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I’m in France!

And I’m maybe just an eensy bit excited about it. An opportunity came up to go to Northern France, and while I wish Brandon were here with me (and that I could indulge in more than the tiniest sip of champagne while in the region), an amazing trip like this is not really the kind of thing you say no to.

Reims, France

Je parle seulement un peu français, but it’s coming back to me enough to get by. I’m visiting Reims, Dijon, and Poitiers as part of a sponsored campaign with the French board of tourism, and then extending the trip to visit Marrakesh and Paris too. I have some other content planned to share with you while I’m away, and of course I’ll recap the trip in a couple of weeks when I’m back. Until then, you can see some of what I’ll be up to on Instagram if you’re curious!

Making it Home

Let’s get rambly. Last weekend, I almost bought a couple of chairs for the back parlor, and then I decided against it. I’ve done this a bunch of times. I know — excitement and thrills! Hold on to your seats!

I’ve mentioned before that Brandon and I had set aside a budget for furniture when we bought this house, and I think we used it well. We bought a washer and dryer, a black and white striped sofa for the front parlor and a teal blue sofa for the back, a rug, and a media console. We’ve been working with what we already had from the last house too, of course, but this house is bigger and much different in style, and so there are some missing pieces. And those missing pieces are harder to justify spending a lot on, since we’ve already bought the main things and have gone through that initial furniture budget. Anything coming in now will be brought in a little at a time, and saved up for as we go.

This is exactly how we did things with the first house too, way back in 2007 at the beginning of this blog. The difference now though, is that I feel more pressure to do it all. Do it right! Do it big! Jules and I were emailing back and forth (chatting about something else), but she sent this gif in reply and it made me burst out laughing. It’s kind of appropriate here, so you get to enjoy it now too.

Go Big or Go Home!

Aren’t you glad? (Ack, it’s going to take a few posts before that gets pushed off the home page…)

But back to those chairs I almost bought. I love the idea of a matching pair of armchairs facing the blue sofa, which is what I was going for when I picked up the olive green scroll-arm chairs last winter. Then I got them home. They were a good deal, the scale was right, and the shape was interesting, but the color was off. Thankfully I didn’t lose any money on them (phew), and the mistake reinforced what I already knew, which was that I don’t like to make big impulse purchases. I like to fall in love with an item, then ponder it for a while. Sometimes I still love it, and it’s a go (like my blue sofa, which I thought and thought about for months before finally buying it on sale). Sometimes, I’m over it a couple of days later.

I often see chairs on Craigslist, in a thrift/resale/antique store, or on a flash-shopping site, and think I can make them work. I’m sure I could, and their easy to justify purchasing. The price is good! The deal won’t last! But then the more I think about it, I realize I’d be repeating the same mistake as with the green chairs. Something may be a great deal, but if the scale, shape, or color is off, I’m not going to be happy with the purchase long-term. And I’m not interested in rushing out to get a bunch of things for the sake of having a ‘finished’ room (self-induced pressure to do so or otherwise be damned). I’d rather wait and get it right. Maybe the right find will come along. Maybe it will mean saving up longer to buy the best quality I can. Either way, it’s going to take time. And I’m okay with that.

Actually, I’m more than okay with it. I’m enjoying the process! I love living here and experiencing the changing seasons in our house. I like being able to really think about how we can make it work best for our family. I may wish we had just the right chairs opposite a sofa, but if we need more seating there are others we can use in a pinch. Decorating shows and seeing client work from designers condition us to think that a rooms and houses can and should come together on a deadline, but that’s now how real life works for the people I know and it’s not how it works for us either.

I may not always succeed, but I’m doing my best to do things right the first time, and to value quality over quantity. What interests me most is working with what we have, adding good pieces over time, and adding pieces with an overall plan in mind (but being flexible enough to let that plan shift and change). I’m aware that I could be creating blog content by bringing in new pieces and working on rooms as quickly, but it’s more important to me that I’m creating a home. I’m trying to think of a cliché to mirror Go Big or Go Home here. Maybe Slow and Steady Wins the Race? Ah, wait, I have a Pinterest board full of platitudes and quotes to choose from!

This will do nicely.

When you do things from your soul, other people really dig that shit.

Also, this.

Remember why you started.

Keeping Snacks at Hand

This is my view when I wake up every morning. My ‘bubble’ water bottle (twee heart with a secret snarky message, ha!), prenatal vitamins (because I’ll forget if they aren’t right there), a constantly changing stack of things to read, an alarm clock, and a snack.

Bedside Table

Bedroom

I’ve been keeping a snack by my bedside because while most of the queasiness of early pregnancy has passed by now, I feel better if I keep a little something in my stomach. For a while it was the Dark Cocoa Almonds from NatureBox, but lately I’ve been preferring their Blueberry Almond Bites. Of course the kids don’t understand why I get to break the ‘no food upstairs’ rule; they want to keep their favorites in their rooms, too.

Bedside Snack

And we do all have our favorites! NatureBox is a subscription service with free shipping that delivers healthy snacks monthly. We switch up our choices sometimes, but Eleanor also likes the Blueberry Almond Bites, Brandon is partial to the Santa Fe Corn Sticks, and August is happy to have some Cherry Berry Bonanza.

NatureBox Snacks

Giveaway

Everything from NatureBox is made from wholesome ingredients (no HFCS, partially hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors), and you can change what you receive each month to stick with your favorites or try new goodies. You can also choose the right-sized package for you (Deluxe, Happy, and Smart Snacker, with 5, 10, and 20 bags, respectively), and each bag has 3-5 servings in it. NatureBox is offering a 50% off discount to new customers for their first box (making the Deluxe Snacker package only $9.95) if you use the code LOVELY.

NatureBox Snacks

NatureBox is giving 2 winners each a free 6-month Deluxe Snacker subscription! The giveaway is open to US readers with a US shipping address only, and to enter, you can browse NatureBox’s snacks and leave a comment below by midnight CDT, June 4 with the variety you’d most like to try. Good luck!

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