27 September 2013

Be Our Guest | Princess Margaret Lottery Show Home

We're heeeeere! If you're curious, that's the one-and-only Lynne Knowlton "riding the pony" on the sidewalk.

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to a blogger social and guided tour (by none other than Brian Gluckstein himself) of the Gluckstein-designed 2013 Princess Margaret Lottery Show Home. I may or may not have engaged in a Happy Dance resembling the Hokey Pokey on crack.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday, when I wriggled into my favourite dress and joined a group of amazing bloggers for a fabulous evening of socializing, networking, design-admiration and home-envy. It was kind of a big deal. 

It goes without saying that I would move in to this house in a heartbeat. Or does it need to be said? If so, mission accomplished. Bottom line: I secretly tried to move my luggage in and stake a claim. I was thwarted.

However, IF you purchase a ticket to the Princess Margaret lottery (officially, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Welcome Home Sweepstakes) and IF you win, this house could be YOURS. 


And you'd be contributing to a great cause. That's win-win in my book.

In the meantime, because I love you, I thought I'd take you on a walking tour in photos through the house. Also, I know you'll need to plan where your family mementos will go and who gets which bedroom for when you win. I'm a planner, too, so I get you.

Ready, Freddie? Let's go.

The Foyer. Welcome home.
Formal Living Room
View through the house, from front to back
Dining Room
The Kitchen.... Oh my gosh, the KITCHEN. I died.
Media Room. I dig the integration of the television into the gallery wall. TV in "disguise".
Second Floor Landing. Gallery walls of framed photographs and a statement table adorned with a collection of terrariums made this space a destination rather than a pass-through.
Bedroom - one of five, in total.
Master Bedroom
Master Bath. I died AGAIN.
Basement Wet Bar

Basement Family Room. This is my FAVOURITE room in the house. That double-wide couch just speaks to me. I want to date it.
I took so many more photos of this beautiful, beautiful space, which I'll share with you in the next few weeks. I was enthralled with the attention to detail paid to each and every room; especially amazing when you consider the build took just five months from demo to completion (may I remind you that it took us nearly a year to renovate a 9' x 12' bathroom? So yes, building and decorating an entire house from scratch in just 20 weeks sort of blew my mind.)

Specifically, I am obsessed (OBSESSED) with the lighting choices of BG and team in this home. Expect a post very soon focused exclusively on celebrating the fixtures. It's going to be glorious.

But this post would not be complete without a photo of the mastermind behind the Blogger Social, Cheryl Kozoriz, GlucksteinHome's Marketing and Communications Manager. Is this girl gorgeous or what?! (hint: she is.) And crazy-good at what she does.


And of course, the man of the hour himself, Brian Gluckstein.

Brian. Like you couldn't guess.

Not a winner of a picture, unfortunately, but I did forewarn him that all the terrible photos of him circulating online are courtesy of me, and I apologized in advance. My terribly bad shutterbugging doesn't at all convey my gratitude so I should probably just say it again to be safe.

Thank you to everyone at GlucksteinHome who made Wednesday evening possible, and for creating such a gorgeous home for such an amazing cause: Brian, Cheryl, Victoria and team.... you've done an outstanding job. 

Don't forget to get your ticket sooner rather than later: they're 50% sold out already! Good luck!!


25 September 2013

BlogPodium 2013 | Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

BlogPodium 2013 happened this past weekend, and was a HUMONGOUS success. Kudos to Jen Flores and the entire BlogPodium team for pulling off one hell of an event.

Many of the more than 250 bloggers in attendance have published incredible recaps of the day's events, and have done it more justice than I ever could. You can find all of them here, and you should read every single one.

As for me, I'm late to the gate with my round-up (like always) because I've spent the past three days processing, digesting and occasionally being overwhelmed by the information and the generosity I received from experts and fellow bloggers alike.

It was a transformative experience; I'm a changed blogger, and I promise you this is not an overstatement. I'm not waxing poetic. This is nothing but truth.

I have been to BlogPodium before; in fact, I've never missed an event. And each conference was amazing in its own right. I was equally reassured (that I'm not just wasting time, that my efforts are valuable and worthwhile) and inspired. Many of the promises I made to myself came to fruition afterwards; some did not. But each contributed to small, meaningful changes in how I blog.

I think because I'm at a crossroad in my personal and professional lives, BlogPodium '13 struck a powerful chord, more powerful maybe than conferences passed. I see my path more clearly than before. I've come to fully accept these intrinsic truths:

  1. My blog is important to me, and therefore I must treat it importantly.
  2. My goal is to create connections, build relationships and positively impact the people around me, and my blog is my vehicle.
  3. I am in complete control.

There were several moments of super-fandom when I nearly lost my shit and had to be sedated. Sarah Richardson taking the stage was one of them. She is just as charming, witty and engaging in person as she is on television; arguably more so because here, she played off the crowd. But the best element of her keynote was her message: work hard, believe in yourself and just do it.

Exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it.

Don't take yourself too seriously. Creativity is supposed to be about fun and experimentation. ~Sarah Richardson

If you look at your blog as a business, it will become a business. ~Karen Bertelsen

If the audience is going to invest time in you, they want to know
you're going to show up. ~Rhonda Riche, on consistency

If you invest yourself, do what you love and support your brand, you'll realize your dream. ~Sarah Richardson

You have to be able to deliver (products that) you're proud of. ~Giulia Doyle

You need a lot of traffic to make a living off your website,
so you need to invest time to build it. ~Karen Bertelsen

The best thing you can do is get out there and do it. ~Sarah Richardson

It's perfectly OK that blogging is important to me. It's more than OK, actually. It's perfectly glorious, and should be celebrated. No more embarrassment, no more shame. Only pride that I am one of a privileged group of people who put themselves out to the world, and invite the world back in. How cool is that?

My blog can be a powerful tool in helping me realize my life goals, both personal and professional. However, a tool is only as effective as the person who wields it. I can and should empower myself to be thoughtful, deliberate and dogged in pursuit of my goals.

To reach my goals I have to look critically at what I'm putting out in the world, and build a plan around it. Success (however I define it) won't happen accidentally. I have to approach this process like it's my job. Especially if I want it to be my job.

If I want others to take my blog as seriously as I do, I have to let people know I'm serious about it. This means no more stock photography, logos or URL. 'Custom' is the word of the day, and I'm excited to say I've already engaged a good friend of mine who's an amazing graphic artist to help me create my branding. Blogger has been wonderful to me and for me, but it's time to take the next step in Money Pit Love's evolution.

It's possible. ALL OF IT. Everything; anything I want. It's all possible, and it's up to me to make it happen.

Oh, and then there are these ladies, and all the amazing chickadees who launched the fab Canadian Blogging Belles. There aren't words to describe their awesomeness, or how lucky and blessed I feel to be surrounded by women such as these. They are the BOMB.

I should tell you we're now a hoodlum gang, and we are taking over the world . Consider yourself warned.

all photography by the amazing, incomparable AnnaWithLove


24 September 2013

Foodie Tuesday | What the Deuce?

Maybe you've noticed I'm posting a lot about food lately. As in, every week? On Tuesdays, maybe?

If you haven't noticed, this is awkward. Forget I asked.

Have you noticed?? I hope you have. 'Cuz I'm doing it for me but also I'm doing it for you, too. I want to share beautiful food with you that looks good, tastes good and is good for you. Why? Because I love you. But let's talk more about why I'm doing it for me.

So here's the thing: I spend most of my waking life thinking about food. Sometimes my sleeping life, too. My dreams can get pretty darned weird. But when I'm awake, I think about food ALL. THE. TIME.

It's no secret I'm a big gal. I'm cushy. Being honest here: I would rather walk on hot coals than miss a meal. It's not that I don't have any self-control. It's just that I LOVE FOOD. I love flavour, and tasting good things. The act of preparing food, and then consuming it, is vital and meditative and sensual and fun. Yes, it keeps me alive, but food is an experience and I like experiencing things.

Also, my family eats a LOT. They're not big people. In fact, my kids are rail-thin and wicked-athletic. But do you know how much the average teenage boy eats? It's incredible. And if that teenage boy is an elite athlete who spends upwards of 20 hours a week participating intense physical activity, you can easily double that intake. It's like living with a whale shark: he just opens his maw and coasts through the kitchen inhaling everything that's not nailed down. I wouldn't be surprised to find a stray boot in his stomach, or a license plate. Jaws ain't got nothin' on a teenage athlete. And keeping him fed with wholesome, home-cooked meals that meet his nutritional needs AND his flavour preferences is a full-time job in itself.

The Girl is a lighter and more "selective" eater than the rest, but that presents different challenges. If I was only making one meal per night, seven nights a week for 52 weeks a year, that would be something. But no. We didn't get that lucky. Her Highness The Girl requires options. She's likes to make her own decisions. So we have to have choices in the fridge: you can have this protein or that. This orange vegetable or that. This carb or that. As a budding athlete herself, she's starting to eat a ton. Or, a ton more than she did (but anything more than a cup of noodles and a single frozen pea is a ton. So.... she's eating a ton. Thank Gawd.) That means more food, more options. More work.

Daryn, he's easy. He'll eat anything. Except when he's watching his figure, and then he likes to make things hard. For shits and giggles. During the week he cuts out all carbs, all sugar, all caffeine. All fun. You ever tried to make a carb-free, sugar-free, low-fat yet deliciously tasty and filling dinner?? No, of course not. Because you can't. It's impossible. It doesn't exist. (Don't try to prove me wrong and tell me it does. I won't believe you.)

And then there's me: no lamb, no "weird stuff" (rabbit, squid, sweetbreads, whatever), no olives, no feta, no goat products of any kind (yes, that includes cheese), no eggplant.... I have a laundry list of things I don't like. My tastes have vastly expanded as I've grown older (more on that later), but there are still some hard lines I won't cross. They are lines drawn in creamy goat cheese and lamb's wool.

So finding recipes that make everyone happy (or mostly everyone, except for maybe Princess Fussy-Face The Girl, who eats plain chicken with plain rice and raw broccoli -- dinner of champions!) AND that everyone can eat and that serves all our nutritional needs.... Well, sometimes it feels impossible. Sometimes it's an uphill battle. But it's ALWAYS time consuming. I spend my whole life thinking about it.

When it comes to the blog, I promised I was going to write about whatever captured my attention and/or I was spending my time on. Well, guess what? I spend my time cooking. Recipe searching, menu planning and cooking. And I want to share those experiences with you all. Because like I said: I love you. And also because I assume you eat too, and everybody likes recipes (otherwise Pinterest wouldn't exist.)

Which is why I'm bringing you Foodie Tuesdays. You might hate it -- that would be a bummer, but OK. Recipes aren't for everybody. Just think about skipping Tuesdays from now on, 'cuz I'm pretty sure this is going to stick.

And you might love it. Which would be awesome!! And, kind of the whole point.

But keep in mind it's not just one-sided. If you've got recipes you'd like to share and showcase, let me know.

OMG we could do a bloggy potluck!! That would be cool. How could we make that happen? Any ideas, peeps? 

So yeah, this Foodie Tuesday thing is, indeed, a thing. If you have opinions about what you'd like to see, or try, or what you'd like me to create (given my success the first time around), I'm all ears. Hit me up with your ideas and let's run with them!

PS - Stewie Griffin has nothing at all to with this post, except that I love him. He's my spirit animal. And my favourite one-liner (that seemed appropriate... and PG enough) is the title of this post. Otherwise, he is in no way implicated or related to Recipe Tuesday.

PPS - There will be no recipe today. Just an explanation of how I'm going to recipe the crap out of you going forward (and explain the past few weeks). 

PPPS - Unless you really want one, in which case, I'll have no choice but to comply. Just say so; I've got plenty of 'em ready for you.

19 September 2013

The Organized Book Shelf

The kinds of things that keep me up at night might surprise you. Like this, for example:

These are the book shelves in our bedroom, and since we've moved in they've been driving me crazy. I set them up as they had been organized in the old house: by colour. It's super-anal, I know. Who does that?! Turns out: me, apparently.

In the old house all that colour-blocking looked great, I guess because the room was white (our books were stored in the office) and because I used a bright colours in other areas that made it look all balanced and intentional and whatnot. If you don't remember what the old office looked like, here's a pic to jog your memory (or you can check out this post).

Anyway, I figured that if it worked at the old house it would work at the new, so I went ahead and organized all the shelves by colour (except the antique books, which get stacked together for protection).

And I hated it.

It kept me up at night, hating it. Because yes, this is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.

So after five months of being upset with it, I decided to change it. But how?

I considered at first just throwing everything in a pile on the bed, then filing them away at random. I tried, but I couldn't do it. I'm no heathen; I need a system. Without a system it's just chaos, and I live in enough chaos that I don't need to create more just for shits-and-giggles. Besides, how would I find anything?

(Sidebar: it took me forever to find anything in the old system, too, since it required me to take a mental snapshot of every book when it came home and recall its colour before I could find it... you can probably guess how that worked out.)

Then I considered filing by size, but it looked ridiculous. Like, seriously ridiculous. It was like a zigzag, or the incredibly shrinking library. Completely unworkable.

Then it struck me: a LIBRARY! I wanted the varying, random look with the rigid organization of a library. So at 11pm one night, while Daryn watched The Daily Show, I started cataloguing our books -- every single one of them. It didn't take as long as I thought it would (maybe two hours?) and when I was done, I reserved an entire morning the following day to reorganize. This is what the shelves look like now:

Nice, right?

Here are some close-ups:

The shelves are now alphabetized by author, then sub-alphabetized by book title (except for the antique books, which are still grouped together for protection.) I like it muuuuuuuch better. I'm sleeping better too.

So now I just need to fill in those two blank shelves -- historically we've filled them with art, and I think I will again. And that blank wall space in the middle needs a little sumpt'n-sumpt'n, too, we just need to decide which pieces will work and where. I'm hoping to get to it this weekend.

How about you? What systems do you use to organize your bookshelves?

17 September 2013

Foodie Tuesday | Fall Harvest Soup with Curry & Ginger

The farmer's market in Milton hangs on until the middle of October, regardless of wind, rain, sleet or hail. It's sort of like the Post Office, except much tastier.

Since I'm trying to be "that gal" -- the one who's a wannabe/almost/pending locavore -- I'm making it a point to visit the market every Saturday to purchase all our produce for the week (even though our regular shopping day is Sunday and Daryn is slightly less than thrilled to be shopping TWO days a week now instead of one, though the fab lemon danish at his favourite bakery vendor usually smooths the waters.) This past weekend the beautiful fall harvest veg was speaking to me: carrots, potatoes, squash, parsnips, apples and plums, all so gorgeous I could hardly decide what to take home with us.

Anyway, I did decide eventually (after MUCH taste-testing) and then sat around the kitchen staring at my bounty, waiting for inspiration to strike. I flipped through about a hundred recipes on the web, and hemmed and hawed over the best -- and tastiest -- way to cook my loot.

Finally I made a little list of all the flavours that make my mouth water, and just let the ingredients (from the market, and stuff already in my fridge) guide me. This rich and creamy fabulousness is the result.

Preparation: 45 + 15 minutes | Cooking Time: 45 + 30 minutes | Serves: 8 (serving size = 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 2 celery stalks (approximately 1 cup, finely diced)
  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 4 medium carrots (approximately 2 cups, finely diced)
  • 6-8 small Ginger Gold (or other firm, tart) apples (approximately 4 cups, diced)
  • 1 (heaping) tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth (Hey vegetarians/vegans: join the fun! Substitute vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • cooking spray

Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray a shallow baking sheet with cooking spray. Slice acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place squash cut-side down (skin up) on the baking tray; bake 10 minutes. Turn squash halves skin-side down and bake another 40-50 minutes, or until the flesh is very, very tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  3. While squash is baking, peel carrots and peel and core apples. Chop apples and onion into medium dice. Chop carrots and celery into fine dice.
  4. Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and garlic; sauté until translucent (approximately 8-10 minutes).
  5. Add curry powder, bay leaf, salt, pepper and minced ginger; cook 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add carrots and apples; stir well to coat with spices.
  6. Add chicken broth to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cover tightly. Simmer 20-30 minutes until apples begin to dissolve and carrots are very, very tender (you're going to be blending this mixture into a purée so it needs to be soft-soft-soft.)
  7. Meanwhile, scoop squash from their skins into a separate bowl. Aim for approximately 4 cups.
  8. Remove soup mixture from heat. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  9. Get out your blender! Carefully (because the soup mixture is wicked-hot), ladle 1-2 scoops of soup mixture + 1 cup of squash to the blender. Blend on high until smooth. Transfer to a separate pot or large bowl.
  10. Continue blending until all soup mixture and squash has been puréed and is completely smooth.
  11. Add coconut milk and stir thoroughly to combine.
  12. Serve with slices of toasted, buttered naan and side salad of salted cucumber slices splashed in white wine vinegar and mint.

OMG you guys, this soup is so YUM. YUMYUMYUMYUMYUM.

It's thick and rich, warm and spicy, nutty and buttery, smooth, super-delish and crazy-good for you. Like, CRAZY good. It's also grain, gluten and dairy free, and can be easily adapted to a vegetarian/vegan diet by substituting veggie broth for the chicken. And then Bob's-Your-Uncle! It's possibly the perfect soup :)

I'm pretty excited that my first foray into recipe-making turned out so well; I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Have you ever invented a recipe from scratch? What was it? Share in the comments, I'd love to hear about it!

Notes: freezer-friendly | vegetarian (optional)

16 September 2013

Basement Clean Up | The Miraculous "After"

Not too long ago, I shared some photographic evidence of our superior organizational and housekeeping skills. I told you it was bad, and you probably thought I was kidding or overstating or just generally making a mountain out of a molehill or whatever. And then you saw the pictures and probably squirmed a little in embarrassment for me, that I would actually choose to share snapshots of that nature, and then maybe you patted yourself on the back because your basement might be bad but it doesn't look like that, and you felt better about your choices. So... you're welcome.

But in that same post wherein I broadcast my hoarding shame to the Internets, I ALSO promised it was actually a good news story, and it is! Here's the good news:

We broke our backs, and nearly died of the allergies (because if there's one thing we can barely tolerate, it's dog-sized balls of fur and dust, dust, dust... which was precisely what the entire basement was coated with, so it was totally: bring on the snot-faces! but we persevered.) And we succeeded. Mostly.

Check it out!

There's still a screaming ton of work to be done, not least of which is putting up some "walls" over the framing/insulation (which are in quotations because we can't afford real walls right now, so I'm experimenting with some other, creative solutions -- I'll update you as soon as I find something that works) and clearing out the area behind the furnace that's still packed solid with boxes. At Christmastime we'll tackle the boxes piled up outside the cabinet opposite the stairs (the second-to-last photo); no word of a lie, that's ALL holiday gear. We feel like the Grinch after he pillaged Whoville... the hoarding has got to stop!

It's definitely a process, but we're wrangling it. Rejoice in the progress! We are :)

13 September 2013

This Week at the Money Pit

Surprise!! Turns out our aquatic snail,  Fiona Apple Snail, really IS a girl. These are her eggs.
We think it might be multiples...

Also in Tank News, we had to separate one frog from being bullied by the other two. Now he has to be fed individually. Because there's nothing better than a fuss-free pet that requires a heck of a lot of fuss...

Somebody's sick....

We played many rousing games of Spot-the-Shih-Tsu...

We moved some furniture around, which we like a lot...

We're hanging some art!...

And, we're putting together a posse. Just a few birds of a feather. Ain't no big thang...

Happy weekend, peeps!

10 September 2013

Foodie Tuesday | Family Favourite Meatloaf

Ever since I was little, meatloaf has been one of my all-time favourite meals. My Nanny made it infrequently enough that each time she did it was a celebration of sorts. It was exciting. It was an EVENT.

(Yes, that's right folks. Ground meat pressed into a pan and baked until grey-brown (gr-own? br-ey?) is what passed for an EVENT in our house. We're sort of a sedate people. We're British.)

Anyway, you would think that with time and age (and now having to make it myself instead of having it made for me) that the thrill of the meatloaf would wear off. Not so. I like it even more, if that's possible, because I've been able to play with the recipe to figure out what really tickles my taste buds. It took quite a bit of experimentation but we've finally arrived at a modern version of a '50's favourite that everyone in our family loves.

Yes, meatloaf night is STILL an event in our house. Because we're cray like that.

Preparation: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Serves: 8-10

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 3 + 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, separated
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce of your preference)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup plain BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • cooking spray

Cooking Directions:
  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine eggs, tomato sauce, 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco/hot sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk to blend thoroughly.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, combine turkey, beef, onions and oats. Using your hands, mix ingredients together to blend meats and thoroughly distribute onions and oats.
    This step requires some elbow grease, so roll up your sleeves!

  3. To the meat mixture, add half the sauce contents. Knead with your hands until the sauce mixture is fully absorbed. Add the remaining sauce, and do the same. The final result should be a pile of wet meat but no visible liquid.
    It's not very appetizing at this stage. It gets better.
  4. After washing the meat goop from your hands:
    • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
    • Coat a 3-quart lidded baking dish with cooking spray. Be sure to get up the sides as well as the bottom, to prevent the meat from sticking.
    • In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and BBQ sauce. Whisk together.
      This is where it becomes obvious that I am a '50's throwback. I LOVE this sauce on meatloaf. Betty Crocker would be proud.
  5. Press the meat mixture into the pan. Pour the 'Betty Crocker' sauce on top and spread it evenly around, all the way to the edges.
  6. Bake for 90 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into the center registers 160 degrees. Serve hot.

The juices cook down to a thick-ish consistency that makes for a nice gravy; just a little goes a long way. The meatloaf itself is really moist, so the sauce is really just for added flavour. We keep this recipe pretty family-friendly - especially for the little one - but you can bump up the heat quotient by adding more hot sauce as you like it.

Not only is this meatloaf flavourful, it's lower in fat than its predecessors thanks to the extra lean ground beef and the addition of turkey instead of traditional choices like pork. It freezes beautifully, too, which makes it perfect as a make-ahead dinner - you can freeze the whole loaf, or slice it into single servings and freeze them individually (which is super great for young athletes who need dinner quick, healthy and often at odd hours). It's delicious on sandwiches, too, and makes a great alternative to processed lunch meats.

On a weeknight, we serve it with Parmesan mashed potatoes (basically, just smashed red potatoes - skin on - with milk, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; pictured in the photo) and a green side: beans are our favourite but broccoli rocks our socks too.

And there you have it! A dinner your whole family will love.

Notes: kid-friendly | freezer-friendly | lightened up

07 September 2013

Basement Clean Up | The Dreaded "Before"

Nearly a year ago when we moved from the old Pit to the new, we were close to being done-in by the gargantuan task of editing the lifetime of crap stuff we had accumulated. Daryn and I are borderline hoarders, and between us we have enough crap stuff to sink a battleship. Added to the problem was the lifetime of crap stuff collected and accumulated by my grandparents and their four children, which was left behind when my grandfather moved. If you're doing the math, that's one lifetime each times EIGHT people equals... a lot. A really lot.

In actual fact, it took many months and the emotional fortitude of super heroes, but we did it. We purged and purged and purged, and streamlined our belongings down to just our "essentials". Then we packed those essentials up (in a good and orderly fashion, of course) and shipped them to the new house where, as moving day stretched into its twelfth hour and we dissolved from fresh-faced new home owners to stressed out exhausted nomads, it was determined that the very best place for most of those boxes was...

The Basement.

And there those boxes have sat for the better part of a year. Looking like this.

*WARNING: These seven photos are shame personified. I'm showing you because I trust you. Be gentle with me.

I know, right? It's just so awful. And weirdly, it seems like it's gotten worse over time, not better (probably because we spend so much time rifling through all those boxes trying to find that one thing that's been packed away that we need. We're rarely successful.)

But this is a GOOD NEWS post! I'm happy to report that we cleaned and organized the shit out of this basement. It's literally night and day: a perfect celebration of all that is good and organized. So tune back in on September 16th for our big reveal. It will knock your socks off!

And remember: shhhhhhh. This kind of basement shame stays just between us.