Category Archives: Family Room

{Grown Up Moments} Getting Fancy

Do you ever have those moments who you really feel like a grown up? Despite actually being a grown up for quite some time? I do, but what entertains me is that they’re not the ones you’d expect, they’re super random little moments. I thought I’d post those moments from time to time, mostly for my own amusement.

Here’s a short list of some of the moments I would have expected to make me feel really grown up:
– Earning a master’s degree while working as a consultant for the United Nations
– Getting married and becoming a stepmom
– Signing that scary mortgage document and buying our first home
– Adopting a dog (twice)
– Becoming a Director at work (twice)
– Having a team work for me and having my success directly related to the employment of at least 20 people


I do wonder if most of these moments don’t feel like grown up moments because in most of those cases, I usually feel like I’m fooling everyone and soon they’ll discover I don’t really understand economics (so I shouldn’t have that M.S.), I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent, I’ve never been managed and I have no clue how to manage people, etc. Basically, I’m making it up as I go. Interestingly, Sheryl Sandberg devotes a lot of page-space to this in her book, Lean In, and it turns out this is a common feeling amongst women. And, guess what? EVERYONE is making up as they go.


Anywho, the moments that actually make me feel like an adult are super random. Here are the two times (besides what I’m about to write about), where I felt like a grown up:
– The first night at college after my dad got me unpacked in my dorm and went back to his hotel. I remember standing there, with my soon-to-be friends, realizing I could do WHATEVER I wanted. So, we went out for ice cream (don’t judge, we were nerdy, honors-student 18 year-olds).
– When I bought my first vacuum, at 29 years old. Until that point, I’d managed to inherit vacuums from roommates or parents and had never had to (annoyingly) buy one. Walking out of Target with that vacuum really drove home the point that I was on my own now. (I had a dog, stepson, M.S. and Director title at that point, FYI).

Last week, I had another one of those moments that made me feel grown up. Any guesses on what it was??

Wait for it. Wait for it…


Getting a piece of art custom framed. To this point, I’ve never had any artwork special enough to warrant a custom frame. My sweet grandmother sent me a painting done by my great-grandfather as a housewarming present when we bought our house. It was actually a two-sided painting – one side was a completed painting of a southern California vista (a favorite subject of his) and the other was a half-finished painting of a New York farmhouse. As I understand it, he spent time in Woodstock, NY sometime during the 40s-60s and I’d guess he started it then. It was so neat to receive a piece of family art tied to our new home in New York. 


I was finally able to get to Michaels and worked with an employee who helped me pick the frame and matte. I loved the beat-up edges to the painting and wanted the painting mounted to show them. I also wanted it mounted in a way that preserved the finished painting on the back if we ever changed our mind. The Michaels employee was super sweet and patient with me as hmmed and hawed over what frame and color matte to pick.

It was super helpful (and reassuring) to see the mockup on the computer!


Then, she rang me up. Even after the 50% off + an additional 25% off, I had to steady myself when she gave me the total. I knew custom frames were expensive, but ouch! Definitely a grown up moment. However, I love love love how it turned out and can’t wait to get a wall and room decorated around it. 


Are you a typical-grownup moment kind of person or is it the really random things that make you feel grown up too?

How to Build Quick and Affordable Shelves

There may be Christmas tunes playing right now. Am I the only one?

Our new house has some funky living spaces. First, when you come through the front door, you walk right into the only official living space in the house. This does not work for me. I’m not the kind of person who needs a formal sitting room or big vaulted entryway, but I’m not a fan of walking right into the TV room. Here’s how the real estate listing showed the room and how we have it for now, until we tear a wall down.


Second, the house is officially four bedrooms, but the 4th bedroom is a large room on the main floor that should clearly be the family/TV room. Since it wasn’t designed as the TV room, the space is awkward because it has a closet and doesn’t naturally fit couches or a TV.

We’ve made our existing couches work for now, but the only place for the TV is along a looong wall that drowns out our small table that was functioning as our entertainment center. I was ready to throw my hands up with this room and accept that for now, it would be functional and I’d worry about designing the space after I dealt with the rest of the house. 

An aside, the minute I give up on something, I end up diving into it full force. e.g. after years of freaking out about taking fish off the fishing hook, I declared one summer during college I was giving up on fishing. Then, I went back to Bozeman for school—where you can’t not fish—a month later and took up fly fishing like it was my job. This happens over and over. So, as soon as I gave up on the TV room, I figured out a plan for the entertainment center, which turned out to be a college throwback solution.

Cinderblocks! I know, you’re thinking one of two things: are you a 20 year old guy? or, you have a job, buy a real piece of furniture. But here’s the deal, since the space is a little funky and we’re still figuring out the best set up, I don’t want to commit to a large furniture purchase. And, I like the rustic, industrial look of using building materials in decor. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve got up my sleeves with a whole stack of metal pipes.

I measured the wall length and ran to Lowe’s and picked up some simple cinderblocks and headed to the shelving section. At this point my cart was crazy heavy and I was getting some weird looks as I tried to maneuver 252lbs (I looked it up, #nerdalert) of cinderblocks around the store.  I found these boards that look like a patchwork quilt #love.


I spent at least an hour detangling all our cords. Taz was a big help.


I defrosted bacon for dinner. #multitasking


Ahhhh! That feels better.


Then, I threw together the bookshelf. It took 30 minutes to carry in all the cinderblocks and under 10 to set up the shelf. I tried really hard to hide all the cords, but totally failed, so no tips on that today.


Once I get this room painted and commit to the decor, I plan to whitewash the cinderblocks and stain the boards to bring out the patchwork pattern. We’re just to the unpacking point where I’ll break out all the things I style bookshelves with. So for now, here it is!



Love this wood grain! Can’t wait to stain it.


Have Lowe’s cut the boards to the length you need in the store. This saves you a step at home.
Use unfinished shelving boards to keep the price down.
Keep the space between cinderblocks to under 3 feet so your boards don’t bow. Or, stack books under the longer span if you want less blocks.

Project Cost: $98

I’ve seen some great cinderblock projects out there. Have you used them in creative home projects?