My favorite blogging best friend is blowing out the candles today, and may I add, for the last time as a single lady. #cheerstothat
As you all probably figured out by now, Casey is one talented, motivated & hard-working 20-somethin’ lady. But for those of you who may not know, Casey is also the main reason the DIY Playbook was born. Yea, yea… technically we are 50% owners of DIY Playbook, LLC & always try hard to split up the work 50/50, but Casey is hands-down the reason we are where we are today. Don’t believe me?
Q: Who cooked up the idea of starting a DIY blog anyway?
Q: Who spent a whole summer convincing me to jump on board & follow through with this crazy idea?
Q: Who spearheaded all of our coding & HTML mysteries to actually make our behind the scenes ideas a reality in the form of a LIVE BLOG?!
A: Yup, Casey again
Q: Who is always motivating me to work harder, be better, and achieve the unthinkable regardless of other’s expectations?
A: That’s Casey
Q: Do you see a pattern here?
A: Casey, the answer is Casey!
To symbolize how much Casey motivates me to be BETTER, work HARDER, and NEVER give up, I decided to give her this charming birthday gift.
Alright, I guess it’s not as self-explanatory as I thought. Allow me to explain…
When Casey & I started DIY Playbook, Casey dove right in and bought a DSLR camera (aka a super nice camera) and taught herself how to use it. Are you surprised?! #Imnot
She was dedicated to learning how to shoot manually and bring our blog’s photos to the next level. All the while her Playbook Partner (aka ME) was s.l.a.c.k.i.n.g. I had no fancy camera, no knowledge of photography and a whole lot of excuses why I couldn’t get into “real” blog photography just yet. While Casey was honing her photog skills, I was weighing down the team and started to dread taking blog pics with my dinosaur of a camera.
Q: Guess what Casey did during this time?
A: Encouraged me, supported me, and accepted that I wasn’t ready to make the plunge.
Fast forward a year… I am proud to say that I now own a DSLR camera (woo-woo), I am learning to shoot in manual (keyword: learning) & am no longer weighing down this partnership (well, at least not in the photography department). And the most important update- the new camera has introduced me to my LOVE for taking pictures. A task I used to dread is now possibly one of my favorite parts of this blog journey. Who would have guessed?
Q: Guess who I owe this new passion to?
A: Casey…. AGAIN!
To me, this photography strap is so much more than just a cute strap for her fancy camera. It’s that too, but so much more. This colorful strap is also a symbol of how much she has done for me as a friend, business partner and, most importantly, as a person. Like I said before, Casey is hands-down one of the most hardworking, motivated & dedicated people I know. She will put her all into her work and not come up for air until she has reached her goal (Finn, am I right?). At that point, she will sleep, drink some coffee, & get up the next day to work even harder- repeating this over & over again until…. Well, we haven’t gotten there yet. I’ll let you know when she stops…
To say that she pushes me to work hard, be better, and challenge myself to learn new things just by her example is quite the understatement. I hope this simple gift is a constant reminder to her of how much she inspires me and all of those around her.
Cheers to Casey and a year of great things ahead of her! You better believe that I’ll be by your side, camera in hand, ready to capture these priceless moments…
Oh to be married to a blogger…Let’s break out the old blackboard to chalk down some pros and cons as we join this round table discussion of what it means to be married to a blogger. Due to the fact that we are two men who take great pride in always seeing the glass as half full, let’s kick things off with a dosage of optimism.
Finn: The main perk is (of course) that my home is lovely and full of personalized, creative decor. If left alone to design and style our place, I shudder to think of the outcome. I am assuming there would be a lot of sports, beer, neon signs and gray tape involved (insert Tim Allen grunt here.) Actually that sounds pretty awesome maybe I should…never mind Casey just vetoed every idea I ever had or will have in the future. Damn.
Matt: Yes, my house is also decorated immaculately and with great detail. From the garage all the way down to the soap dish, every base is covered with a particular color and definition. It’s always a real episode when a female relative, friend or co-worker would walk into our home for the first time. I could be tap dancing on the kitchen table reciting a Nicholas Sparks novel in five different languages and our guest would STILL be focused on shelving, built-in cabinets and color popping.
Finn: The second biggest thing is that this blog keeps Casey busy, very busy, and this comes in handy for about 22 Sundays a year. Yes, enjoying football to its fullest for 12 hours straight, and then again on Monday, pairs surprisingly well with an up and coming DIY blog post. Casey needs a lot of time and focused energy to not only create her DIY projects, but also to capture the essence of the idea and take all those photos. This takes time, more than she will ever tell you. It just happens that during this time, she wants nothing to do with me as I am a continuous road block of distraction (I say spontaneous fun, but she has other ideas) and a damper to the DIY process. So in order for me to bless her with this time, I graciously watch football or any other sport out of pure love for her and her passion. It’s not that I want to do this, believe me I would rather be helping Casey create wonderful coffee prints or painting some old vase with a lyric, but I do it out of love and sacrifice for her.
Matt: Like Mr. Finn, the second topic in the lineup of positivity comes in the form of “distraction.” When Bridget is focused on completing a blog post, it will be completed. There could be a marching band coming through our living room, but this girl’s eyes won’t break focus with that computer monitor. This is when things tend to get interesting. You know, that feeling when you were a teenager staying out past curfew…breaking every rule in the book (sorry mom). I’m talking video games, sports talk radio, wrestling dvd’s and of course lip syncing to whatever song comes next on the ipod playlist. Life is good in the house of a blogger.
Finn: The outrageous amount of love and support they receive from people in all walks of our life.
Finn: Major milestones always call for champagne, so I make them up as often as I can.
But hey, we’re honest men too. As much as we would love to continue to dwell on the sunshine and smiles, let’s get to the real dirt of the DIY houses we live in.
Matt: I don’t know the first thing about tools, home makeovers or craftsmanship. I’m about as useful as a Kenny G fan at a Slipknot concert.
Finn: Major downfall – – I catch her in deep thought mode, it is the true eye of the DIY storm. It is this inquisitive look of silence that chills me to my core. When I come upon this moment in the wild, I initially process what room she is in and what she is looking at to prepare for the magnitude of her evil genius. Is she looking at the bathroom tile (no that’s a major project!) or is she just thinking a flower would look nice there (whew.) Is she looking in our bedroom….Oh no does she want to make a headboard, or worse, install a chandelier (my ultimate fear)?? Maybe there is a chance she just wants to put something new in that frame…or oh my god she wants to paint!!!! This is the life I have to live, prisoner to the mind and aspirations of an ever evolving DIY blogger.
Here’s a rapid fire bullet point segment on the cons of being married to a future hall of fame blogger.
Finn: The constant daily phone calls with her partner in crime, the newly named Mrs. Matkovich. The laughing, the OMG-ing, the planning, it all happens every day… all.the.time!
Matt: While Bridget “talks shop” with her uncles and father at family get-togethers, something I know nothing about, I retreat to the living room to drink coffee with the her aunts and listen to their predictions on The Bachelor.
Finn: Getting on a first name basis with Rick at Ace Hardware. Rick is my guy, he gets me.
Matt: Trips to the hardware store get awkward. I’m the guy who pushes the cart around while his wife is the one who is picking out lumber to be cut. I pretend to be on my cell phone just to make the employees think that I’m too busy to give input into the lumber selection, when the reality of the situation is that I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT!
Finn: You can never have enough pillows (news to me!)
Matt: Five years ago, if I would’ve driven past old furniture sitting on the curb in front of a house, I would’ve continued on with my day without thinking twice. Now, not so much. You can bet that I’m instructed to pull over and try to envision that mustard color chair in our guest room. I don’t even want to touch the piece of garbage let alone imagine it in my house.
Finn: Realizing you follow none of the same people on Instagram, like not even close.
Finn: Bobble heads will never ever be in style. Ever. (Agree to disagree)
Matt: Seinfeld will never be a staple in our decor.
Our Final Thoughts on Being Married to DIY Bloggers
While we are overlooking dozens of small things, we would like to end with our favorite thing about this blog and these girls… the fact that they are an inspiration to us and to so many people we know. How many people have the talent to go out and start something from scratch and put it on the internet? We wish we were like them and took a shot at following all of our passions in life, but alas we’re not as talented or courageous as they are. Putting your entire life and ideas on display for the world to critique takes a leap of faith, especially when you are a rookie. We love these girls, and they are the best people you will ever meet if you are blessed with the opportunity. We want to thank everyone for their support and love this past year and cheers (yup, this called for champagne) to the future!!
So what is it like being married to a blogger? It is wonderful, & we wouldn’t want it any other way.
It’s official, DIY Playbook turns 1 today! Literally, one year ago TODAY we launched this blog and have been chasing ‘big league decorating dreams on rookie salaries’ ever since! Here are a few of our most memorable moments throughout our first year as a baby blog.
Launched DIY Playbook: Such a fun day! We were overwhelmed by the support and had no clue what a whirlwind year we were in for.
Posted our Most Popular Project to date (Mason Jar Organizer): Thanks to Casey’s genius idea to add mason jars to the bathroom as extra storage, we were able to see some serious traffic early on. This simple project has been our most popular BY FAR and has given us the opportunity to be featured on some pretty awesome sites. Who knew 4 mason jars, some hose clamps, and an old piece of wood could be such a big deal?
Contacted by our 1st Advertiser: You can imagine all of the screams & OMG’s that went into this phone call… yikes. We were on top of the world and not even the idea that the ad spot cost close to nothing could bring us back down to reality. #calledforachampagnetoast
Attended our 1st Blog Conference (Haven Conference): We are so happy that we summoned up the courage to attend our first ever blogging conference. We learned a lot, met some of our favorite bloggers (and blog celebrities!), and ultimately decided that the entire DIY community is pretty dang amazing.
Casey moved back to Chicago: Wow, who knew being 300 miles closer to your blogging partner would make such a huge difference?! Thanks to Casey’s big move, we are able to DIY a lot more TOGETHER, blog together, attend events/meetings/random blogging errands togethers, chase new opportunities that come our way. Not to mention, having your BFF in town makes life a lot more fun too!
We changed our Domain Name: We dropped the “blogspot” behind our name and bought the domain name that we use now, thediyplaybook.com
We had our first “official” photo shoot for Style Me Pretty Living: Again, insert more screaming here. Being featured on SMP Living was pretty amazing and was such a fun experience! It was so fun to dress up B’s house with flowers, fluffy pillows and lots of little details in prep for the shoot. Plus, it was so amazing to watch Gina Cristine work her magic and make Bridget’s house look far more SMP-worthy than it ever did before.
We became small business owners (DIY Playbook, LLC): Yup, we are Casey & Bridget, rookie business owners that can probably afford to buy a sparkly prize from that old gum ball machine and maybe an XL value meal (to share) thanks to our paychecks from DIY Playbook, LLC. This small business takes “rookie salaries” to a whooooollleeeeee new level.
Became weekly contributors for HireAHelper: Who knew that life changes (like Casey’s move to Chicago) would lead us to do business with a pretty awesome company? We’ve had the pleasure to work with a great team over at HireAHelper and we look forward to continuing that through year 2 of our blog.
Set 2014 Goals: Sometimes it’s hard to sit back, take a deep breath, and look at all that you’ve accomplished. We’ve definitely struggled with that. Once we hit a big milestone, we’re looking ahead to the next one…instead of treasuring all that we just accomplished. Together we came up with a big list of goals for the year, and we’re going to celebrate each one as we attain them.
Turned ONE!: In honor of our first birthday, you can bet we will be taking a page from the mommy blogs and indulging in a serious smash cake.
We also planned a BIG GIFT to ourselves…a blog redesign! We’ve DIY’ed this site since day one…and although we’ve learned a lot about coding/html/running a website, we know our limits. We’re never ever going to be professional webmasters and we’ve accepted that. So, we decided to hire a real pro to give us a new look and a super-speedy site. We’re not 100% sure when the new DIY Playbook will be up and running, but just know it will be soon, really soon.
I’ve got some not-so breaking news for ya. Last Sunday was Bridget’s birthday!
Bridget wanted her birthday to come and go quietly here on the blog…but there was no way I was going to let that happen. A day to chat all about my best friend and favorite person? Ummm…yes please! Sorry birthday girl, but you’re getting a mini birthday blog post today.
I want to tell you guys a little bit about our friendship. Like many true friends, our relationship has steadily grown over the years. (Excuse me, while I make a corny analogy of our friendship = a plant)
Back in 2002, when were just high school freshmen, our friendship was just a small little seedling. We may have gone to school with 3,600 people, but luckily our lockers were right by one another in the same hallway. I always thought Bridget was really “preppy & cool” She was an amazing athlete, and had so many friends in so many different groups. I admired how she was nice to absolutely every single person around her, and being around her made me want to be a better person.
At graduation we sat side by side (that’s what happens when you both have “O” last names), and by then we were good friends. We cheered one another on as we crossed the stage at graduation, and made promises to visit one another at college (we did!)
Since college, our friendship has really grown and blossomed. We haven’t lived in the same town, but Bridget has always made me feel like I’m not far from home. She’s supported me through job changes and new cities.
I’ve seen her grow into a wonderful teacher and mentor to her students. I’ve seen her creativity and style evolve and take shape in her new home. And my personal favorite…I’ve witnessed her fall in love with her husband to be.
So very much has happened over the course of our friendship, and I never want it to stop growing and evolving. So this year for her birthday, I decided to get her a plant, a Rose of Sharon shrub to be exact. Yes, it may seem like an odd gift. But, as you well know Bridget is in the middle of a large landscape project and I figured this plant could somehow make its way into her new yard. A little symbol of “the rookies” right outside her home!
My mom actually has 2 of these plants in her backyard, and Bridget has been admiring them lately. They grow really big and have beautiful hibiscus blossoms all over them.
I’m hoping she will find a nice spot for this plant, and it will grow big and strong…just as our friendship will.
So happy birthday to my best friend and blogging buddy. It’s gonna be a great year girl!
Now the pressure is on for Bridget to keep this plant alive (if the plant dies, does our friendship die too? That would not be good.)
Happy 1/2 Birthday to the Longview Lodge! It’s been 6 months since Matt and I closed on the charming house that we now call home. To honor this fabulous occasion, we are celebrating with a new DIY project dedicated to our baby lodge.
We have decided to dress up our entryway with a picture of the gorgeous birthday boy. (Side note: If you’re eyeing our “new” pew and thinking… wait, what.is.that? Stay tuned for our big reveal coming soon).
Here’s a closer look at the wall we’re working with. Before we could hang a new picture, we needed a frame or two… or three?
We bought three frames at Target; 2 with mats framing a 5×7 picture and one with a mat framing an 8×10 opening. A picture of the Lodge will be placed in the middle, but can you guess what will be placed in the other two frames?
If you guessed “our childhood homes”… you’re right!
Since it has been 6 months, we have officially decided to add our little charmer to the family. It’s quite the honor to add this newbie alongside the veteran homes that mean the world to Matt and me.
Although the Longview Lodge has a lot to live up to, we couldn’t be more excited or more proud to add him to this famous line-up.
If the Lodge lives up to the legacy of his competition, he will be quite a legend someday. But since it’s only his 1/2 birthday, he definitely has a long road a head of him.
And in the meantime, we will be enjoying the journey and thanking our lucky stars for a home that we absolutely adore.
P.S. Just a friendly reminder that there is less than week left in our Challenge Loop competition. All submissions are due next Wednesday, May 29th. Finish up your DIY projects and head on over to our challenge loop page for your chance to win $50 to Target.
Our birthday girl is a talented writer, avid reader, and extremely hardworking & humble professional. She would never, ever talk about her work, so please… allow me.
As a journalism major from University of Notre Dame, Casey has been a TV reporter, news anchor, video producer, on-camera host, and now, a blogger! Within all of these job titles, Casey has worked hard, both on camera and off, to bring her viewers the “story”. Breaking news, special reports, entertaining interviews, Casey’s got the story and is dedicated to sharing it with honesty, dedication and authentic enthusiasm. Although each of these stories make up a part of Casey’s life, there are other stories that define my best friend far more accurately.
Like her storybook romance to her high school sweetheart, Mr. Finn.
Or the many stories about Casey growing up as the baby sister of 3 fabulous siblings
Or maybe the stories of her moving up to a cold little town in Wisconsin to follow her dream
Regardless of which story it is, each one has helped build the positive, grateful, hardworking, and compassionate woman she is today.
Casey is one-in-a-million, and I’m so lucky & grateful to be a tiny little part of her amazing story.
Cheers to my favorite rookie. May this twenty-somethin’ chapter be full of love, laughter and lots of happiness. And in honor of Casey’s special day, we’re celebrating with a gift for YOU, our wonderful readers. Click here for your own FREE printable to give to the “Casey” in your life!
As much as I’m so happy to be a part of Casey’s story, I’m equally thankful that she’s a part of my story. Download and print a copy of this free printable by clicking Here! Either of these printables paired with a great book can be a thoughtful little gift for a teacher, mom (mother’s day is coming up) or that someone special in your life.
Happy Birthday to one heck-of-a-teammate!!
PS. Tune in around 2:00 PM for another reason to celebrate! Can you guess what it is?
My mister is turning the big 26, and in order to celebrate I decided to make him one of his favorite desserts.
But before I get to the dessert..I need to tell you a little something about Finn. See, my man has a love for burgers. And when I say love, I mean it. He’s the kinda guy that goes out to eat and orders a burger…no matter the time of day. He attempts to try different cuisines, but somehow his eyes always beeline towards the burger section of every single menu. What can I say, he is a carnivore through and through!
He actually isn’t a dessert guy at all. But when it comes to birthdays, I just feel like there needs to be dessert if you want to have a true celebration! Anyone else feel that way?
That’s where my mom’s mini hamburger cookies come into play!
Here’s what you need for this creative and oh-so-easy recipe!
Nilla wafers make for some fluffy hamburger buns.
Thin mints or grasshoppers can be squished in between the buns to make a nice little meat patty. (Thinking of chocolate and meat makes me a little queasy…)
The icing is a critical part of this “recipe.”
It holds the sandwich together…
And the icing also makes for some realistic toppings. Win…win.
The final step to really make these “burgers” look real…the sesame seed bun!
Simply swipe some honey on the top bun, and shake on a few sesame seeds.
For extra credit you can even get your own hamburger wrappers! I simply went to McDonald’s and asked for 10-20 unused ones. I didn’t know if they would actually give them to me…but I guess I’m a good sweet talker 🙂
You could cut up the paper and wrap each individual burger to make them extra authentic!
I think the birthday boy approves of my little birthday treat!
In fact, I even overheard him singing the “Big Mac” song.
“Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions – all on a sesame seed bun.”
He now has a yummy snack to bring to work!
I’ve gotta say..this is my kind of “baking”
So has anyone ever seen these cute hamburger cookies before? Do you have a special birthday treat that you make for your loved ones?
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