p.s., The snow is soooo much higher right now. This picture was taken during one of our first snowfalls.

I've been sitting on this update for months. At least if feels like that. But every time I thought about writing, it felt both overwhelming and as if not enough had been done to update you. I.JUST.COULDN'T. But, I've turned the corner and while lots of things are still works-in-progress I'm ready to show you where we are at right now. Click here to see the video from when we moved in.

First, I want to address our home furnishing philosophy and direction. We knew we wanted to start from scratch with this house (it is our first house together, though we both owned our own homes prior to dating). When we moved in together back in the day we basically sold my stuff and I just shifted into his house. I was fine with that but this house gave us an opportunity to really create OUR space for the first time. This house is older and a different style than the house we left and that impacted the direction we saw our furnishings going. The house was built in 1923 and is of the Prairie School Style of architecture (think Frank Lloyd Wright as the most prominent example). It is a rare style to find in our neighborhood and was a huge draw for us.

Even though this house is older and more architecturally styled, the interior has character but isn't limiting in terms of what style of interior design you can go with. We knew we wanted an eclectic vibe as a result. We also decided that whenever possible we would buy vintage/antique rather than new production. I suspect we had slightly different, but overlapping, motivations for this. We both like the idea of our pieces having a story behind them and a uniqueness factor (you won't find the stuff in our house in current catalogs/stores). I was also really pushed by the desire to furnish the house via more eco-friendly, sustainable methods. We dispose of furniture and other home decor so easily these days. So much usable product ends up in landfills, that quite honestly, it's disgusting. I've talked about my efforts to be more ethical and sustainable in my clothing purchases and I wanted to expand upon that to the house.

In terms of design and process.....we didn't have one. That is the truth. We didn't have vision boards or any specific idea about what each room would look like. The dining room is an exception. I came across an instagram photo of a dining room that acted as my inspiration on the table & side chairs combo. Mostly though, we just found pieces we loved that we thought could meld with various styles and the pieces we had already found. We added (and are adding) things piecemeal. We found a sofa. That informed the chairs. Which informed the rug choice. Now that we have the foundational pieces we are working on tables. Once we have tables figured out we'll move on to lamps and any accents (which will be minimal because that is more our vibe). We browsed a lot of images on Pinterest and Instagram and the shops we love. But we truly didn't have a cohesive game plan when we started. We also didn't use a designer at all. It's just us.

We've been hitting antique and vintage stores whenever we can find the time. We have a couple of great stores in our area but we've also made a few purposeful trips into Chicago to take advantage of their amazing supply of antique/vintage stores. If you are in Chicago and looking for stores (I've linked out to either a webpage, FB, or Instagram account for most on the list below):

The Savoy Flea

Dial M for Modern

Circa Modern

Strange Lovely

Quest Modern

Olde Chicago Antiques

South Loop Loft

Pavilion Antiques

Velvet Goldmine

The Painted Lady


Mad Modern (Cedar Rapids)

Czech Village Antiques (Cedar Rapids)

Kalona Antique Company (Kalona)

Dining Room

It feels easiest to do this room by room. Lets start with the dining room as it is closest to completion. We brought nothing with us for this room when we moved so everything is newly acquired. Most things in this room were preowned. The exception is the table and the four side chairs. We had the table custom made. We saw some new production pieces that we loved but that had limitations. One was just way too expensive. Another wasn't available in the size we wanted without the top being two pieces of stone rather than one continuous piece. So we reached out to a craftsman (Dale at Liberty Iron Works) that had done a sofa table (see the living room photos below) for us before and he spearheaded the project to get us just what we were looking for. He is a metal worker and made the base and then coordinated with a stone provider on a slab we had picked out. It turned out great and we love it.

We could have hunted down the original production of these side chairs but that would have been cost prohibitive for us so we settled with reproductions here. The captain chairs are Italian Medea dining chairs by Vittorio Nobili for Fratelli Tagliabue (purchased at Pavilion). They were designed in 1955 and are moulded teak with black enameled metal legs. The bar cube was actually our first purchase for the house. We bought it from Modern Mobler while in Washington D.C. (we spotted it online prior to the trip and arranged our plans so we could go check it out and make it ours!) and squeezed it into the back seat of a rental car to bring it home last spring. The midcentury mixed-wood sideboard was scored at Velvet Goldmine. I spotted it via their Instagram and we were lucky enough they still had it a couple of weeks later when we were able to make it into the city. The table linens are new and from Rough Linen while the table decor has been sourced from various antique stores. At some point we plan to change out the light fixture but that is a ways down the road. I'm on the hunt for beautiful colored bar glassware for the built-in cabinet.

Living Room

The lack of tables is palpable.

The living room is finally starting to come together. We need some side tables, lamps, a different chair by the fireplace, and we are waiting on the delivery of a coffee table (purchased off of 1stdibs). But we've made such progress in this room despite its still incomplete state. The leather couch is a new production from Restoration Hardware. The two chairs flanking it are midcentury teak lounge chairs by Grete Jalk for France & Son. Let me tell you a story about these dudes. I spotted them late on a Friday afternoon, like right before close of business, on Mad Modern's social media. I fell in love and made my husband get up on Saturday and haul our butts to the store in time for opening. The whole time I was terrified someone would get to them before us. Man was I stressed out. These are in almost pristine condition. We feel so blessed to have scored them. Huge shout out to Dave at Mad Modern for his awesome taste and hunting skills. The rug is an antique Persian Heriz rug that is about 100 years old purchased from The Southern Loom. The coffee table we are waiting on is a brass and glass midcentury Labarge Hoof Cocktail Regency table. We wanted something that didn't obscure the rug and would marry the couch and chairs together. We think this table should do it. The lamp was another find from Mad Modern.

Fireplace side of Living Room

The area by the fireplace in the living room is still in progress. The couch is a 1950s Italian settee by Gigi Radice for Minotti that was reupholstered in a linen wool blend (from Pavilion). The small coffee table is a 1940s Nero Portoro Italian Regency marble table with a curved brass base from The Savoy Flea. The rug just arrived this week. It is an Iranian Qashqai design that is about a century old (The Southern Loom). We don't know much about the cedar chest other than we love the carving and it is perfect for our blanket storage! It was found at Mississippi Cottage Antiques in Le Claire, Iowa. We had a sleek modern gas unit installed in the fireplace to keep things simple and open the hearth back up. The fireplace chimney isn't to code for wood burning and I didn't want the fake log look.

I'm going to hold off on sharing the other spaces in the house because 1) this is already long and if you are still reading THANKS! 2) the master bedroom and the sunroom are in the early stages still and need A LOT more work. But I'll peak your interest with this beauty! Marianne at The Savoy Flea was an angel in helping make this project happen. Our first visit to the shop we spotted this gorgeous but ragged dream. We bought it and she went above and beyond to help me figure out fabric and get the upholstery redone. She was insanely patient with me and all of my questions and the delays that occurred along the way (fabric delivery nightmares). We recently picked up the finished piece and IT. IS. STUNNING. It is going in the sunroom and is basically the only piece in there right now. It doesn't show to its fullest abilities without a bit more styling so I'm borrowing some images from Marianne (follow her Instagram- TRUST ME), that she took in her shop, so you can see this lovely lady.

Stay tuned as we continue putting things together!

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Hi everyone, I want to introduce guest author Adria Huseth! Check out more info on Adria's background in nutrition on her bio page ➢ here.

We’ve all heard about the importance of protein in the aging population or in an athlete’s diet, but are you aware of the importance of introducing quality protein in an infant’s diet? Meat can be an important source of much-needed protein in an infant’s diet during the transition to solid foods, according to new research from the University of Colorado published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The first six-to-12 months of life is a period of rapid growth when nutrition plays a pivotal role and, for many parents, meat, which is high in protein and many micronutrients, may not be the first choice for an infant’s complementary feeding. Yet new research suggests meat-fed infants (complementary to formula or breastfeeding) could have an advantage when it comes to early length growth.The research suggests introducing higher amounts of protein and introducing meat into the diet at five months could be potentially beneficial for linear growth (length gain). *(1, 2)

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid foods at four-to-six months of age and advises exposing babies to a wide variety of healthy foods, including a variety of different textures. For babies who are mostly breastfeeding, meat may also have the added benefit of more easily absorbed iron and zinc, as breastfed infants are at a higher risk of becoming iron deficient than formula-fed infants. The World Health Organization also recognizes the need for protein early, recommending infants eat meat, poultry, fish or eggs daily, if possible.

So how do you incorporate protein into a child’s diet? Below are ideas or suggestions on how to get your little one fueled up as they grown up!

Recommended baseline serving recommendations: Note: protein needs will vary according to age, sex and activity level.

  • 6 months to 1 year – 2-3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day

  • 1 year – 1.5 ounces per day

  • 2-3 years – 2 ounces per day

  • 4-8 years – 3-4 ounces per day

  • 9-13 years - 5 ounces per day

  • 14-18 years - 5-6 ounces per day

What does an ounce look like? Some general examples include:

· One egg

· ½ cup cooked quinoa

· ¼ cup of tofu or peas

· 1 tbsp. of nut butter

· ¼ cup of beans (kidney, black, pinto, butter beans etc.)

· String cheese

· Cheese the size of a domino

· ¼ cup of almonds

· ¼ cup of edamame

· 3-4 medium shrimp

· Ice cream scooper of meat

· 1/8 cup of Greek yogurt

For infants

o Look for meat and vegetable baby food pouches - most retailers carry, and contain a quality protein like chicken, beef, turkey or pork which are usually pureed and mixed with vegetables in a convenient ready-to-eat baby pouch.

o Pureed meat in baby food jars – these typically are not mixed with any other ingredients and just read as the protein as the single ingredient such as beef, chicken or pork - also available at most retailers.

o Homemade pureed meat protein – If you're cooking up a meal for the rest of the family you can easily mix your protein of choice with a little formula or breastmilk in a blender and offer to your little one. The key is to make sure it is blended to a smooth consistency so not to pose any choking hazards.

o Fish such as salmon, cod, seabass and trout make for great protein options while incorporating healthy Omega-3’s for brain development and cognitive health.

o Beans, quinoa, lentils and tofu are plant-based protein options that can also be offered to infants as they become more familiar with finger foods and can also be pureed similar to the meat protein options stated above.

o Plain Greek yogurt – even though infants don’t drink cow’s milk until after the age of one, plain Greek yogurt can be offered and provides a great quality protein option with no added sugars.

After the age of 1 the protein options are endless. Try offering a variety of plant-based proteins and meat proteins at each meal to expose your child to a variety of tastes and textures.

Animal-based protein at meals could include your standard beef, chicken, turkey, pork, dairy, fish and eggs.

§ Deli meat wrapped in cheese

§ Cottage cheese with seeds or fruit

§ Taco cups made with ground beef or turkey

§ Greek Yogurt and fruit

§ String cheese with fruit or nuts

§ Homemade fish sticks or chicken tenders

§ Salmon patties

§ Egg and veggie cups

Plant-based options can include lentils, legumes, tofu, beans, seeds, nut butter, lentil or bean pasta.

§ Pumpkin, sunflower seeds and almonds with string cheese or cottage cheese

§ Chia seed pudding

§ Quinoa bowls with black beans and roasted veggies

§ Nut butter toast with berries on top

§ Almonds (or almond butter) and apples (or any fruit)

§ Roasted chickpeas

§ Bean pasta and sauce (most kids like buttered noodles with parmesan cheese)

§ Protein and fruit smoothie with chia or hemp seeds

§ Edamame

§ Lentil soup

I know what you’re thinking, “My kid will never eat that!” Have you tried offering? It is suggested you have to offer a child new foods over 10 times before they might “try” a bite. Keep offering a variety of foods with different colors, textures and protein sources at every meal. If they don’t eat it, wrap it up, place in the fridge and offer again at the next meal. Be creative with the names of the foods being offered or cut them into fun shapes as to entice your child to try something new! As with any child, exposing them to a variety of foods and textures early on sets them up for healthy eating habits later on in life.

1 Tang M, Hendricks AE, Krebs NF. A meat- or dairy-based complementary diet leads to distinct growth patterns in formula-fed infants: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.2018. Volume 107 (5): 734–742.

2 Tang M, Krebs NF. High protein intake from meats as complementary food increases growth but not adiposity in breastfed infants: a randomized trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014; 100 (5):1322-1328.

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I was scrolling through my Instagram feed today and came upon Simply Liv & Co’s post asking “How do you remind yourself of your ‘enoughness’ when comparison creeps in?” I stopped and thought- this is the core of what I started outlining for my next blog post. I had been brainstorming a “Things You Don’t Have To Do” themed post. I started thinking about the idea of ‘enoughness’ along with the pressures of the holiday season. You know, the posts on

holiday decorating, images of rooms totally decked out with holiday décor, tips for shopping on a budget for decorations and gifts, gift guides for her/him/them/techie/pup/etc./etc., presents stacked 3' high around trees, and ALL THE OTHER THINGS.

The truth is, I see those images and posts and I often cringe. I literally pull back a bit. I totally appreciate the enjoyment many of you might get from decorating and living with all of that holiday expression around you for the next month. Or the joy of shopping for gifts and wrapping everything up to sit beautifully under the tree. But that is not my experience. I find it a hassle to drag stuff out and set it all up. I feel like my space is cluttered if I fill it with all of those things. I dread having to pack it all back up and put it away when the season is over. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE holiday lights and have full on child-like wonder and joy when I see them. I just don’t want to have to do it myself. I wouldn’t even call it lazy, I just don’t get the same feeling from the process as I do from randomly encountering it in the outside world. I’ll totally sit in your decked out living room and have a drink with you and bask in your holiday spirit. I will likely make my husband drive me around one night so I can look at all of the houses lit up with beautiful lights. I just don’t feel the need to do it to my house. And that is enough for me.

There is not a single holiday decoration in my house. And there won’t be this season. Reasons we don’t decorate include 1) we are not religious so Christmas as a religious holiday isn’t a thing for us 2) we don’t have kids and don’t buy each other presents to exchange so even the secular concept of Christmas isn’t really a thing in our house. We do get together with family and have a meal, we decorate a tree at my in-laws' on Thanksgiving, I bake holiday treats and deliver them to friends and we send out holiday cards. And I am happy to do those things because those are the traditions that we have embraced, with those people, in those particular ways. But inside our house, just the two of us, we don’t feel the need to put up a tree or decorations.

AND THAT IS OKAY. THAT IS ENOUGH. Occasionally, I get a fleeting moment of ‘but maybe I should…decorate the entry outside….put up a tree in front of all those living room windows…because that’s what you are supposed to do, that is what people expect to see’. But I let that moment sit with me and then I let it go (I learned how to do that in therapy 😉). Because doing what feels right for me/us is ENOUGH. I’m actually pretty good at letting moments like that go, the ones where I feel society pushing back against me when I go against the norm. My first big practice with that was the decision that I was never going to have children (made in my mid 20s and firmly holding ground in my mid 30s). If I could overcome that traditional expectation, I can certainly be okay with not putting up holiday decorations!

I don’t have to decorate. We don’t have to buy each other presents. And while I don’t have to bake and send out cards, I will. I get joy from those particular activities. I show I care through food. I want to share good wishes from us to you and yours for this season and the new year.

So when you feel overwhelmed this holiday season stop and ask yourself if what you are already doing is ENOUGH for you and let some of the other things go. Don’t worry about how your house looks compared to the neighbor or your best friend or your sister-in-law. Don’t worry that your tree has fewer presents under it. Let go of other people’s expectations and embrace your own terms. Embrace your ‘enoughness’. Give yourself permission to let go of the unnecessary pressures and comparisons you might be placing on yourself and be comfortable with what you have and what is right for you and your family. You are enough.

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