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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

For the Love of Big Blue

pepper's closet, poppyseeder

Surprise, surprise-- it's still ridiculously cold here in Maine. I am a huge proponent of taking outfit photos outside , but it's just not happening right now. So I've decided to show you what I've been wearing day-to-day in my natural habitat -- my house that, yes, I'm still working on.

I've never really been a long sleeved t-shirt kinda gal, but for the past 6 months or so, I've really been drawn to them, which is one of the reasons why I picked out this shirt from Pepper's Closet-- the other reason was the whale. I don't talk about it much here, but I actually co-founded an ocean conservation non-profit back in 2012, so needless to say, I'm a huge ocean-loving nerd. I'm especially a huge whale-loving nerd. One of my first dates with my husband actually ended with us sitting on the beach talking about whales.

pepper's closet

Anyway, this has been my go-to outfit lately. The long sleeved shirt is comfy and warm, then I pair it with a denim wrap skirt and tights or fleece-lined leggings. It's a great outfit for transitioning between winter and spring, and super comfortable without making me feel sloppy. I also love this shirt because it washes so well. I often avoid t-shirts with designs on them because they melt in the dryer or they crack within a couple washes, but after multiple washes this shirt still looks and feels like new.

Oh, and did I mention that Pepper's Closet donates 10% of their net profits to ocean conservation, research, and cleanup efforts?

pepper's closet

Sadly when it comes to ocean conservation, I feel that there is a one step forward, two steps back thing going on. Or as of recently, five steps back. Regardless of what is going on with policy, it's important to keep on keepin' on and do what you can, no matter how small your contribution may seem. And more than that, it's important to encourage others to do the same. Unsure of what small actions you can take? Here, have some ideas:

No bottled water or plastic utensils and straws- These items are the most common things that I find when I clean up the beach.  Plastic utensils and straws create so much senseless waste, and don't even get me started on the bottled water industry. Invest in a reusable water bottle and utensils and carry them with you. Fun fact: I always have a set of reusable chopsticks in my purse, they're great in a pinch!

Don't celebrate with sky lanterns or releasing balloons-  Warming weather brings more releases of sky lanterns and balloons. As cool as releasing lanterns or balloons may look, it's horrible. Sky lanterns have set buildings and forests on fire, injured people and animals, and get tangled in power lines. Balloons don't fly up to heaven unfortunately-- they end up in the stomachs of animals, littering beaches, and helium is a non-renewable resource that is quickly being depleted.

Host a swap- If you have unwanted clothes, books, or whatever else around the house, host a swap with your friends. Tell them to bring their unwanted items and trade. Donate whatever is left to a local secondhand store.

Tidy up around you- If you're enjoying a day outside and see trash around you, just take a couple minutes to pick it up. I know cleaning up after other people isn't fun, but it will benefit everyone. In my experience, this usually inspires people around me to help out, too. Keeping gloves in your car comes in handy for this!

Contact your elected officials- This is probably the least fun thing on this list, but the most important. It is more important than ever to let your elected officials know where you stand on issues. Writing to them is great, but calling is so much more effective. If you're like me and have social anxiety, here's a little tip sheet for how to get through it-- and that is exactly what I do when I call my reps!

pepper's closet

You can get 10% off your order from Pepper's Closet using the code "poppyseeder" or simply by using this link.

*This post was sponsored by Pepper's Closet. All opinions are mine!*
Monday, March 12, 2018

2 Months in the New House

This post contains affiliate links meaning if you click and/or make a purchase with one of those links, I make a few cents at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting Poppyseeder!

fixer upper victorian house maine

Remember last month when I said that I was sore, exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling beaten down? Well, I'm still all those things, but much more so. We've had so much going on, started so many projects, and we've spent a ton of money. All this combined with eager family members repeatedly asking if they can come visit in a couple months is brewing quite an anxiety storm.

There's no way we'll be ready to host guests in a couple months, but I very rarely get to see my family, saying no just sucks and makes me feel like a huge jerk. I'm trying to power through and get as much done as I can, but I am straight up pooped, y'all. 

I feel bad for always using these posts to complain but this is my reality right now and this is my blog. Plus, I'm merely scratching the surface! I know that we've gotten a lot of work done, but it's difficult to see that sometimes since I'm always here. I've also been forgetting to take progress pictures. I just can't be bothered when there's so much to do and the house is so messy, I don't really want to flaunt it. 

fixer upper victorian house maine
Just a couple months ago

But since you probably didn't come here to read my complaints, here's the progress we've made since last month: 

• Started filling up the house
We finally started getting more furniture in here, so now it's starting to look like people actually live here! We got a new TV stand, dining table, dining chairs, trundle bed, storage for my office, and Spencer and I each got a KALLAX shelf unit from IKEA, which sadly haven't arrived yet. His shelf is for his office and my shelf is going in the dining room, because I'm using it to house my record player and records. 

All my records have just been sitting in a corner since we moved in because I don't have a place for them yet and it's driving me crazy. I can't wait to get my records set up, especially because my new Kate Nash album is arriving in a few weeks! *cue internal scream*

We're also waiting for our new sectional couch to arrive, which I'm a little nervous about since we bought it online. Fingers crossed that it doesn't totally suck! 

• Installed a new range hood
The old one was probably 30 years old and grimey would be an understatement. We chose this simple, sleek, stainless steel one to match our new appliances. It's really not that exciting but it made the kitchen look so much better. 

• Painted the kitchen & the cabinets 
Okay, this is exciting. We primed the cabinets with STIX primer, because while most of our cabinets are solid wood, a few are laminate and we needed something heavy duty. At first we tried using the same Zinsser primer  that worked so well on our walls, but it wasn't doing well on the cabinets. 

We painted the cabinets Alabaster by Benjamin Moore using the Benjamin Moore Advance formula. To be honest though, we're still not quite done. I still have to paint the cabinet doors and drawers and I keep putting it off, and because of that the kitchen is an absolute wreck right now.  

We painted the kitchen walls Misty Lavender by Behr, but using the Benjamin Moore Scuff-X formula. The lavender walls, white cabinets, and all the lush green plants we keep in the kitchen look so great together and I love it so much.

The kitchen still isn't done though-- next on our list is to replace the dingey white linoleum floors with a more modern, slate-inspired linoleum (because our floors are sloped, tile isn't really an option), replace the dinky sink, and eventually get a new countertop...because y'all...this countertop is cringeworthy. It's red, leather-textured for some strange reason, it never feels clean no matter how much I scrub it, and it just looks horrible with my beautiful lavender walls.

• Installed new (smart) lighting
Last month I showed Spencer knocking out the cabinet above the fridge, which really helped open up the space and made more room for plants, but there was a small seam left exposed between the wall and new gypsum board. We got a strip of Philips Hue LED lights and placed them over the seam to hide it, but also give our kitchen some more light-- and the best part is that we can do any color we want and control it from our phones!

We also put the IKEA SINNERLIG pendant lamp (which was on my home wishlist) in both the living room and the dining room. I was worried it would be too big at first, but I absolutely love it and think it's perfect. We also installed color-changing Philips Hue bulbs in those lamps-- it's so nice to control lights from my phone. 

Spencer chose all the Philips Hue lights and I can't remember which specific ones we have for the life of me, sorry!

• Got to work on the second guest room
Guest room #1 is beautiful and doesn't really need any work other than a fresh coat of paint, but guest room #2 is another story. When we moved in the room was dark, had a wallpaper border, stained turquoise carpet, a broken mirrored sliding closet door, and barfy-pink blinds. 

We finally removed the wallpaper border, which was easy thank goodness, and we started ripping up the carpet. Under the nasty carpet was the original wood floor, though painted brown and covered in carpet glue, but other than that it's in great condition. We're planning on painting it black and painting the walls white, since that room doesn't get much sunlight and we don't want it to be too dark. 

I'm really excited for this room to come together, especially since it started out looking so gross. We bought a trundle day bed from Wayfair for only $214 and got a couple mattresses from IKEA when they were having a sale. From Urban Outfitters' home sale I got a cute daisy print duvet and matching pillowcases, plus some nice shams to add a different texture.

I'm thinking the main purpose of the second guest room will be for our younger siblings who often get stuck sleeping on the couch. I think they'll be thrilled to have a real place to sleep when they visit and I'm having fun planning out a cute, cozy room for them to stay.

• Got a new washer and dryer
Finally, y'all! I nearly published a whole separate post on this because it was such a freakin' ordeal, but I'll try to summarize here instead. 

I had been going to our old rental house to do laundry for almost 2 months because we ordered a w/d that was backordered. The day before ours were supposed to arrive, we got a call saying they would be delayed another 2 weeks. The local store offered to send us the floor models, which we accepted because we were desperate and frustrated. 

The delivery guys were careless when bringing it inside-- they scratched the appliances and they scratched the heck out of our walls and door frames. They told us it was hooked up and ready to go-- so we turned on the washer and what happened? The laundry room flooded. The washer was indeed not hooked up and ready to go. 

So, um...we're currently in talks with insurance companies for the damages done. But at least I can do laundry at my own house now. 

• Discovered a rotten sill plate
While we were having some pest control done (more on that here) the guys discovered a sill plate, which helps hold up our house, was rotted. It's made of wood and they were able to stick their finger right through it. It's going to be a pretty expensive fix and it was not the news we wanted, especially after having to unexpectedly spend so much money on pest control. But I suppose the pest issue was a blessing in disguise. We probably wouldn't have discovered the rotted sill till it was a much more dire situation if it weren't for the vermin. Silver lining? 

victorian fixer upper house

Despite all the bad things, I'm still thrilled to own this house. I can't believe that I own a house, and in such a cool place. I absolutely love Belfast, which I've said numerous times before, I know. And now that I own a house I've started putting down some roots and getting more involved locally, and it's been great. It's given me a sense of stability and home, which is something that has been missing for quite a long time. 

Check out some things I've bought for the house recently, plus some similar items.
Saturday, February 24, 2018

Life Lately + Link Love #11

Life Lately + Link Love is a series where I talk about what I've been up to and share posts from the blogging community and from around the internet that I think you'd enjoy. You're always welcome to share what you've been loving lately in the comments. 

belfast maine harborwalk

I promise I'm not going to use this post as yet another opportunity to whine about everything that's going on with the house, but as for life lately...that's about it. My days have been filled with working on the house and slipping out for a few minutes to play Pok√©mon Go (is anyone else still playing?). 

I know I've already mentioned it, but living in Belfast really is absolutely wonderful. I spent the past 2.5 years living at least a 20 minute drive away from everything, but now I can be somewhere in just a couple minutes. I can walk places! I mean, I don't do much walking right now since it's freezing and icy outside, but when it warms up I'll hardly need to use my car at all. It's just so nice, I feel much happier and far less isolated. 

Oh, another new thing is that I'm trying roller derby. Actually, I can hardly skate at all, so right now I'm really just learning how to skate again. I've fallen a lot, gotten a lot of bruises, and bent a fingernail back way too far but I'm learning a lot and I'm quite proud of myself. A year ago, I was way too scared to fall on my butt multiple times in front of strangers. 

  • Yesterday tickets for the 2018 All Roads Music Festival went on sale! The All Roads Music Festival takes place right here in Belfast and features artists of all genres from all over Maine and New England. I'll definitely be there and if you live kinda nearby, I hope you will be, too!
  • Looking for a new YouTuber to watch? I've been loving Caitlin's channel. She's a vegan powerlifter and is definitely inspiring me to get off my butt more often. 
  • If you're ever in Kingston, Ontario and looking for some vegan charcuterie, flatbread, gnocchi, or other delicious things, check out the menu at this restaurant that Dora tried.
  • Fellow Maine blogger Anna reviewed some products from Maine Magic Mud, which is (obviously) a Maine-based company that makes bath products that sound pretty darn nice. 
  • If/when I finally go to Germany and put my years of German classes to good use, I definitely want to stay in this hotel that Laura reviewed-- they focus on sustainability and they're a totally veg*n hotel. 
  • This is pretty freakin' cool-- the Midcoast region of Maine (where I live) made it onto Lonely Planet's list of 10 places you need to see in 2018. We're number 6 on the list! Also on the list is the capital city of my home state-- Richmond, Virginia, and the Space Coast region of Florida, which is a little north of where I lived. It's so cool to see some of my favorite places getting such awesome recognition! 
  • As usual, Kimberly is killin' it. She's one of my favorite style bloggers so please don't sleep on her blog.
  • Lauren articulated some thoughts and feelings about being "the flaky friend" that I've had for, um...years. 
  • A couple weeks ago I picked up the inaugural issue of Moxie Maine, a magazine that shares inspiring stories of women from all over Maine. It's definitely worth the $6 and I can't wait to read future issues. 

What have you been loving lately? Tell me in the comments! 
Monday, February 12, 2018

1 Month in the New House

This post contains affiliate links meaning if you click and/or make a purchase with one of those links, I make a few cents at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting Poppyseeder!

restoring victorian house maine

I've spent the past month sore, exhausted, and overwhelmed. The house definitely isn't coming together as quickly as I had hoped and I feel a bit beaten down. House-related stress and winter blues don't mix well. Buuut I still see the potential, I know that eventually it will be great, and I am absolutely loving living in town and not in the middle of nowhere anymore.

What we've done in the new house since we moved in:

removing kitchen cabinets

• Knocked out a cabinet 
Our kitchen is small, the space isn't used wisely, and the storage is limited-- so I really didn't want to lose the cabinet above the fridge. However, I also wanted a fridge that wasn't older than me. The fridge that came with the house had seen better days, so we ordered a new one. We were very careful to get the width and depth right, but we totally forgot about the height. It turns out, the fridge that we ordered was two inches too tall (but the fridge we were replacing was also unusually short), and thus the cabinet had to go. Spencer removed it then covered the gaping hole with gypsum board and put putty around the edges. It was a pretty quick little project and we're probably going to use the space above the fridge to hide plants from my cat.

• Got new appliances
Obviously, we got a new fridge. We also got a new range. I hate shopping for large appliances. It's so much pressure. I don't want to spend a ton of money on something that I need to use every day and then end up hating it. I also hate having to get used to new appliances, especially with some being so advanced and needlessly complicated these days (am I 25 or 85?).

Spencer and I settled on probably the most basic fridge that the store had, and I'm so happy with it. There are no stupid fancy features-- it's just a fridge that isn't trying too hard, and that's exactly what I wanted. We also downsized a bit. When it comes to refrigerators, my mentality is usually "the bigger, the better," but we needed a smaller one. Space in our kitchen is limited and the old fridge really jutted out, so we opted for a counter-depth fridge instead of a deeper one, which gives us less space for food-- which sounds like a bad thing, but not really.

When we lived further away from essentially everything, I would go on huge grocery shopping trips once a week and stock up in the name of efficiency, but I ended up letting a lot of food go to waste. Now that we live in town, I'm just a couple minutes from the store so I can run out and get fresh produce whenever I need it, I don't need to stock up anymore. So here's to more walking space and less food waste!

• Installed Nest systems
We put in the Nest smoke & carbon monoxide alarm, thermostat, camera, and motion sensors. This stuff ain't cheap, but the peace of mind it gives me and the convenience is so worth it to me. The Nest app puts everything in one place and makes it all so easy to use. I live in a pretty safe neighborhood, but due to a past experience I am very concerned about intruders, so the camera is definitely my favorite of the Nest products and makes me feel so much more at ease knowing that I can monitor my whole property via the app. I'm so pleased with it all so far and can't recommend it enough.

google home mini broadcast intercom

• Became dependent on Google Home
When we purchased the Nest systems, there was a promotion going on and we got three Google Home Minis for free. My initial thought was that I didn't even want one, what the heck was I going to do with three?! Within a couple hours of setting the first one up, I was hooked. Mostly I use it as a speaker for my music, to set cooking timers, and telling it to add things to my shopping list (which I can access anywhere via the app), but my absolute favorite feature is Broadcast. Broadcast works as an intercom between multiple Google Homes in the house. This house is pretty big and is very soundproof, so this feature is incredibly helpful. I thought three was too many, but now I'm wondering if we should get more.

• Painting, painting, and more painting
You may have seen in the previous house post or on my Instagram stories that the walls in this house are uggggly. The two large living spaces downstairs were covered in wallpaper and the rest of the house is painted with flat white paint or maybe even just primer. Flat paint doesn't exactly clean easily and I can't put into words how dirty the walls were/are.

So far I've painted the downstairs bathroom, inside of the pantry, living room, dining room, our bedroom, and my office. I've primed the walls in the dining room (shown above) but so far I've been too pooped to finish. When I think about how much more I have to do, it seems like I've barely made a dent, and holy poop we've already spent so much money on paint. However, the rooms that I have painted are so much more welcoming now and it is definitely necessary to keep painting. The painted rooms have been transformed and I can't wait to get the rest of the house painted, though it's kicking my butt.

• Started piecing together my office
My desk had been in storage for the past couple years because we didn't have room for it, which meant I usually did my work from the kitchen table, which meant I was always surrounded by distractions. Now that we have plenty of space I can create my ideal workspace. The desk I have is from IKEA, it's not my favorite-- I would prefer some drawers. But it has such a large tabletop, there's plenty of room for working on some art or a few projects at once.

But I finally have my desk back, I finally have a space for my keyboard, and I made the room truly mine by painting it light pink. I still have a lot of work to do in there, but I already love spending time in there. 

• Discovered the vermin
It's not uncommon for older homes to have mice, so when I started hearing little sounds in the walls, I definitely wasn't happy but I also wasn't surprised. Then I started hearing bigger sounds in the attic which reminded me of a situation I dealt with a few years back-- a flying squirrel infestation. I had someone come out and they confirmed my suspicions. Flying squirrels chewed through the side of my house near the roof and into the attic, and apparently there are a lot entrance points from mice and/or red squirrels into the basement. Ya gotta be kidding me.

The thing that bothers me the most is that the previous owners definitely knew and didn't do anything. They left it to be our problem. Our very expensive problem. Flying squirrels aren't discreet, you know when they're in your house, and they can do a ton of damage. The pest control company said it's obvious that the squirrels have been here for a while and I'm flabbergasted that the previous owners didn't do anything about it, especially since they were living in this house. I'm a quiet, non-confrontational person, but I'm at the point where if I ever see them around town, I might not be able to bite my tongue.

But anyway, we're getting it taken care of. 

restoring victorian house new england fixer upper

Over the past month we've had a lot of WTF moments when discovering how dirty the previous owners left things, how they took a shortcut to "repair" something which made it more difficult for us to fix or replace, and the numerous things that they neglected. I was trying to keep my cool about it because I know these things happen when you buy a house, but the flying squirrel thing made me mad.

It's all so overwhelming. There have been many nights when I lay awake wondering if we rushed into buying this house, wondering if we chose the best home inspector in our area, or kicking myself for not looking closely enough while touring it. Now Spencer and I are at the point where a lot of the excitement has worn off and we're trying to beat buyer's remorse away with a stick. Don't get me wrong-- I love this house, I'm thrilled that it's mine-- but within a week of buying it, we found so many things that we needed to fix that we didn't know about beforehand. But I mean, I watch HGTV, I should have expected this, right?

It all seems like so much right now but I know this is all part of buying a house, especially such an old one. I know that eventually this will be a great house. I just need to be persistent and patient.

You can see more behind the scenes stuff on my Instagram and follow the hashtag #thefawnhouse.