of was that episode of Little House on the Prairie (I’m sure there was one & whomever had it, died) but turns out it’s an infectious aftermath of strep and apparently it’s very rare for infants, since they don’t typically get strep. We started meds right away but I kept him home from daycare today just to be sure he wasn’t contagious.

Today felt good. It was nice to refocus on my most important role and spend a lot of quality time with my little man. Besides, he was able to practice his newly acquired skill of walking and I was able to get a few more projects (Ella’s room art, mowed the lawn, cleaned the house) handled while he napped :D