Random Gadgets I Want for Our Home

I’m not a gadget person. I don’t own an Alexa or an iPad, and I plan on using my iPhone 6 until it dies (which unfortunately may be sooner than later).

When it comes to stuff for our house though, I’m all about it. I don’t know if any of these really qualify as “gadgets,” but they certainly are all pretty cool technology that I wouldn’t mind having use of around my house!

One | Nespresso VertuoPlus Machine

Anyone that even kind of knows me knows that I love coffee. I try not to go to coffee shops during the week, but it is a habit (and guilty pleasure of mine) to go to coffee shops all over town on the weekends and try out their lattes. J and I like to do this when we were house hunting. It’s totally fun to explore a neighborhood via it’s local coffee shop.

For the days when we aren’t able to go out and get our espresso fix, we have a stovetop espresso maker. But as all good coffee snobs know, the stovetop machines don’t really make espresso. You have to get a really good machine to get the real thing with the lovely, thick texture and the beautiful crema on top. Since I’m not a millionaire, those machines are out of my range. Luckily, Nespresso makes on that does the trick (and will get me my coffee fix quickly on busy weekday mornings)!

Enter the Nespresso VertuoPlus. What I like about this machine is that you can get an espresso drink OR a basic coffee drink from the same machine, and many retailers offer it with a milk frother as a bundle. We already have a counter top milk frother that we love, so I would go for the non-bundled option in the limited edition matte black finish (YUM).

Two | Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro

J and I both agree that Remi the dog is the love of our lives. He brings so much joy, laughter, and stress-relief to our lives. The other thing he brings is dog hair, mud, and mess into our home. While I wouldn’t trade him for anything, I still would like to be able to control the mess a little better.

Enter this hand-dandy tool from Bissell. It vacuums and mops AT THE SAME TIME. WHAAAAAT? I’m not even lying – I’ve watched it work both on commercials (any other infomercial lovers out there?) AND in people’s homes. This sucker (pun totally intended) is made for homes with pets, and is engineered to help deal with the whole pet hair issue. Plus, it’s a huge time saver. I think I might ask for this one for my anniversary… J, I hope you’re reading this!

Three | Samsung Frame TV

If you follow any home improvement bloggers or interior designers on Instagram, you have surely seen this baby advertised a time or two. As I mentioned previously, I really, really don’t care about technology. The TV we have is an older model that was a hand me down from my sister back when we first got married in 2012 (anyone who tries to rob our house and steal a TV would probably leave immediately because it isn’t worth a dime…). I’ve never considered upgrading until I saw the Frame.

It’s such a cool idea that your TV can become art when you’re not watching something, and it had completely changed my opinion of putting a TV over a fireplace (ergonomics aside for a moment). Our living room has windows flanking the fireplace, and windows on the other two walls of the open space, so there is no good place to put the TV other than over the fire place, unless you’re cool with the room feeling totally unbalanced. Which means that right now, our living room layout is totally unbalanced, because I refuse to hang an ugly TV over the fireplace. With this one, I would have to chose aesthetics or function. I get BOTH… which is exactly what good design is in my opinion. The only problem I see on this on is price tag, which means I will be anxiously awaiting sales or price drops on guy before I pull the trigger.

Four | Conair Hand-Held Steamer

I’ve had steamers before, and long story short, they were so bad that I went out and bought a “cheapo” iron just to get J’s shirts to not be completely wrinkled. But I hate ironing. It takes too much time. Irons are really hot metal plates that have to have time to cool. And it’s a pain in the butt to get it all down, set up the ironing board, wait for the iron to heat up… so then I just avoid any clothing that has to be ironed in favor of something less wrinkly, because I would rather spend my time in the morning working out or eating a good breakfast.

It’s a bad cycle. To end the cycle, I think a tool like this Conair Hand-Held Steamer could do the trick. It works well according the reviews, unlike other steamers it’s compact (great for storage and traveling), and it can be used for dual functions (powder room wallpaper, I’m looking at you). Plus – It’s not super expensive in proportion to the amount of use it would get at my house!

Five | Pressure Washer

When we first moved in our house, my dad came up from Florida with his pressure washer and he and J cleaned the entire back deck and our driveway. The difference that made was immense.

Only problem – the pressure washer belongs to my dad and I don’t think it’s fair to only ask him to visit us when something needs pressure washed – ha! That’s why I really like the idea of this option. It’s nice and compact (have I mentioned that I like compact, dual purpose products? Oh, only every other sentence?) and has fantastic reviews.

Six | Philips Wake Up Light Alarm Clock

Fun biology/psychology fact – Sleep is good for you, and sleep is completely impacted by our body’s circadian rhythm. In the developed world, people’s circadian rhythms are all screwed up due to the light on our phone, the fact that we have to wake up before the sun to get to our 8-6 jobs (yes, 8-6… does anyone actually work a 9-5?) on time, and daylight savings time.

I have been waking up earlier to work out with the help of my Fit Bit and keeping my phone far away from me at night, but I still think having this alarm clock would make waking up early a little less painful.

Anyone have any of these? I would love to hear about your experience!

Cover image of Samsung Frame is by Bravo TV Home and Design.

Revamping My Routine

Last week, I had a little incident with our alarm system.

My husband happened to be out of town, and the keypad battery (our system is not hardwired) died while I was asleep. The good news is that the alarm system still totally worked, despite the keypad battery failure. The bad news is that while I was trying to replace the batteries, the motion sensor in our living room totally detected me rummaging through our media cabinet, trying to get fresh batteries.

The alarm went off, the company almost immediately called me, and of course I forgot the “safe word” that I was supposed to know to tell them that they did not need to send back up. The cop that arrived just a few minutes later was very kind (after I presented my ID and proof that I actually lived here and did not break in).

I was telling this story to a friend at work and she immediately asked me a question about the story that I was not expecting…

“You don’t go downstairs in the morning until you’re completely ready for work?”

I had never put too much thought into how I get ready in the morning, but J and I both typically get completely ready for our day before we make the trek down the stairs and into our kitchen for coffee. It got me thinking about the house and how floor plan/design can impact how you operate daily and how the design and details of your home can totally impact your routines. As an interior designer with a Master’s degree, I can point to countless studies that show that there is a psychology to the interior environment (and I’ve even talked about it in past posts), but I also think there are countless anecdotal examples in pop culture right now that support this theory as well. Take the Marie Kondo show on Netflix for example. Or the way that Erin and Ben Napier are transforming their community on HGTV’s Hometown (can you tell I’ve been watching TV alone while J is out of town)?

So with that, I’ve started thinking about things I want to do as part of my evening and morning routines, but struggle with or have struggled with in the past. I’m confident that a few simples design changes around the house could totally impact my habits, but I want to test the theory for a week and report back. Here are the goals I want to accomplish each morning/evening:

  1. Wake up without immediately jumping into Instagram/emails (and then laying in bed for an hour even when I’m awake)! This makes me so late, and I’m not getting any additional sleep.
  2. Consistently spend a little time with God.
  3. Get a workout in!
  4. Take better care of my skin.
  5. Get out the door on time.

Based on that list, I’m going to try a few simple changes to my space for at least a week to see if I can change how my mornings look.

FIND A HOME FOR MY CELL PHONE

… That is not my bedside table. J already does this. He puts his phone (with the alarm turned on!) in our master bath so that when the alarm goes off, he has to physically get UP our of bed to turn it off. While I’ve thought about doing this before, I’ve never fully committed to it, because the thought of waking up that way sounds so miserable. Change doesn’t happen without a little discomfort though, so I’m going to go for it. Bonus – it means that when I get in bed I can’t look at it for hours past my bedtime, letting the blue light keep me up. Maybe that will help me sleep better and be more rested when the 5 am alarm goes off.

KEEP SURFACES CLEAR OF CLUTTER

…except for my devotional, prayer journal, and a lamp. I think the lamp is the key here. I don’t have one right now, but I think having one to turn on the morning (as soon as my alarm goes off), could help me wake up faster. I’ve been putting off buying one because I didn’t want to spend money on something that I would want to change when we go through the whole process of designing the bedroom in the future. While I still basically agree with that logic, I think we can afford to spend a few bucks on a cute lamp from Target that will do the trick in the mean time.

FIND DEDICATED HOMES FOR HABIT FORMING-ITEMS

I’m starting a 12 week exercise program that I’ve done before (and loved!) when we lived in an apartment. Now that we don’t have a five minute commute (like we did in the apartment), I have to get up a bit earlier to fit the workout in and still make it to work on time. I sleep in some of my workout clothes, but having the rest that I can’t sleep in (tennis shoes and sports bra, I’m looking at you!) in a spot I can find with my eyes closed will hopefully help me to push through on mornings when I have no motivation.

For my skin, I want to take a note from Sherry from Young House Love, who keeps her “woo woo face routine” stuff in the kitchen (if you don’t follow Sherry, you should. I’m a long time follower and take her recommendations very seriously, because she is a genius)… I think I’m going to start doing the same. When I come downstairs in the morning, groggy and half-asleep, for my workout, my bottle of water (essential for skin health) will be in the cabinet by the fridge and my my roller will be in the freezer, perfect for waking me up right before my workout!

Last but not least, I’m going to try and carve out a space in the fridge to put my lunch (and breakfast) when applicable, so I’m not trying to pack lunch while running out the door! Trying to get lunches together in the morning almost always takes longer than I plan for, so hopefully leaving space for this and forcing myself to do this at night will help with that process!

I’m going to give this whole thing a week and do my very best to be consistent (even when I’m tired)! I’ll report back and let you know how it goes… anyone else have any tips for productive evenings and smoother mornings?

How the design of your home can help you reach your goals

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How are those New Year’s resolutions going?

Are you still going strong, or have you already thrown in the towel? Statistics show that 80% of New Year’s Resolutions are kaput by February. That’s only 31 days in, folks!

Now, I’m not shaming anyone for not reaching their goals… I’ve been there myself more times that I would like to admit. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your day to day and lose sight of why you got started in the first place.

One thing I’ve learned, though, is that my attitude, feelings, and mindset are really easily influenced by my environment. It seems logical that a person with degrees in architecture and interior design would feel this way (can anybody say Environmental Psychology 101?), but the impact is really driven home when you feel the effects on your own personal life.

Knowing that my mindset (and likely yours, too, because you’re human!) is affected by what’s around you, I thought it would be helpful to explore how you can set up your space to change your attitude and help you reach your goals! This list is not exhaustive… it includes just a few of the most common New Year’s Resolutions, but the idea remains the same no matter what your goals are. Use your space to help you focus on what matters!

Lose Weight | Get Fit | Be Healthier | Exercise More

These are probably some of the most common categories of resolutions there are. Luckily, these are also some of the easiest goals to plan for in the design of your home! Want to get to your morning workout more regularly? Make your bedside a hub for your gear. Put your shoes by your bed and reserve the drawer in your nightstand for your workout clothes. When you wake up (and want to hit the snooze button) you’ll know that it won’t take too long (or too much brain power) to get yourself up and dressed to get out the door. Keep fruit handy in a pretty bowl in your kitchen – looks great and is a quick breakfast when you are headed to your AM yoga class. Prefer working out at home? Make a space for exercise in your living room. Pick furniture pieces that are either easy to move out of the way when you’re ready to do your online kickboxing class, or keep it simple and make just enough space to do crunches or squats during your commercial breaks. Clear some storage in your TV cabinet or cute basket for your hand weights and your yoga matt.

What if your workout game is already strong, but you just want to eat healthier? A great place to start is buy organizing your pantry and fridge. Invest in pretty food containers for your healthy snacks, and put them front and center so you have no excuses! Same goes for the fridge – give it a deep clean and make sure that the fruits and veggies are the first thing you see. Finally, clear the clutter from the kitchen and keep your countertops free of snacks or supplies. The fewer things you have in your way, the more likely you are to cook a healthy meal instead of calling out for takeout.

Save Money

My biggest tip for saving more money is to get your home clean and organized! It’s so easy to spend too much on food/clothes/beauty supplies/toilet paper/phone chargers/tupperware (you name it!) if you can’t find what you already have.

There are other ways that having an organized home may save you money. If you organize you kitchen and pantry (see above!), you may be more encouraged to cook at home instead of blowing money on take out. Maybe you’ll find that collection of nail polish that you forgot you had and decide not to go out and get your nails done. Or maybe you’ll discover that when your home is nice and clean, entertaining your friends at home is more appealing than going out.

Bonus: You might find, once you clear all the clutter, that you actually need less space. Maybe that is living space (cheaper rent, anyone?) or maybe it’s storage space that you’re paying for in addition to rent or a mortgage.

Decrease Stress | Better Time Management | Get More Sleep

You have a demanding schedule – career, kids, social obligations. How can your home help you better manage all of these stressors? For starters, your bedroom should be a retreat, not another source of stress. I feel like one of the most ignored spaces in the home is the master bedroom. Take the time to pick out a duvet and sheets you love for both aesthetics and how they feel. Nice bedding is an incentive to make the bed, and making the bed has been correlated with better sleep and more overall happiness. Invest in the furniture and feel of the space so that you enjoy spending time there and look forward to retiring to your room (hopefully early and as part of a routine!) at the end of the day.

Other areas of the home that can help with these goals? The bathroom and the closet. Keeping these spaces organized and clean (a huge step towards keeping them looking nice) can make it easier to find an outfit in the morning and easier to unwind in a bath at night (if that is your thing). I keep saying it… but I will say it again, your space can either facilitate the life you want to live or completely hinder it.

Learn Something New | Spend Less Time on Technology

How many people have a TV in their main living space? How many people use their phone as an alarm clock? I’m guilty of both… I’m also guilty of spending too much time on my phone and watching TV, and too little time focusing on continuing to learn to paint. An easy way to combat this is to get the technology out of the spaces where you spend the most time. Invest in an alarm clock so instead of browsing Instagram before bed you can focus on making a dent in your reading list. Or maybe you need to make the focal point of your living room something besides your TV so you are more inclined to practice your guitar or pick up a paintbrush. Simple adjustments to the layout of your space can go a long way!

Anyone going to try any tips like this in their own home? Anyone have any other ways they are using the design of their space to help them reach their goals? Please share! I love to hear success stories. I firmly believe that design changes lives and these ideas are perfect examples of that belief.

Want to win a $20 Target gift card? Leave me a comment on this post sharing what you would like to see here in the new year! Each comment on my January posts (including this one!) will earn you an additional entry. A winner will be announced Wednesday, January 31st. Thanks for all of your support!

How to Reset Your Home for the New Year

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The holidays are over, and I feel like all I want to do is clean, purge, and organize! Anyone ever get that feeling right after the holidays that they want to declutter EVERYTHING and basically start fresh?

I don’t know if it’s a subconscious way to move past the sadness of leaving the holidays behind, or if it’s because you’re just overwhelmed with all of the food, wrapping, gifts, and decor from the holidays, or if it’s really just the excitement of a fresh new year.

Regardless, it’s hard to get started on the decluttering process when you feel like your home is in disarray from all of the holiday excitement. Before I get started on anything related to decluttering, I like to do a little “reset” of my home to get it back to normal.

CLEAN UP THE HOLIDAY DECOR

Step one is easy… get the holiday decor cleaned up and put away. The tree needs to go, the ornaments need putting away, and you should reclaim the space in your home. I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling of open space in my living rooms after the tree is gone.  It’s one of the simplest ways to start seeing your space with fresh eyes!

FIND PLACES FOR GIFTS

The holidays typically come with gifts, and gifts are often new, exciting things… things that need to be stored somewhere! Instead of just putting them away, consider using this as an opportunity to get a jump start on your organizing. Did you get new socks? Clean out your sock drawer to make room. New purse? Consider donating an old one that doesn’t work well for you anymore in order to make space. One in, one out!

CLEAN OUT THE FRIDGE

If your fridge is anything like mine after the holidays, it’s filled with bits of leftovers from events and family gatherings. Take a minute to go through it, clean out what is no longer any good, and make space for your next grocery trip! This is the perfect opportunity to take an inventory of what you have and what you might need to buy to get you through the next few weeks.

WASH ALL YOUR LINENS

After our guests left earlier this week, we were left with a pile of dirty linens – Sheets, towels, dish towels… For me, sleeping on fresh sheets (in a freshly made bed!) makes me feel like things in our home are somewhat back to our normal routine.

SET YOURSELF UP TO GO TO BED EARLY AND GET UP EARLY

This one doesn’t seem to be home related, but I promise that it is… By doing this (and getting enough sleep plus a jumpstart on your day), you will be able to tackle any new years projects or resolutions first thing. Take the time to get yourself ready for bed. Turn on the TV, put away the cell phone, and turn down your freshly laundered sheets. Know that you’re waking up to a nice, clean kitchen, because you took the time to load the dishwasher, wipe down the kitchen, and get your coffee all set for the next morning. When morning comes, you will be all set to tackle the day!

What do you like to do to get your home back to normal after the whirlwind of the holidays? Anything I missed?

Want to win a $20 Target gift card? Leave me a comment on this post sharing what you would like to see here in the new year! Each comment on my January posts (including this one!) will earn you an additional entry. A winner will be announced Wednesday, January 31st. Thanks for all of your support!

 

 

Happy New Year from Schafer Rea Studio!

 

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Hello friends!

It’s the first month of the new year. A blank slate. We’re officially through the holidays, and most everyone is jumping back into the grind.

Before we do that here, I want to say HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that your family had a blessed Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza!) and is thrilled to be moving into 2018.

My family visited for the holidays and it was so amazing to have everyone under my own (rented) roof! As of about 4 am this morning, everyone has headed home, and so now our apartment feels quiet and empty. The atmosphere is perfect for reflecting on  2017, setting goals for this blog in 2018, and getting my home in order before I start back to work tomorrow.

With that, I want to ask – What would you like to see from Schafer Rea Studio in 2018?

My goal when starting this blog was to provide consistent, inspirational, and helpful design content. I think that everyone should be empowered to love where they live, because how you feel about your home can impact every other aspect of your life, both positively and negatively. But I also want to hear from you. What are you looking for? Advice from designers? Inspiration photos? Organizational tools? Product ideas and sources? Anything I’m missing? Please share in the comments below!

Want to win a $20 Target gift card? Leave me a comment sharing what you would like to see here in the new year! Each comment on my January posts will earn you an additional  entry. A winner will be announced Wednesday, January 31st. Thanks for all of your support!