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How to be an adventurer when you can’t go on adventures

Hello again friends! I am so excited to have another blog post up so quickly. This one is a set of ideas that I have had in my brain for some time now, but didn’t know how to formulate them. That I actually have I’ve felt for so long-that the feelings, emotions, and lessons are there, but I wasn’t able to pull them into cohesive thoughts.

Today, I am going to talk about a huge change our marriage has gone through since my husband hurt his back last year, and if you can’t tell by the title of this post, it’s adventures. Our relationship has been full of adventures, including traveling the world together, going on walks/hikes, climbing trees over rivers, trying new restaurants, going to various new towns, etc. So when he hurt his back, we couldn’t do these things anymore. We honestly still can’t do many of the things that we have loved.

For a long time, this made me really angry, and not being able to go on adventures made me so depressed because I identify myself as an adventurer. It is only now, after a year and a half of living this part of our life, that I have come to find ways to still be an adventurer when you’re not able to go on adventures.

  1. Explore locally: When was the last time you did tourist-y things in your own town?? There are usually many cool things to do; museums, restaurants, walking/biking trails, etc, that you could see for the first time, or re-discover with new eyes. Another thing that really helped me with this one was gardening. When you plant food, you really begin to notice the little things. You get excited when you see even the smallest cucumber growing, or when the berries are just starting to come in.
  2. Learn more about the places you’d like to visit: Through the internet, chances are you can gather so much information about all the places you’d eventually like to visit. For a very long time, I was obsessed with Oregon, even though I’ve never been there. I created a board in Pinterest for things just about Oregon. Through photos, videos, and other bloggers, I felt like I was there. Then earlier this year, I began to be obsessed with New Mexico. I could feel my own personal energy shift from adventure (Oregon) to wisdom (New Mexico). So I did the same thing. It’s a way to virtually visit or live in a place, and it’s amazing.
  3. Make a bucket list: My husband will hopefully not be hurt forever, so piggy backing on the above suggestion, create a list of places you want to go or live. This is also an amazing way to create a vision board or a painted picture.
  4. Notice the things around you:  When my husband got hurt in March of 2015, we had to stop moving at such a fast pace, and since he can’t drive for very long in a car, we stopped going on long road trips. This made me feel incredibly stuck. Our plans have always included leaving Iowa to find a place that suits us better in terms of climate as well as social opportunities. These dreams were certainly put on hold. But, what I thought of as “stuck,” I now see as “blooming where I’m planted.” When my husband and I were in our prime adventure time, we traveled outside the country 3 times, and were always searching for something NEW. The problem with newness, though, is that  you usually only notice the big things. Once we were in the same place for a longer period of time without being able to do anything extravagant, I started noticing patterns. Last year, I noticed many thing for the first time. I’m not saying that I’d never seen these things before, but I NOTICED them for the first time. I noticed fields full of lightning bugs and fireflies. It was astonishing. The beauty knocked the wind out of me. I noticed that these beautiful creatures start coming out early-mid June. Last year, I noticed the Milky Way for the first time. I know that the wildflowers are at their peak in July. I have officially deemed July as the most incredible, magical time in Iowa. I also know that the light changes in the fall. The winter, while brutal, can also bring beauty, such as sun dogs. So although I originally hated Iowa and couldn’t wait to get away, I now know the true beauty of it.
  5. Find a hobby that requires you to notice: As a photographer, I’m always trying to notice small yet important moments. But sometimes you need to also take your ability to notice in your own yard, neighborhood, or town. Here are some instances where I wouldn’t have seen the beauty if I hadn’t noticed.sunset july 2016 summer sky 2016 sky at dawn queen annes lace 2016 oliver close up little blue flowers lilies 2016 lili 8 chance 1 grass drinking in the sunlight window I also feel like my love of Interior Design has been taken to a new level because I’m noticing more how colors and textures are working together.
  6. Develop your sense: living on an acreage, I am constantly surrounded by beauty. Sometimes with all of the wonderful things going on, birds chirping, window blowing, smell of fires or flowers, seeing the sunset, one can actually get overwhelmed with beauty. To allow myself to completely soak in the beauty, I try to use only one or two senses at a time. I will close my eyes so I can hear the birds and feel the wind. I will cover my ears so I can focus on what I see. I will plug my nose and close my eyes, or any combination. This is a wonderful way to work on noticing and feeling.
  7. Track your cycle: Now, most of my readers are women, and this may or may not be directed towards women, but I guess men have their own cycles too, so take it how you will. Starting to pay attention to my moon cycle has really helped me start noticing patterns within my energy, moods, emotions, and body. I have been using an app on my phone called Clue to help me do this. One of the best things I’ve ever done as a woman is start to honor and notice my moon cycle, especially because this brings me closer to myself, the Earth, the Moon, and to my female lineage. This has also helped me feel like a little adventurer/explorer/scientist.

This list may evolve over time, but I wanted to give everyone some ideas on how to make the best of a situation that you may not love. I believe that everything happens FOR us, even bad things. Sometimes the bad things happen to give us experience, or sometimes it’s just meant to guide us to become who we are meant to become.

I hope you can view your world with new eyes.

La Rae

Changed plans

Well friends, it’s been far too long since I’ve updated you on my life. It’s been a long few months for my family for sure, and we haven’t made a whole lot of progress on much.

We did add a new member to our family, though!

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Lilith Artemis is the newest member of our little family!! She is a blue merle Mini Australian Shepherd and is now about 11 weeks old. She is so independent, spunky, and full of life. She absolutely adores her brothers too, which is great! They got along right away, which was a huge relief! We are working on potty training, and she already knows the command “kennel,” and almost knows “sit.” Eventually we will get to the other ones. 🙂

I also got a new job that I am absolutely loving! It’s part time, so I am also pursuing my photography business more.

In other news, our basement makeover is definitely taking a lot of time to get done, and we have changed the plans a little bit. We got the floor leveled, we painted the floor with Drylok Masonry Waterproofing paint, and have painted a few of the walls. We have had a couple of estimates to re-do all the plumbing and will need to also have an electrician come in to update electrical.

Our bathroom update that we wanted to start in October still hasn’t been done, but those plans have also changed. The biggest part of that update was to install a 6 foot whirlpool tub because my husband has a bad back. After talking with a plumber and opening the box to the tub we bought, he told us that the tub we bought is a drop-in tub and wouldn’t work in our bathroom. He told us we could exchange it though, and they would happily install the correct one.

So, we found a new tub online and were going to exchange it. But then, in a moment of clarity, my husband said, “Why don’t we put the tub in the basement.” DUH, why didn’t we think of it sooner?!?

So today, we scouted out where we would put it in the basement, and we concluded that we will turn the sump pump room, otherwise known as the dungeon room, into our spa!!IMG_1094 IMG_1092 IMG_1091

Can’t you see it now?! This is going to be a super fun makeover. It will COMPLETELY transform the space!

So, since we are trying to lighten up the basement, the walls and floors will be white….and also because the Drylock masonry waterproofing paint only comes in 3 colors and I really only want to use white, lol!

The tub surround will be white subway tile with black grout because I will never stop loving subway tile and I don’t want to clean grout 😉 I will also be adding lots of greenery and artwork!

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I recently bought a stencil that resembles the cool cement tile that’s so in style, so I hope to paint the floor like this:

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And I of course want to add subtle country details, like this beautiful bouquet in a pitcher:

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And this pallet shelf:

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Anyways, I hope to keep up this blog a little better now that I have more time, and I feel like I have so much more to say. Life is beautiful, terrible, and so amazing all at once, and I know that I am meant to make a difference in some capacity. Someday, I hope this blog turns into something that reaches lots of women.

Until next time.

The Randall Homestead’s Biggest Pain in the Ass

If you read the title of this post, you know what you’re getting yourself into. You’re about to hear a long story about the worst room of our house.

Are you ready to go on this trip down memory lane with me?

Here we go.

This is how the basement looked when we bought it:

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Ugly green grass like carpet, boob lights, and the other side, which isn’t shown, was just a big nasty room with a washer and dryer.

We immediately took the green carpet out, leveled the floor, and added vinyl flooring. We also turned this section of the basement into a bar/game room. Little did we know, all of our hard work would go to waste.

The last week of May, 2013, the week before our wedding, it started raining. And raining. And it didn’t stop. And our basement flooded. ONE WEEK BEFORE OUR WEDDING. Talk about a buzzkill!

So unfortunately, we had to cut the drywall. At this point, we didn’t pull up the vinyl flooring, even though we should’ve. We thought it would be fine, and we didn’t want to waste the $1000 we spent on it!

So we contacted the insurance company, and replacing the drywall was covered, so we got estimates to  do this project. But luckily, we never did, because our basement has flooded EVERY YEAR.

Along the way, we updated one of the dungeon rooms, took a wall out to make the basement feel bigger, ripped out the vinyl to find that there was mildew underneath it, I scrubbed the floor and then ended up staining it. Here are a few photos so you can see what we’ve had for about 3 years.

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With that said, I am excited to announce that this complete pain in the ass part of our house is our next big project!! In a 1200 sq. ft. house, every little bit of space is important, and we really need this space to work for us!

Here are the plans:

The new layout

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We need the basement to VERY multi-functional, as you can see in my little drawing, but I am confident we can make it work.

Here are photos of the basement from the past few days.

As you walk down the stairs, there used to be a door to the laundry room door to the left. We have taken this door out, and we will be making that a wall.

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The old door placement, closer up.

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The new door placement-we widened it because we usually have to bring in pretty big objects and we’re tired of having to take things apart to move them. We are also going to forego a traditional door and put a sliding barn door here 🙂

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And here is the MESS that is our laundry room right now!! No organization, dark, and dungeon like. We are going to change that!

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Here is what’s slated for the remodel:

We are attempting to make sure that this basement floods NO MORE. We have a concrete crew coming in on Monday to level the floor. Once the concrete is done, we are going to drylok the floor so that we don’t get water in that way.

Plumber is coming on Tuesday to fix all of our leaks (see all the buckets?! Yeah, we have a large leak!) He will also give us an estimate for putting in a half bath and will also bring a plug for the drain that causes the flooding…because apparently that’s all it would’ve taken all along!

In the photo, you can barely see, but there are 3 spots where there used to be windows. On the outside of the house, these windows have been covered by foam foundation insulation. We are going to cut the insulation and put in NEW windows so that there is natural light down here. This is the south side of the house, and the sun is ALWAYS shining here.

Do you see the door in the back of the photo? That’s the sump pump room. While it’s incredibly gross, we think we can make it work for storage and a canning room. We will be cleaning that up, dryloking the walls and floor, and adding windows.

Here is the inspiration for my design plans:

We are going to update the stairway to look like this:

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This is the barn door inspiration from Jenna Sue Design blog, one of my FAVORITE design blogs! She used actual reclaimed barn wood to build this.

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We’re going to paint the ceiling, which is my least favorite thing to do in the whole world, so hopefully I can pay someone to do this for me!

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The following photos showcase the mood I’d like for the laundry room: light, airy, and fresh.

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We are also going to do this checkboard pattern on the floor 🙂

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For this project, I am going to try out Magnolia Paint from Joanna Gaines. My first sample is on its way!!

The other side of the basement will be the gym and game room and will definitely flow from the laundry room, but will have a different feel. We will talk about that once the laundry room/workroom/studio is finished 🙂

So, what do y’all think? What are your favorite design ideas?

Thanks for reading!

 

The Witch Movie Discussion

SPOILER ALERT. I will be discussing plot in this post, so if you haven’t seen the movie and want to, wait to read this post.

Today is Beltane, a Wiccan holiday celebrating the springtime and fertility, however today is gloomy, cold and rainy. I was doing chores outside until it started raining, so I figured I would warm up by making soup and watching a movie that I have been dying to see: The Witch-A New England Folktale.

the witch movie poster

I’ve heard a lot about how well done the movie was, so I have been waiting to see it. However, once the movie was over, I realized that I had to blog about it.

The synopsis of the movie reads: New England, 1630: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. ‘The Witch’ is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own fears and anxieties, leaving them prey for an inescapable evil.

I’d like to delve a little deeper into the plot. The eldest daughter, Thomasin, is the main character of the movie, and the main person that everyone thinks is the witch, despite how innocent she seems. In the early part of the movie, she is playing peek-a-boo with her baby brother when all of a sudden, he disappears. After his disappearance, we see a naked woman with the baby, then all of a sudden she is rubbing blood all over her body, and one can conclude that she has murdered the baby.

Father William and son Caleb spend days searching for her, and mother Katherine is so grief-stricken that she doesn’t sleep and can’t stop crying. Emotions are high, and everyone blames Thomasin for the baby being stolen. The smaller children, Jonas and Mercy, seem very mischievous, always chanting and running around and giggling. They say that the Black Phillip (a black goat) talks to them and is the devil, but since they are so little and full of energy and mischief, no one thinks much of it.

Bad things continue to happen, including crop failure and the family silver comes up missing. Katherine believes that Thomasin has sold her soul to the devil, but William does not. Caleb ventures into the woods on his own, and he comes across the witch’s house. Needless to say, she takes him. The family is devastated by another loss, but then Thomasin finds him laying naked in the rain, and he is “bewitched.” By this time, William has started to agree with his wife: Thomasin must be a witch.

Eventually, Caleb dies after a psychotic episode.

caleb dyingAfter this, William can’t decide which of his children or the goat is the witch, so he locks them all in a barn outside. That night, the witch comes into the barn and starts to feed off of the cow. As this is happening, Katherine has a vision that her deceased children are there with her. She starts to breastfeed the baby, and then it turns out to be a crow pecking at her breast.

When William goes outside, the side of the barn has been destroyed, the two little children are dead, and Thomasin is the only one alive. Then, the Black Phillip charges William and he dies. Katherine begins to attack Thomasin, and in self-defense, she takes a knife and kills her mother.

Thomasin then goes in the house, covers herself in a blanket, then falls asleep. She wakes up and begins talking to the Black Phillip, asking him to talk to her like he talked to her little brother and sister. And just when you think she’s gone off the deep end, he does start speaking to her. The Black Phillip is indeed the devil, and then she indeed signs her soul away to him.

thomasinShe then walks into the forest, naked, and finds a group of other naked witches dancing around a fire. They all begin to levitate high among the trees, and Thomasin is laughing as she begins to levitate too.

End of movie.

I really enjoyed the movie, but the ending really pissed me off. I don’t always get pissed by inaccurate portrayals of witches, but this one really got me.

The horrific truths of life as a Puritan in the 1600s made this inaccurate portrayal of witches especially terrible. Let’s take a look as to why a folktale like this was created in the first place.

When the pilgrims came to America, they did so in order to practice their religion freely. They believed that the Church of England was no longer following Jesus’ teachings, and so they left. Most of the pilgrims practiced Calvinism, or the denomination of Christianity that followed John Calvin’s teachings. So, one can imagine that since the pilgrims risked their lives to find a new place to live where they could practice their religion, clinging to their religion would be of utmost importance. Furthermore, trying to survive in a new world where the group of people completely rebuilds their culture and society requires extremely rigid societal roles to be kept. Folktales like the one presented in the movie helped to keep people within their societal roles, and provides a scapegoat. If something bad were to happen, it gives the people something to blame and it also gives a sense of control. When things go wrong, you can pray or do a sacrifice to God, allowing you to feel like you are being proactive in a chaotic situation. It also keeps people safe: If you believe there is a witch in the woods, you’d stay out of the woods, which would also protect you from real evils, such as wolves, bears, hurting yourself and getting infections, which was a huge cause of death, etc. Finally, folktales like these also serve as a good boogeyman story to tell your children in order for them to behave or to buy into the religious/societal rules that they need to follow.

I guess the main reason I am so upset about this movie, though, is not just because it doesn’t accurately depict witches, but because up until the end, the movie is a great psychological thriller highlighting the horrible truths of Puritan life. The death of livestock and the failure of crops are legitimate causes of death in the 1600s. Children being snatched by wolves or bears, children dying from exposure or from being lost in the woods too long are real dangers. But a young girl signing her soul away to the devil is not real. The sudden change of direction does not sit well with me, and I am really tired of that being how witches are portrayed.

Here is the truth about modern witches. We are just like everyone else. We are your neighbors, your committee members, we are daughters, sisters, mothers. We worship (a term I use lightly) nature. We feel connected to the Earth and the natural rhythms of the Earth. We believe that all things are one and that we are all connected. We find power through creating. We in fact do some “witchy” things, like creating our own products, or potions, and hold ceremonies, or do spells. We find strength in sisterhood and the lineage of the women who have come before us. We are sexually liberated. We do, on occasion, dance naked under the moonlight or around a fire, but only as a celebration. Witches do not worship the devil, or even acknowledge the existence of the devil. We believe that there is good and evil in the world because nature is both. Sometimes, one creature must die in order for another creature to live. It’s the circle of life.

Overall, the movie is actually incredibly amazing. The plot elements are wonderful and the story is told so well. It’s intertwined so perfectly, and the more I think about it, the more wonderful it becomes. Perhaps I’m being too critical of this one aspect of the movie, especially since it’s not the first movie to capitalize on the inaccuracy of witchcraft, but these are my true feelings, and I just couldn’t keep silent this time.

Have you seen The Witch? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

The Great Kitchen Window Covering Caper!

Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated you  all on the completion of the kitchen update, phase 2, and also alluded to a great escapade I like to call the Great Kitchen Window Covering Caper. Honestly, I had no idea that the most difficult part of our kitchen would be the window covering, but alas, it was.

Before the kitchen update, I changed the window covering twice. I made make-shift cafe curtains first from black and white striped fabric, then from leftover pieces of a drop-cloth I used to make pillows. I honestly wasn’t planning on changing the curtains, but then my husband bent the cafe rod, and the drop-cloth looked dingy against the new beautiful white counter tops.

I decided that I wanted Roman Shades, but after researching the cost, I decided that this was definitely something I could DIY. So I headed over to Pinterest and found a plethora of DIY Roman Shade tutorials. THIS IS IT! I thought to myself. This is going to be so great. Not only am I going to save tons of money, but I will also make a tutorial! Little did I know this was the beginning of a fiasco.

I went to Wal-Mart and bought a $3 set of blinds and got to work on my DIY Roman Shade. Luckily I found a YouTube video on how to do this because the blog tutorials I found weren’t as clear as I had hoped.

Let me be clear-there was NOTHING good about this DIY Roman shade business. It was very unpleasant and tedious, and when I got done with it, it looked TERRIBLE. I used mod podge as the glue, which made the fabric very stiff, and the folds didn’t look elegant at all!!

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This is the only photo I still have from that sad, pathetic attempt. I hated it so much I deleted most of the photos.

After I got over the initial shock of the epic fail that was the DIY Roman shade, and the 2-3 hours I lost, I decided to just make a curtain.  I got overly anxious about my fabric choice, which took me about 3 weeks to decide on. I ordered the fabric online (vintage ticking gray ticking stripes) and excitedly waited for it to show up……

When the fabric showed up, however, I was not impressed. The fabric I received did NOT look like the fabric I ordered. Yes, it was ticking stripes, but the fabric itself was a bit yellowish and the stripes looked hunter green, NOT gray.

Whatever, I told myself. I will make this work!! I pinned the fabric, sewed, and hung. Once I hung it, though, I knew that I had made another mistake. This was NOT how I wanted this to look! By that point, I was about ready to throw in the towel.

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But I proceeded to try again. I had a left over sheet from our bedspread that I decided I would use to make another set up curtains, but after I cut the fabric and hung it to see what it would look like before I sewed, I really did throw in the towel. The window covering fiasco left me sad and defeated.

At this point, I was all out of DIY motivation. I found a Roman Shade from the Pottery Barn that I liked, and was even willing to spend the $200+ on it just so I wouldn’t have to worry about the damn shade anymore.

Then, I figured I’d check Ebay to see if they had it. LO AND BEHOLD, someone was selling one for only $125!!!!!!!!!!! I overflowed with joy at this discovery, and quickly purchased the shade. It arrived quickly, and was VERY easy to install.

BUT THEN….I realized that my new light doesn’t extend a lot, which meant that I would have to install the shade below it. FRUSTRATING!!

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So, this is a story that is not yet completed. We have decided that in order to make the light extend far enough out so I can put the shade at the top of the window, we are going to mount it on a painted board. But until I gather the gumption to do that, I am happy to know that I have a beautiful Roman Shade that lets the sunlight in, but blocks the view at night.

Everyone has DIY fails, everyone makes measurement mistakes, and sometimes it’s just best to suck it up and deal with it another day.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday!

La Rae

Kitchen Phase 2 is COMPLETE!!!

Hello!

In case you’re just joining us, I’d like to introduce you to the beginning of this project.

Here is our kitchen BEFORE.

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The Plan: To lighten up the area and give it a more light, airy feel, but without painting the cabinets.

So, I decided to get new, light counter tops, a new white, one bowl sink, new faucet, do a subway tile back splash, update drawer pulls and add cabinet knobs, and change the light fixture.

Here is the end of phase one: counter tops installed and we got a new sink with a new faucet. IMG_9901

After completing phase one, I was pretty exhausted, which is why it took me over a month to complete phase two. However, I knew I had to get it done, so one morning, I just decided to start it!

Subway tile is INCREDIBLY easy to do, especially if you have the right tools. 

Phase two took me about 15 hours total but would have taken less time if I would have had the right tools right away. This includes a wet saw.

I started the project using just a cheap tile cutter, which pretty much scores the top of it, and you break it. This took FOREVER, and there wasn’t any way to cut those wonky shaped tiles that go around the outlets, so I ended up needing a wet saw anyways. So just buy it and get it over with and use it!

So without further ado, here is the end of Phase Two: Subway tile has been completed, new outlet covers, drawer pulls and knobs have been installed, and we switched the light fixtures!

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The photos just don’t do it justice. It feels so beautiful in here now, and the subway tile made a HUGE difference.

I also wanted to experiment with mixing metals, and I used chrome and oil-rubbed bronze. I wasn’t sure about this at first, but now, I am loving it! The chrome scared me at first, but since it’s reflective, it truly gives that extra light I was looking for.

The kitchen still isn’t done, per se. I haven’t caulked the top or bottom seal of the subway tile yet, I’d like to paint the underside of the cabinets, and I am still working on the window covering (I will be writing an entire post on this escapade).

In case you are interested, here is a list of items purchased for this project-some of these are affiliate links, but are the actual items I bought and I LOVE them!

Outlet covers

Oil-Rubbed Bronze Cabinet Knobs

Chrome Drawer Pulls

Coffee Mug Rack

Sink

Faucet

Rug that is barely visible is from esalerugs.com, which is a seriously amazing resource if you are looking for a stunning rug! Highly recommend!

I will update you all again once the final items on my to-do list are completed, and I will be doing a few tutorial posts soon 🙂

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you are inspired to create your beautiful, supportive space.

xoxo,

La Rae

kitchen before and after phase 2

A Quiet Sunday Reflection

In the busyness of life, sometimes we forget to cherish the quiet moments. Over the years, I’ve taken lots of photos of life around the Randall Homestead and some have never been shared.  In between the rush, you can find little magic if you know where to look.

I am almost finished with the kitchen makeover, and am working on some other fun things for this blog, but I thought today I would simply share some of my favorite photos from my life to honor the moments of the in-between.

Chancey

 

cookies flower in sun grass drinking in the sunlight isis lavender and orange sunset Oliver sun sunset in nov 15 sunset sept 2015 sunshine peony chance sleepingflowers in sunlight succulent in teacup 1 lilacs 2 little blue flowers little leaf my hunny_edited-1 oliver on a walk in snow george wythsumma sunshine bw tomatoes 8 23 15 tulips 1 window sunset snow

Enjoy the little moments, and especially be aware when the little moments are happening. The moments make the life.

Happy Sunday, and I hope it’s filled with little magic.

Easing Into a More Natural Lifestyle

Hello, all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I figured I would write a super quick post near and dear to my heart.

One of my biggest passions is being a steward of the Earth, which means living more naturally, reducing my carbon footprint, and using natural products. I’m not perfect by any means, but in my opinion, any small change is a good one!

When I was starting out, switching over all at once seemed very overwhelming. I still am not to the point where I use completely natural/organic make up or clothes, but I have made many changes to my lifestyle.

Here is a small list of ways that you can ease your family into a more natural lifestyle, if you would like.


 

 

-Use Natural Cleaners

One of the first swaps I made in my house was cleaners. I used to use 409 or other harsh store-bought cleaners in my house, but now I use a mix of Dawn and vinegar. I don’t really measure it out…just whatever looks good to me. I use this mixture as an all-purpose cleaner, such as on the kitchen counters or stovetop, bathroom sink/counter, and even to clean up dog messes. It makes me feel better to use something gentle in my house.

Another fun cleaner I found while attempting to clean the rust off of my stainless steel stove. I recently replaced the cabinet pulls to chrome, and they are GORGEOUS. So shiny, so sharp!IMG_3479

But then I noticed how grimy and bad my stove looked. I looked online for new stoves, then realized that was really stupid. I realized I just had to put in some elbow grease with the right product. IMG_3482

I realized that of course, I wanted to use a natural product, so I googled my problem, and voila!

I found the solution!

Cream of Tartar and Lemon juice mixed into a paste, rub it onto the stove, let sit for a minute, then SCRUB, SCRUB, SCRUB!!!

I have to admit, this one had me a little out of breath. But just LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFUL IT LOOKS NOW!

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It may take a little more effort, but there are usually natural solutions to your problems.

-Switch to recycled toilet paper

This one took me a little longer to try. Like everyone else, I’ll admit, I was nervous to try recycled toilet paper. I didn’t know if the toilet paper was recycled, or if it was recycled paper. After a DUH moment, I decided to try. At that point, there was only 1 choice in the store for recycled toilet paper: Seventh Generation. Let me just say, it’s definitely not as soft as regular TP, and it was a little more expensive at $8-$9 for a 12 pack.

Then, another company showed up in Target: The Honest Company. All I have to say is, if given the choice, CHOOSE THE HONEST COMPANY. So soft, and less expensive at $6.99 for a 12 pack. This is actually the same price as the other TP I used to use, so it’s definitely a good choice for me!

-Stop using plastic grocery bags

This is my most recent flip. One day, I was getting the recycling ready and out came a MOUNTAIN of plastic bags. It was literally a mountain, and I was ashamed. This really made me decide to made the change.

Honestly, this was a super awesome decision because it was the project that finally made me learn how to use my sewing machine. The very first Earth Bag I made took 10 HOURS!! But after I figured everything out and then adapted the pattern to my liking, it went more smoothly.

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I have made over 20 of these bags, some for myself, some for others, and I feel so happy when I use them. Not only are they cute as a button, but they are truly making an impact on the Earth. A plastic bag takes between 20-1000 years to decompose, and it’s estimated that Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags. Let that sink in for a moment.

-Switch to a DivaCup (or other menstrual cup)

I devoted a whole post to this wonderful item for a woman’s Moon Time, so I won’t go into too many details again. If you are a woman that is still menstruating, PLEASE try the DivaCup, or other type of menstrual cup.

diva cups

Women menstruate 30-40 years, and in that time, she uses around 10,000 tampons. While tampons don’t take quite as long as plastic bags to decompose, they do take 6 months. Do not be afraid of the menstrual cup! Yes, it may take you a day or two to get used to it (just like when you started using tampons), but you will get it!

-Do you drink coffee every day? Use a reusable coffee filter! 

coffee filter

Another super easy switch that requires almost no effort is switching from paper filters to reusable filters. They usually cost about $5-$6 at the store and are well worth it!

-Use that Tupperware (or Gladware, whatever you prefer).

STOP USING PLASTIC BAGGIES!! Another useless thing that goes into the landfill.

 

-Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

The tried and true method of living naturally.

Reduce the waste you produce by following some of my guidelines above. This is really the most important, in my opinion, but not always the easiest.

Reuse items! Repurposing is all the rage right now, and shopping second hand is also reusing! Producing items costs resources. When you buy items second hand, you are helping to reduce the amount of resources used in the world.

Recycle everything you possibly can. I recycle all the normal items, but if I go out to eat, I recycle the containers they give me. I will recycle straws, the little plastic containers my contacts come in, hangers, etc.


 

Do any of these resonate for you? What do you think will be easy for you to change? What will be difficult? Leave me a message in the comments below!

 

 

 

Letting Go.

If you’ve seen my Facebook page in the past week, you’ve seen that I’ve really been attempting to tap into my creative side with various projects lately. Sometimes I simply don’t create art because I don’t have anything to do with it. I know this isn’t a good reason, but it was my reason for a long time.

A beautiful friend of mine had been doing a lot of painting, and I also attended one of those wine and painting places recently, which really inspired me to get back into it. There’s just something SO FREEING about painting that I absolutely love. While I’m not good at it, per se, I love creating.

One night, I put my little easel on the table and started painting. Words have also always spoken to me, so on that painting I wrote “Chase those dreams,” as a reminder to myself. I hung it proudly on my office wall, of course.

The next night, I was so excited to paint. I got out my easel and decided what colors I wanted to use. I even knew what words I wanted to write on this painting. I started painting, then walked away for a minute. When I came back, my husband was painting a little portion. I asked if he wanted to help, and he said yes.

So, he grabbed a brush, and started. But then I kind of freaked out a little bit because he was “messing up” my vision. In this moment of freaking out, a little voice in my head said….Let go.

let go

I don’t know if you’re like me, but sometimes we get so caught up in what we think should happen that we don’t let things just happen. We get so caught up in controlling everything that we miss the magic of the moment.

If I would’ve actually continued my freak out instead of calmed down and let my husband paint waves on my painting, I would’ve missed a huge opportunity for me to show him that he matters to me. We seem to forget how important little moments are to relationships. If I would’ve stopped him from painting, I probably would’ve moved on…but chances are, it would’ve chipped away a little bit at him.

I painted “Let go” on the painting and hung it next to my “Chase those dreams” painting because if we don’t let go, we may never get to see or receive the magic that life has in store for us.

So, what can you let go of today that might give you an opportunity to grow and bond with someone in your life?

Kitchen Phase 1-Done!

Sometimes when you get something you’ve wanted for a long time, you just can’t believe it.

Ever since we moved into this house, I have wanted to change the kitchen. Unfortunately, it was never on the top of our list, and I also didn’t have enough money to do the project. But now that Phase 1 of the kitchen renovation is done, I am just full of joy.

Here is a before photo of the kitchen:

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If you can remember, the cabinets, while not my favorite, are still in pretty good condition. That’s the only good think about this kitchen, though. The dark cabinets, black counter top, and stainless sink really make everything look very dark. While this might not bother everyone, we have a Great Room set up, and the other side of the room, the Living Room portion, is pretty light. So it creates a huge inbalance and the weight of the room is off.

Through the remodel, I wanted to lighten up the area while making it seem more sophisticated. Originally, I wanted to have farmhouse decor, but I’m not really sure now. Now that I’ve gotten so many new pieces that are what I truly love, I’m not sure that’s the direction that I am going to take. It’s ok to change your mind with your decor!! We will just see where it goes.

So far for this project, we’ve spent (all costs include tax and are rounded up for ease):

Counter tops (Carrara Biano laminate with Principal edge, from Menards): $406

Sink: $164

sink 1

Faucet: $104

faucet

Cabinet hardware (not shown): $63

Light (not yet purchased): FREE (thanks to a Menards 11% rebate from sink and counters!)

Subway tile/supplies: Already have from bathroom remodel

Total: $736

I also sold the old counter top for $20, am working on selling the old sink for $20, old drawer pulls for $5, and I will sell the light for probably $20. If this all happens, then I will be under budget!!

About the process:

I did this project because my hubby has a bad back/his ribs keep coming out of place, so he wasn’t confident in starting the bathroom. I of course intended to do this project all myself, but I realized quickly that I couldn’t do it all myself when I felt how HEAVY the counters were…SO FREAKING HEAVY!!

Anyways, I took the old sink out myself rather easily, and also took the old counter tops out myself too, which wasn’t easy, but also not hard. I did break the cabinet a little, but nothing a little glue couldn’t fix.

My husband had to help me when it came to putting the new counters on, and luckily our friend was also here to help. It took all 3 of us to finagle the put together “L” portion of the counter top on. It took only about 2 hours for us to get the new counter tops in, which I thought was pretty darn good!

So with that all said…….are you ready to see the new counters?!?!?!?!

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HERE IT IS!!!

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Sorry that these photos aren’t better….I haven’t really had time to style or anything, and this is how it looks from day to day anyways. It’s nice to live in la-la-land and think that people don’t have shit all over their counters, but we all know they do.

So, there you have it!! Phase 1 of the kitchen remodel is DONE!! And it honestly wasn’t event that hard!!

Phase 2 will consist of: putting all the new drawer/cabinet pulls on, putting the new light in, doing the subway tile backsplash, and then getting new outlet covers (because as you can see, there aren’t any…). I will probably tackle these projects in a few weeks, and the tile will give me some practice for the bathroom. 🙂

Thank you for reading this post! In the comments, let me know what you think!

kitchen phase 1