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Hi.

Welcome, friends! This here slice of the Internet revolves around lattes, bookshelves, Pinterest, Emily Henderson, white wine spritzers, China, brass anything, passports and my sweet family. Grammar and important worldly events? Not so much. Consider yourself warned.

I See Dead Projects

I See Dead Projects

On any given day when I look around my house, I basically want to jump off a cliff. In every nook and cranny in my house, there is a project. Something that needs to be done. Something that needs to be put away. Something that needs to be rehung or dusted or tossed or superglued. Something that was started, but remains unfinished. Or…there is something dying. And just to address the creep factor head-on, the things that are dying are of the botanical variety…not people or animals or my love for lattes. Those things are all very much alive and well.

All this unfinished bidness will make you crazy if you let it. If you focus on it, you will no longer know joy. You will no longer be able to feel rays of sunshine on your face or the wet nose kisses of newborn puppies. You won’t even be able to taste chocolate. Do not underestimate the power of focusing on these dead projects. They will steal your soul and before you know it you will be sleeping under a bridge, binge-eating on cat food that you found in a dumpster.

And nobody wants that.

Herein lies the dilemma: You have a stack of things that need to get done (but for x, y and z reason can’t get done right this second) AND you strongly dislike the taste of cat food. What do you do?

If you are me, you wear a pirate patch over one eye so that you can only see half the undone projects in your field of vision at any given time.

Nah. Just kidding. That would be ridiculous, right?

A blindfold and a cane, however, would work wonders, I reckon.

No seriously…the trick to not losing your mind over these dead projects is to celebrate the little things.

Yes, that plant over there no longer has leaves on it but…Look! I put away the groceries! YAY ME!

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And yes, that frame has been sitting on the ground for over a year now waiting to be hung up, but never mind that, we finally bought a rug for the bedroom! Yahoo!

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And no, after almost 9 months of life, Finley’s room is still not complete and there is not one framed picture of her in our entire house but, hey, she is alive…so that’s something.

Benson2014 (12 of 23)

Benson2014 (12 of 23)

It is the little things people. Treat these little things like major accomplishments and you will save your soul. Ignore them, and you will suffer greatly.

So with that, I present to you some little accomplishments that are keeping me (somewhat) sane:

1. Our bookshelf in the family room got a wee makeover.

Here is the before:

Is it healthy to love an inanimate object so much?

Is it healthy to love an inanimate object so much?

Not bad, right? But add some color and it is just better:

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2. The shelves above the T.V. also got a little nip and tuck.

The before:

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And after:

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Very subtle changes but (and I know how insane this is going to sound) these little tweaks have brought so much joy to my life. The arrows, the succulents in the wood-boat thingy, the “Kindness is the new black” print. I heart them so much. And yes, the wall color also changed (and will likely change again) because I am cray-cray like that.

3. Our window sill is alive.

This window sill has always perplexed me. I have never known what to do with it. It used to just collect randomness:

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So I cleaned it up. But then it just looked so sparse and boring:

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Then a miracle happened. Because I have a black thumb, many of my plants were dying (gardening tip: plants need light and water). In an attempt to salvage the remaining few, I started to move them, plant by plant, to the window sill, until I was left with this:

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Yup. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

I don’t know about you but I’m kinda digging the whole jungle look. Most designers would probably tell me I need to edit. And to them I say, “Pshhhh. The plants will edit themselves”. Trust me on this. Give them 3 weeks and we will be back to a reasonable number for a window sill. Natural selection baby.

4. This corner is on it’s way to awesome.

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the corner in our dining room looked like this:

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But that made me so severely depressed, so I slapped some lipstick on it:

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Admittedly, a cheap fix. But it did the trick for a little while.

Then we inherited this baby:

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And this baby:

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Having a clothes dryer and an espresso machine in your house in Beijing is basically equivalent to driving a Lexus. Is it necessary? No. Is it amazing? Yes. Are your friends totally jealous? 100%.

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We have big plans for this little corner but already it is proving to be the most beloved corner in our house.  It produces soft towels and strong lattes…what’s not to love?

5. Our Bedroom is not totally offensive.

A million years ago, I told you that we were going to be redoing our bedroom. We were going to: paint, rip down the chevron wall paper, upgrade from using laundry baskets as nightstands to actual nightstands, buy a rug, hang pictures…yadda, yadda, yadda. The list was long.

Here is a picture of our bedroom before we painted and before we realized that the wallpaper was mildly nauseating:

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Here it is after painting but pre-wallpaper removing:

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Since then we actually have accomplished a lot of the stuff on our list. We removed the wallpaper and bought an awesome Chinese screen to act as a make-shift head board. We bought some cheap nightstands, which admittedly I hate, but they are better than laundry baskets, right?

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We got some pillows made and started to hang some pictures:

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We even bought a rug:

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Yup. Our bedroom is definitely less offensive. Still, it is not even close to done (I’m looking at you weird shoe-bench thing) but let’s celebrate the progress, shall we? And seriously, don’t you just want to eat that screen and rub it all over your body? It is so yummy and delicious. Maybe my best China purchase to date.

6. Beau’s Room is coming back to life.

I am pretty sure that Beau’s room has been redone about 82 times since we moved in. It used to look like this:

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And then we repainted it because it was just WAAAAY too dark and it looked like this:

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as

as

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And then it sat there like that for almost a year. The walls all naked and exposed.

Well, I am happy to say that yesterday we put an end to that indecent exposure. We, once again, rearranged the furniture in his room, hung some shelves and pictures and made some additional plans for the space.

Here is a sneak peek of the work in progress:

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as

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I know what you are thinking, “That doesn’t look like progress, that looks like a hot mess!”.  You are right. It is a hot mess. But I promise you, we are on the road to awesome in that little room. And remember, haters, our goal here today was to celebrate the little triumphs. My children need their mother. Please don’t send me over the edge.

So, to all of you out there standing on that ledge of dead project insanity, firstly please know that you are in good company. Secondly, I’m giving you some homework: Go home and tally up all the little accomplishments you have made today or in the past few months. They can be as little as: taking your dog to get a haircut or cleaning out your sock drawer or, shit, even brushing your teeth. These things are important! Count them! And then pour yourself a glass of wine and feel proud of yourself. It is the only way to survive the mayhem.

If that doesn’t work, plan B is to purchase a blindfold and cane.

The Dining Room Doldrums

The Dining Room Doldrums

All 'bout that base(ment), 'bout that base(ment)....

All 'bout that base(ment), 'bout that base(ment)....