Holiday Home Tour 2017 (Living Room)

It's Christmas house tour time!

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We've had our halls mostly decked since the weekend before Thanksgiving.  It's been our tradition for the past 5 years or so.  We travel for Thanksgiving so we decorate the Sunday before and just pretend it's not there until we leave mid-week (because who wants to overshadow Thanksgiving? Mmmm, pie.). And then we come home to a Winter wonderland!  

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(Do you spy the dog looking for leftovers in Clark's booster seat?  Nothing but professional photos around these parts.)

Part of couch buying decision making process included making sure we had room our Christmas tree.  It works really well in this spot.  First holiday crisis avoided.

We've got the decorating of the 12' tree down to a science. We did have a fuse issue that left the top half of our tree dark for a few days but all is well again. Phew. Second holiday crisis avoided.

The ornaments are nothing fancy and there's a concentration of them unevenly spaced at the bottom. Everyone asks how we keep Clark out of the tree.  We have a few kid friendly ornaments picked out that Clark is allowed to move around. He's a rule follower like his parents so this is working to our advantage. He keeps repeating "Mine decorated that. Hang the ornaments."  It's pretty darling.  He is quite bossy though and demands the lights on during his awake hours.  No arguments here.

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We splurge on fresh garland for the mantel.  The smell is worth every single penny. Nate and I both agree it's not Christmas until there is pine smelling garland in the house!  And a mess of pine needles on the floor.

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I really hate clutter so I replace a few items that normally live on our bookshelves with some vintage finds. Like that elf.  He's not one of those hipster trouble making elves. He's old. And doesn't move and has zero magical powers. I will not succumb to elf peer pressure.  (This is more of a pep talk for my future self.)

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Ike is dreaming of dog bones and day where he isn't bossed around by a toddler. 

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I'll share some other spots around the house later this week or next. Until then here's a peek into our kitchen. 

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SHOP THIS POST/RELATED POSTS

I hope you enjoyed the tour! I'll be back with more once I'm done watching like ten terrible Christmas romance movies on Netflix (Hit me up with your recommendations)!  I'm clearly terribly busy so this post may need to wait until next week.

Gift Ideas for Women

Today I'm sharing some items on my Christmas wish list.  Just like my toddler, I need none of the following items but it's fun to dream!

First up, a couple items from the Hearth and Hand line at Target. Like every other 30-something in America, I will take one of everything from Joanna's line. These towels and blanket are at the top of my list. Oh, and all of the candles. Then there is the cross pillow. I actually just purchased a few of these for our basement and I'm obsessed. I thought you might be too!  Speaking of our basement (which I can't wait to share!), I'm looking for some unique prints and this Stranger Things poster fits the bill!

Hand Towels, Blanket, Pillow, Stranger Things Print

I'm madly in love with both of these dresses from Amazon. I already own one of each but I want them in all of the colors. They are super comfy and they have pockets. Need I say more. They are easy to dress up and down.  I also really want a clothes steamer which seems like the nerdiest gift. But ironing is terrible. 

Short sleeve dress, Long sleeve dress, Clothes Steamer

I've taken an interest in Hand Lettering and watercolors.  I own the Hand Lettering book and it's so good!  The brush pens and watercolor book are on my list!  I'm really into learning new skills lately and a 30 day challenge sounds like fun!

Hand Lettering 101, Tombow Brush Pens, Everyday Watercolor

I also enjoy shopping small for gifts.  This wallet from my friend Jen's shop (Paisley + Sparrow) is just the right size.  Everything in Jen's shop has a PURPOSE. This item's purpose creates sustainable business opportunities for women locally and globally.  I think these family portraits are perfection. Simple yet charming.  I'm really into big earrings lately and this shop has so many cute colors/patterns to choose from!

Wallet, Family Portrait, Earrings

What's topping your holiday wish list/giving list?

Gift Ideas for Toddlers

I figured since I went full on Christmas yesterday that we might as well keep the train rolling!  

I find a lot of great gift ideas from other bloggers so I thought I'd share what's on our wish lists this year.  Maybe you can find some Black Friday deals!

We'll start with the toddler edition. Keep in mind that my kid needs absolutely none of this.  Currently his favorite toys are an oven mitt and spray water bottle.  Both of which he pilfered from the kitchen. Oh, and my Swiffer duster.  Another hot item.  

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Play Kitchen and Cleaning

Last year we got Clark this KidKraft kitchen. It has been a hit. He really isn't into toys but he does play with this quite often. Probably because it appears to be an adult thing to do.

(Note: allow PLENTY of time to construct this kitchen. Nate is obviously very good at building and this still took him 3-4 hours. Also, I think I purchased this for around $75 during the Black Friday time period so keep an eye out for sales if it's on your list!)

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Beings the kitchen is a hit, I added a few accessories to his list. I love the Wood Eats products. We gave him the coffee maker for his birthday.  He's a pro at lattes now (if only they were real.....).  He's also crazy into cleaning. He received the Melissa and Doug Let's Play House set last year as a gift and it's probably his most used toy. I figured I might get my water bottle back if he has the kit below.

Wood Eats Pizza, Wood Eats Toaster, Wood Eats MixerMelissa and Doug Ice Cream Set,  Melissa and Doug Cleaning Set, KidKraft Chef Accessory Kit

Trucks and Blocks

Skid-steers, garbage trucks and fire trucks! Oh my! Trucks and building are a huge hit around these parts!

Garbage Truck, Melissa and Doug Emergency Vehicle Carrier, Melissa and Doug Construction Trucks, Melissa and Doug Vehicles Puzzle, Magna-Tiles, Blocks Set

Books

We read. A lot. These are a few titles that have been on my (I mean, Clark's) list for awhile. We check out Gotta Go, Buffalo from the library at least once a month so it may need to be added to our collection!

Gotta Go, Buffalo, Noisy Night, Triangle, Home, Lovely, Dinosaurs Love Underpants

Random Things

(How do you like that heading? I need another latte!)

These are random toys that I found that might entertain my kid for more than 30 seconds.

Posts of Christmas Past

Beings it has been a decade since I posted on the regular, I thought I'd share some of my favorite past Christmas projects! I know it's a *smidge* too early.  I'm not big on skipping holidays (especially ones as delicious as Thanksgiving) but I've been gathering some holiday ideas and thought you all might be too!

Here are some of my favorites:

How to Make a Christmas Wreath Trio

How to Make a Gnome (Or if you're not feeling crafty, buy one here!)

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I don't want you crafting while hangry so here are some delicious baked goods to whip up. And wine is never a bad idea. (Especially during the holidays! #amiright)

Andes Mint Cookies

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Simple Holiday Sangria

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What holiday crafts are you tackling? 

unique Christmas decor and the treats

Tips for Buying a Sofa Online (Article Sven Sofa Review)

Ordering anything online is always a gamble. But furniture? What kind of crazy person orders a couch they've never sat on?

This crazy person.

I posted last week about our new Sven couches from Article. Today I'm going to share with you my full review of the process along with tips to help you with your next online furniture purchase.

(This post is not sponsored. I wasn't even considering blogging again at the time of purchase (January 2017)!

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ORDERING

The actual ordering process was as easy as ordering toilet paper from Amazon. Add two sofas to cart. Check out. Boom. Confirmation e-mail sent. 

Things we considered before purchasing were a little more time consuming than a toilet paper purchase. Here's some factors to consider:

Reviews: Although the price was right on these stylish sofas, what is the quality actually like? Are they less expensive for a reason? Yes, I understand that they cut out the middle man but is that actually just a cover up? I Googled "Sven sofa reviews" and that search is lacking. I turned to the lovely Instagram.  I browsed Article's tagged photos and also searched #ourarticle. I found some Instagrammers (preferably ones that paid for them with their own dollars) that already owned the sofas to answer my quality questions. All had raving reviews.

Size: Will two giant couches fit in our living room? Should we go with the love seat size? To answer this, we mapped out the living room with painter's tape. The tape made it easy to see the footprint of the sofas. We also considered the height beings our floor plan is very open. We compared the listed height to the height of our previous sofas.  (Each sofa fits 3 people comfortably!)

Fabric: We live in our living room. This isn't just a pretty place to look at. We drive toy cars here. The dog sleeps here. We eat ice cream while watching Netflix here. These couches will be loved. The Article website states dry clean only. Will that work for us? Fabric choice was my largest gamble in this whole decision. (More below in Maintenance!)

SHIPPING

Our estimated shipping date was 3-4 weeks. Ours took closer to 8 weeks. Article had a two week delay out of their warehouse. They e-mailed me about the delay and also provided a credit for future purchases. A week after the expected two week delay, I still hadn't heard anything. I contacted Article and they quickly discovered the sofas were sitting in the local contracted delivery company's warehouse. The contracted company had failed to contact us. Article handled the whole issue quickly and the couches were delivered a few days after that. The delay wasn't an issue for us. My brother was taking our old couches and he didn't need them for another month.  I was honestly impressed at Article's customer service during the process. I assumed they would make me call the local company but they handled everything and were very apologetic. I would keep the possibility for delays in mind if you're needing your furniture right away. (Honestly this is something you'll more than likely have to deal with when ordering any furniture that doesn't come from the show room floor. I think every piece of furniture I've ever ordered had a delay in arrival. Maybe I just have bad shipping luck?)

DELIVERY/ASSEMBLY/RETURN POLICY

Our sofas were delivered in two giant boxes. (I wish I had a photo!) The sofas were well protected. The only assembly required was to screw in the feet. Extremely easy.  (It took us longer to unwrap them.)

Article has a 30 day return policy.  You have to keep the original packaging/boxes for returns. This could be a problem if you don't have a place to store two giant boxes. I'm talking take up part of the garage giant. It was a happy day when we took all of the packaging to the recycling center! We were instantly in love but definteily wanted to make sure they passed the 30 day test.

QUALITY/COMFORT

The category we were most concerned about!

We stinking love these couches. They are so comfortable. I feel like they mold to us but not in a saggy gross way. More in a loving hug way.  They're super soft. Nate and I were both honestly surprised with the quality.  

The frame is sturdy. The tufted seat bench is squishy but yet firm enough that it should age well. The back cushions fluff easily.  The bolster pillows work well enough for us that we don't feel the need to have extra throw pillows (which always end up thrown on the floor...because toddler).

MAINTENANCE

The cleaning aspect was actually my biggest hold up with regards to buying these sofas. We live with a toddler and dog. The Article website/customer service could only recommend dry cleaning because that's all they have tested. 

I would say they are  high maintenance but in a way that forces me to clean them on a regular basis.  I find that they need to be vacuumed once a week (which I should have probably been doing in the past anyways). We generally have Clark eat in the kitchen (even snacks) so I wasn't super concerned about food but we have had a few drink spills.  I also hadn't considered toddler snot in the equation. (Why are toddlers so adorably gross?)  After some Googling of maintenance of velvet upholstery, I found recommendations to use just the bubbles of dish soap to gently clean soiled areas and this has worked like a charm.  It's actually kind of like magic!

Would I purchase from Article again? ABSOLUTELY!  We actually purchased two chairs for the living room shortly after. More on those soon!

I hope this review helps some of you! Let me know if you have questions!

Living Room Updates

What do normal people with a toddler and dog do when it comes to furniture buying?  Oh, they don't buy new furniture?  Weird.  But what if they fall in love with beautiful blue velvet couches and their husband answers "Whatever, sure" when they ask if getting new furniture is in the budget. With that kind of answer, you totally buy all of the couches before said husband realizes what he's done.

Okay, we actually had a pretty lengthy discussion on whether or not buying new furniture with a toddler was a dumb decision and if it aligned with our current goal of paying off our mortgage in the next few years. I pulled up these lovely Sven sofas from Article and Nate was surprisingly totally on board.  I figured blue velvet and on-line ordering would rule him out. But he also liked the style, price point and the fact that we didn't have to step foot in a furniture store.  We're firm believers in creating a happy, stylish home that isn't dictated by a tiny person.  We decided to go for it.

I'll do a full review of ordering through Article next week. I mean, who buys a couch without sitting on it? The same crazy people buying new furniture with a toddler, I guess.  Spoiler: We're super happy with our purchase! (Let me know if you have specific questions you'd like answered in my next post!)

The couches are extremely comfortable and the upholstery is stunning. 

They spot clean easily (looking at you toddler snot) and the totally random bonus is that the Roomba can clean underneath them. Winning.

The couches have added just the right amount of quirk to our living room. (We've since added two Article chairs that I'll post about soon too. I started this post back in like March. #truestory)

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It's crazy to look back at our past living room decor.  It's fun to see how our space has evolved.  

I wonder how blue sofas are going to fair 10 years from now? Only time will tell but for now we love them! If nothing else, I'll think back fondly to the memories of our toddler wiping his nose on them while giggling and then kissing the dog.


Sources:

Remember Me?

Hi. Remember me? It's been a long time!  

I dusted off my laptop. Literally. I then proceeded to drop it on the floor.  It now makes this nasty crunching sound when I try to open it. It's possibly a sign I shouldn't start blogging again but I've never been good about paying attention to those sorts of things. I had to reset my blog password and remember how to use my blog platform.  It took me like a month to write this post. But dude, I'm back. I think.

Decor and the Dog is probably going to look a little different.  It will probably be a little more lifestyle (Ugg. I know, right?) and probably only once a week.  Consider yourself warned.  I do, however, have 2 years worth of house updates to catch you up on. (Okay, really one year because we literally did nothing the first year of Clark's life.) I can, in no way, keep up with the big guys that do it for a living. (Honestly, I don't want to. I'm exhausted thinking about it. The staging. The money.)  Just know there will be less. If this isn't your thing, I TOTALLY GET IT! Keep pretending that I don't exist! Cool? Cool!

You're probably wondering what we've been up to? (The 3 of you still reading this! Hey, Mom!) 

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I'm still working as a pharmacist but I've gone down to three days per week. This gives me a wonderful work/mom life balance. I work for a great company that has been very supportive of this decision. I honestly haven't been doing a whole of crafting/diy-ing in the past 2 years. My focus has been on raising our kid. Turns out babies are needy. Who knew? As Clark is becoming more independent, I've been slowly tackling a few projects. Bringing back the blog is one of those projects. I need a place to dump the words.

Nate took a new job over a year ago. Can we get a high-five for no more crazy tax season hours?!?  He's been so happy with the change. He's been busy with some building projects and keeping the rest of us out of trouble.

Clark is now 2. *insert cheesy crap about kids growing up too quickly/time flying/yadda yadda*.  The kid has a giant personality. He's a chatterbox that's in love with his dog, cleaning, and bossing us around.

We can't forget the most important, Ike. Ike is still living the life. He's spoiled rotten. He's refusing to believe that he's 10.5 years old and he's as spunky as ever!  He's currently stuck in a cone of shame after a mass removal (Benign! THANK GOODNESS!). He's enjoying having a tiny human to feed him things he shouldn't be eating and to throw his ball 1000 times a day.

I look forward to sharing more ahead! If you have questions, post topics, etc. Send them my way!  Who's still reading this? Tell me more about you! 

Colors, Costumes and Cookies

Colors, Costumes and Cookies

Fall is just the worst, isn't it? I kid.

We've been enjoying the Fall colors and the Halloween celebrations! The lovely NewlyWoodwards hosted a family party on Saturday night. We tried to help out the ol' Chicago Cubs.  Clark went as Clark the Cub Bear, Nate was Harry Caray and I went as the cursed Billy Goat. Clark and Harry tried to make peace with the goat but it appears we need more than dorky costumes to reverse the curse! Maybe it would help if I put more than 10 minutes of effort into our costumes. I always have such good intentions and then time gets away from me. Why?

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Big Boy Birthday Party (First Birthday Party)

Big Boy Birthday Party (First Birthday Party)

I warned Nate going into this whole parenting thing that everything I mother turns out to be a little quirky

Exhibit A: Ike.

Exhibit B: Our baby's favorite "toy" is an old Bob's Big Boy Burger bank.  Out of all of the toys in his nursery, his favorite thing to look at/play with is Big Boy.  "Big Boy" was even one of his first set of words. He only said it in a whisper which made it even more hilarious.

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