One Room Challenge Week 2 – Girl’s Bedroom Design

One Room Challenge girl's bedroom redesign.

It’s the second week of the One Room Challenge. I’m working on an updated girl’s bedroom design for my nine year old daughter.

My goal is a slightly more grown up style infused with plenty of fun because I don’t want her growing up too fast! I’m also planning some new storage systems to help keep her room organized.

You can check out all the before pictures in this post.

Ideas to update a girl's bedroom.

The existing furniture is working well for the most part. As far as the bed, dresser and desk go, we’re in good shape.

She currently has two small Ikea shelving units that store books and toys. I’d like to exchange these for a larger unit for her books and incorporate toy storage into the closet system.

I’m on the hunt for new bedding and window treatments. I’ve been on the lookout for wall decor too. The to-do list is long, but apart from the closet and painting the walls, it’s not too labor-intensive.


Fun inspiration for a girl's bedroom design.

Hobby Lobby

Project to-do list

Paint Walls

Find window treatment

Buy bedding

Plan & install closet system

Wall decor/art

Find bookcase

Be sure to take a look at some of the other ORC guest participants here!

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Five Fantastic Podcasts

Over the past couple of years, I’ve started listening to a number of different podcasts. Podcasts are perfect for when I’m driving around running errands, doing mundane tasks at home, or when I’m taking a long walk with our dog. Today I’m sharing some of my favorites, both old and new.

Five awesome podcasts you should check out.

Five amazing podcasts that you should check out.

What Should I Read Next 

Anne Bogel is the author of the very popular blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the voice behind this fabulous weekly podcast. Both are chock full of book recommendations, which I appreciate as an avid reader. So many of the great titles I pick up are books I heard about from Anne. Each week she interviews a fellow book lover, asking her guest to share three books they love, one book they hate and what they’re reading now. After some discussion, she then gives the guest three book recommendations. If you need an endless to-be-read list, then I highly suggest you tune in.

Five amazing podcasts that you should check out.

God Centered Mom 

Heather MacFadyen is the mother of four boys, and she is the most humble, sweet-natured woman. Each podcast is designed to help other moms be the best they can be, by encouraging them to “replace me with He.” By making God the center of our lives, we give Him the power to make us the mothers that our kids need us to be. She interviews other moms, authors, child psychologists, and many others with a wealth of wisdom for all of us in the daily trenches of motherhood.

Five amazing podcasts you should check out.


I admit I was late to the game on this one. Friends told me it was great, but I waited a long time to check it out… and then I got completely hooked. IMHO, the first season is better than the second season, but both were very interesting. Note: this is not a family-friendly podcast. There’s some bad language and the content is not appropriate for children. Season one explores the 1998 conviction of teenager Adnan Syed in the murder of his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. The investigation and trial are broken down into weekly episodes focusing on specific aspects of the case. For example one week might investigate cell phone records or the timeline of the murder. It’s not as gritty as it sounds, and each episode had me convinced that Adnan was either guilty or not guilty. You’ll have to listen and decide for yourself.

Five awesome podcasts you should check out.

Pantsuit Politics

With Sarah Stewart Holland representing the left and Beth Silvers on the right, these two ladies address current events and political issues with the grace and mutual respect that we all deserve. They prove that you can be on opposing sides of the political fence and still discuss issues without hostility. I appreciate that the goal of this podcast is to talk through both sides of current events, presenting facts and opinions, without descending into angry battles. It’s proof you can share your own thoughts on controversial issues without trying to convince another person that they are wrong. If you’re interested in politics, you should try this one for sure.

Five awesome podcasts you should check out.

Sorta Awesome

I recently discovered this podcast while listening to the main host, Megan Tietz, as a guest on What Should I Read Next. Sorta Awesome is a cornucopia of inspiration. There are a few different cohosts and they cover a large variety of topics. For example, the last episode I listened to was “8 Habits that Build a #HappyAwesomeLife.” The hosts also share the “Awesome of the Week” each episode, where they each share something that’s making life a little better, more inspiring, etc. I love the upbeat vibe and the variety in this show.

Whether you’re already devoted to your favorite podcasts or you have yet to dive into the podcast pool, these five are great starting points. Each has a distinct focus and I enjoy them for vastly different reasons. I hope you find one that you like!

What are your favorite podcasts?

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One Room Challenge Week Three – The Living Room

It’s week three of the One Room Challenge with Calling It Home and things are happening! You can see the before (and the way before) pics of our living room here in week one’s post. Last week I shared the basic furniture layout that I planned.

Take a peek at my design plan for our living room as part of our One Room Challenge makeover.

The only part that my husband wasn’t really on board with was the tall shelving that would go against the far wall. He felt like it might be too much for the space. Since he mostly lets me make the decorating decisions in our house, I try to respect his opinion when he voices it. So instead we’re going with the shorter Billy bookcases from Ikea. These shelves are pretty basic so I’m planning to use a combination of this tutorial and this one to give them a little extra appeal.

billy bookcase

My curtains arrived, but unfortunately one of the panels has a stain so I’ll have to send them back. Luckily, is pretty speedy so it shouldn’t hold things up. I’m still working on finding the right sofa for this room. I go back and forth about the size. Once the bookcases are assembled and in place, I’m hoping it will give me some guidance. FYI if you’re in the market, Joss and Main is having a big sofa sale today with some great options!

I’m feeling great about where this room is headed. Things seem to be coming together little by little. Because life would be boring if we only had one thing going on (insert eye roll,) we’re also painting our house next week. I’m so excited to have the outside spruced up! Don’t forget to go check out some of the other ORC guest participants!

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Last week we went to the pumpkin patch. Not our regular pumpkin patch, but a big time, fancy-schmancy place that took 45 minutes to get to from our house. Forty. Five. Minutes.

We started strong. The drive was a little long but we had excitement on our side so there wasn’t too much complaining. When we arrived, it was busier than I expected. Then the nice lady taking our money handed us our tickets and told us the next hayride was at 1:00… two hours later! The web site stated that hayrides run every half hour, but she explained that they had a few class field trips that had reserved hayrides for their group. Umm, that would have been nice to know. I probably could have called ahead, but given that this was the tail end of two weeks of fall break from school, I was not bringing my A game to this adventure. So here we were with two hours until we could go on a hayride and drumroll please… NO LUNCH.

That’s right ladies and gentleman, I am a seasoned mother of two young children who did not pack a lunch for this occasion. #momfail I have been in countless situations where after having eaten only an hour previously, my children have acted as if they were on the brink of starvation so if you’re thinking “who is this amateur?” I don’t blame you.

As luck would have it, the farm/pumpkin patch had a snack bar. A cash-only snack bar. Guess what else Mother of the Year didn’t have with her?? You got it. No cash. I drove to the outer banks of God-knows-where with two small children, no food and $0.76 in change. #momfail

You guys, desperate times call for desperate measures. We played for a while.  We looked at all the interesting farm-y sorts of things. Then we got our hands stamped for re-entry and we drove back to the very edge of civilization and we ate at Burger King. Now, we’re not the type of family that never eats fast food, but for some reason BK always seems like one of the low men on the drive-thru totem pole. But I’m telling you, we might as well have been at the best restaurant in town. My kids were ecstatic about the paper crowns they received with their kids meals. Everyone’s energy and spirits soared… at Burger King.  It’s dumb I know, but I felt extra guilty and really wanted to accidentally forget the crowns and toys so there wouldn’t be any evidence to remind me of my shortcomings. Alas, my kids held onto those cheap trinkets like the Holy Grail.

After lunch we returned to the farm and went on the 15 minute hayride where we bounced along as we learned all about dairy cows. We picked out our little pumpkins and hightailed it out of there. I felt an odd mix of both satisfaction and guilt at our crazy visit to the pumpkin patch/dairy farm. I was proud for having stuck it out and happy that my kids seemed to have enjoyed themselves, but I couldn’t shake my irritation at having planned this outing so poorly.

Later that day, after relaying the story to my husband, I started wondering why I was struggling with so much momguilt over having a couple bumps in the road. Why do we, as parents and as mothers in particular, hold ourselves to such high standards and at what point do our expectations become unreasonable?

No one is perfect. We know this, and yet the digital world at our fingertips often gives us reason to believe the opposite. We see carefully crafted photos on Facebook, perfectly tidy and staged homes on Pinterest, and an endless parade of pretty images on Instagram. We know the reality behind all these images is not perfection, and yet we still raise the bar and set our sights on higher standards for our own lives. While it can be wonderfully motivating, should we really be beating ourselves up because our pantry isn’t immaculate or because we didn’t turn our child’s school lunch into a beautiful woodland scene made from food?

The truth is that the mom who creates those wonderfully creative lunches has flaws too. Maybe her house isn’t particularly well-kept or she’s chronically late. Maybe she’s incredibly disorganized and forgetful. None of those things makes her less valuable as a mother, just as her lovely school lunch creations don’t give her a one-up on a mom who can’t include “makes woodland creatures out of cheese” on her resume.


Some moms are organized. Some are creative. Some are great cooks. Some are talented with a sewing machine. Not one of them is perfect at all things all the time. We are masters at portraying ourselves in the best light possible and social media makes it easier than ever before. We share the picture of our family’s happy, smiling faces at the beach, but we don’t post photos of the argument that took place just minutes later. I’m not suggesting we start sharing all the disasters with the world, but let’s also remember to take what we see online at face value. A perfectly staged living room is just that. It’s meant to be inspirational, not to make us feel crappy because our own living room looks lived in.

What if we let ourselves off the hook for our #momfails at least some of the time? Were my kids more affected by the fast food lunch we ate or the moment when I snapped at them out of frustration with myself? I know the answer. You know the answer. So let’s agree to give ourselves and each other a break once in a while. I’ll look the other way when your kid shares that they pulled their t-shirt from the dirty hamper because the laundry wasn’t done and you can ignore the fact that my kid has a disposable snack bag in their lunchbox today. Chances are they’ll both turn out just fine.

{Linking to Just A Girl & Her Blog, Think & Make Thursday}

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Five Fantastic Fireplaces

fireplace inspiration

Clockwise from top left: Source Unknown, Simply Inspired Design, ZillowThe Lilypad Cottage, Jenna Sue Design Co.  

If you’ve been following along with my One Room Challenge posts, you know that our fireplace is in need of a complete redesign. When we first had all the demo done in our new house, we knew that we would redo the fireplace at some point so we had the old brick taken out.

We didn’t have a game plan yet so instead of rushing into it, we waited. And waited. And now finally, nine months after moving in, we’ve found some much-needed fireplace inspiration.

The Fireplace Before

The original fireplace was not at all my style and definitely didn’t fit with my overall vision for our home. (FYI this is the picture from our walkthrough before we bought the house.)

old fireplace

In Progress

Since then, our den has been a little bit in limbo. I didn’t want to make any big decisions about furniture until we had a layout in mind for the fireplace since it’s such a focal point in the room. Here it is in all its current glory…

fireplace demo

We decided on the stacked stone option on the left and the fireplace surround will be square, rather than rounded like the original.

Design Inspiration

Although we debated about also having a wooden surround framing the stone, we’re going with just stone like the picture below (source unknown).

fireplace inspiration

I love this one from Jenna Sue Design Co. I love the giant hearth and the stacked stone that continues to the ceiling! Our space doesn’t allow for such a dramatic option, but it’s really beautiful and makes such a statement in this large room.

Size-wise our fireplace is comparable to this next one, but without the lovely symmetrical windows flanking either side. Ours has the sliding door to the back yard on its right and open space to the left that will house a media/display cabinet to hopefully balance out the space a little better.

If there’s one place I’m always sure to find inspiration, it’s The Lilypad Cottage. Kelly has great taste and I love her fireplace redo. They used Airstone to makeover their existing fireplace surround and it turned out great, as you can see in this next picture.

My final inspiration photo comes from Simply Inspired Design. This was the first inspiration pic I pinned when I was looking for ideas and originally I planned on a very similar look for our fireplace.

I really like the classic style of the mantel and we’ll be doing  a similar frame around our TV. One thing I really dislike about having the TV above the fireplace is how it seems to be just floating and this design solves that problem.

I’m really excited to get this project finished and see how it turns out. Be sure to check back as we move forward on the One Room Challenge!

Update: See our completed fireplace reveal here

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