With the start of a new year often comes unrealistic goals to organize every nook and cranny in your home. While we love getting organized, you won’t find us doing complete overhauls of our closets, drawers, and cabinets every January.
That’s because we get rid of unwanted items all year round and purge continuously. We call it the “grocery bag method.” Not incredibly glamorous, but boy is it effective.
Our #1 Purging Trick
Here’s how it works. I always have a paper grocery bag in my closet. This bag is specifically for items that I no longer want and instead will donate.
Whenever I bring a new item into my closet, I find something in my closet that I don’t love and put it in this bag. If something new is coming in…something old is going out. NO EXCEPTIONS!
I also fill up this bag whenever I try on a piece of clothing and don’t end up wearing it that day because it’s just kinda blah. You know what I mean, right? Those pieces that you put on when getting dressed for the day, but you end up not wearing because it doesn’t fit/has a stain/is ripped/or just isn’t that cute anymore. This happens to me all the time.
In the past, I would hang those unwanted pieces right back up to be dealt with at a later date (usually months later when I scheduled time to purge my closet). I’d then try the items on all over again, only to decide (for a second time) that I no longer wanted it in my wardrobe. This method was inefficient and time-consuming.
Now with the paper bag method, these items are discarded immediately… making my closet a bit lighter, and my morning clothing decision a bit easier.
My paper bag fills up slowly and steadily, but it always contains items that I know for certain I no longer want.
Purge, Donate, Repeat
Once it’s full, I put the paper bag in the trunk of our car and the next time I drive by the donation site…I simply drop it off. Then I add a new paper bag to our closet for my next round of donations.
I know it sounds simple, but the paper bag method has been a game changer for me. Instead of scheduling an overwhelming and daunting day to purge my closet, I slowly discard items every single week.
If you’re looking to slim down your home or closet, this method just might work for you. Give the paper bag a try and let me know your thoughts on this simple trick to get organized!
Can you tell by now that we love a good list?! Truth be told, we’re pretty much addicted to lists and literally can’t function without one reminding us of what needs to get done. (Pretty sad, we know!) There’s just something about checking off each item on the our to-do lists that gives us instant gratification and just enough motivation to keep on working!
So it’s probably no surprise that when we sit down for our quarterly meetings, we make lists of goals, changes, and everything that we need to do in order to accomplish these lofty tasks. At our recent Q4 meeting, we chatted about how the year went and what we wanted to stick to, change, or improve for 2017. We also went through your feedback from this post and REALLY focused on how we could make the DIY Playbook more enjoyable for you, our amazing reader.
To organize ALL of these thoughts we did what we do best… made a list, of course. Here are 17 things we want to focus on in 2017. (Warning: fill up your coffee because this may take a while!)
The DIY Playbook Style Series: We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on The DIY Playbook Style Series and had a lot of fun growing this little part of the blog last year! We plan on using Wednesdays here on the blog to continue to focus on these fashion-related posts. And speaking of which, if there’s any specific fashion-related post you’d love us to tackle, don’t hesitate to let us know!
Casey vs. Bridget’s Style & Size: For the most part our style is similar (probably because we shop at the same stores) but our body types and sizes are very different. We actually do have some of the same items in our closets (what can we say, we are best friends after all) but the majority of our clothes are different because of our unique body types. Finding outfits, styles, and brands that fit your personal body type is a “challenge” for almost all women and we want to use our platform this year to be real about this topic.
The First FULL Year of a FULL blog schedule: Fashion related posts on Wednesday and DIY/home related posts Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday will definitely make for a full and exciting year! We’ve always posted M, T, Th & Fri with Wednesdays sprinkled in. But now that we’re committed to the DIY Playbook Style Series, we will be providing content M-F consistently for the first year in Playbook history!!
Keep Our Professional and Personal Branding Consistent: We’ve come a long way over the last 4 years figuring out our style and our “brand” personally and professionally… although we still have some work to do! It sounds funny to say it like that, but honestly we work hard to stick to our personal and professional brands so that our entire style is consistent. We’re excited to chat more about this in 2017, but we also want to live it by sticking to our brand on the blog, on our social media, in our closets, etc.
Improve Website: This goal pretty much makes it to our New Year’s list annually. We want to continue to work hard to make sure the blog is running as efficiently and quickly as possible — both on the desktop and laptop. We also want to make sure the content, photography, graphics and overall site look great too. In order to do that, we hope to update our home tours and some of the static pages to make the Playbook experience the best it can be.
[Side Note: We did hear that a few of you guys aren’t thrilled that our posts are now truncated on Feedly, and as blog readers ourselves…we feel ya! However, our pictures never looked great over there, with the order screwing up or the picture’s aspect ratio getting all crazy. We put A LOT of time and effort into our photos and want you to get the best experience when reading posts. So we decided to make the move to truncated posts on Feedly. We’re sad that you’re sad, but had to make the best decision for the blog long-term.]
More Reader Interaction: One of our favorite parts of this blog is hearing from you, seeing your spaces, getting your advice, and doing everything we can to stay connected. We try really hard to never leave a comment unanswered on both the blog and on our social media channels. If someone is going to take time out of their day to connect with us, the LEAST we can do is be accessible and answer them. We want to continue to do that while offering even more opportunities to connect with readers. Local meet-ups? More #diyplaybookSOS advice? Another makeover for a lucky reader?!
Continue Happy Hour Posts: You guys have let us know that you really like the new format of our monthly recaps (aka Happy Hour posts) and we’re so glad because we love casually checking-in! We hope to continue to use these posts to share random info about what we are loving on the internet, and what’s happening in our personal lives.
Expand Rookie Mistake Series: We’ve gotten many emails on how thankful readers are about the rookie mistake series, so we definitely plan to add to this series. Are there any design dilemmas that you guys would love to see us tackle?
Collaborate More: Collaborating with other bloggers is always a blast so we definitely want to do more of this in 2017. As blog readers ourselves, we love when our favorite bloggers collaborate because we are exposed to other creatives and styles that we wouldn’t typically find without their help.
More Giveaways: We always love to provide an opportunity for our readers to try out products that we love, however it’s a fine line because we don’t want to ever feel too “sponsory” around here.
Use our Platform to Promote GOOD: I tell my students all the time how important it is for them to use their power for good in this world…encouraging them to be kind, respectful, and use their influence to peer pressure others to make GOOD choices. As I tell my students that, I’ve come to realize that’s exactly what we want to do here on the blog too. Our lives aren’t perfect but what’s the good of focusing on the imperfect parts? We want to use this blog to promote positivity and the importance of making the most of the blessings we do have. We want to cheer for others as they chase their dreams, encourage others to create a home that they love, encourage others to be proud of their bodies/style, and help others OWN their HAPPY. If we can help just a few people feel grateful for their own gifts and use those gifts to make the world a better place, then all the hard work behind this little ol’ blog is WELL, well worth it.
Provide Insight into our Lives: We get questions quite a bit about the blog, more specifically how we run the blog while having full-time jobs. Hopefully with a little more insight into our daily lives, you will get to know our routine and how we make it work. We love when bloggers step away from their everyday content to have #REALTALK moments and 2017 seems like the perfect time for some of those chats.
Be Consistent on Social Media: We love using Instagram and post just about everyday and we also share our posts on Facebook each day. But beyond that, we aren’t always consistent on Pinterest or using Facebook the best that we could. This year we want to give these three channels more effort by sharing our personal style on ALL of them. <— Do you follow us on all three?! We’d love to have you!
Present Publicly: Ahhh… this makes us a bit nervous, even just typing it on the list. We’ve been invited to present at a large home show in February (more details on that soon) and hesitated about accepting it because it’s a large crowd (like 200+ people!) However, we decided that stepping outside of our comfort zone every now & then is a good thing so we accepted, and there’s no backing out now!
Don’t get Burnt Out: We know 2017 will be busy with full-time jobs & a 5-day blog schedule, so we want to make sure we take steps to avoid blogger burn-out. Last week’s vacation has us feeling rested and rejuvenated to jump into work head first, but we want to make sure we continue to take necessary steps to stay healthy, happy, and relatively stress-free. Any tips for our fellow busy readers tuning in?
Stay in our Own Lane: We know a lot of very talented people doing really amazing things both in the DIY world and beyond. We are always excited to cheer them on and watch them blossom, but we never want to get trapped comparing our path to theirs. The best advice we ever got in the blogging world was from our friend Courtney when she told us how important it is to “stay in our own lane”.
Have Fun!: We started this blog 4 years ago because we enjoyed blogging and DIY projects! At that time weren’t making a penny (literally) but we didn’t care because we loved what we did so much. A lot has changed since then, but our passion and love for what we do has NOT. This year we want to do everything we can to make sure 2017 is lots and lots and lots of FUN.
If you’re still reading, holy smokes you deserve an award… and maybe a nap! We’re so lucky to have you tuning in and really hope to make 2017 the best year on the DIY Playbook yet! We’re ready for the projects, the challenges, the new experiences, the intimidating opportunities, and everything else this year has in store. Cheers to a happy, healthy & productive New Year… let’s do this.
Happy 2017 everyone! We’re back from our vacation (more on our trip soon!) & are SO excited to kick off another year here on The DIY Playbook! Get ready for a great week of DIY, blog, & fashion posts to start this the new year off right. And after that, a busy year of lots of projects!
To us, our homes will never really be “done”. We’re always striving to make them the best that they can be and with that being said, we don’t think “BEST” is a final destination but more of a journey. And this journey means that we’ll probably always be upgrading and changing things around until it’s time to move on to another home, which will come with MORE projects (yay!).
Currently, we walk around our spaces with a mental to-do list of all of items we want to accomplish in each space. These projects aren’t as big as they were when we first bought our places, but there are still lots of projects to be done. To start 2017 off on the right foot, we figured we’d outline all of those mental to-dos. That way we can get them out in the open and start to organize our thoughts. Then you guys can hold us accountable to get everything done this year they we want to! Plus, making a list will give us a centralized location to come back to as we schedule our project timelines throughout the year. Sound like a plan?
Let’s dive into the things we want to accomplish around each of our homes in the new year!
Casey’s Home To-Do List
Master Bathroom – New Lighting
Remember this post when I asked for advice about what to do with our teeny, tiny pendant lights? Well, I still have done absolutely nothing and still have no clue what I want to replace them with. I definitely want to find some larger lights that I adore and get them swapped out in the next few months.
Master Bedroom – New Ceiling Fan & Finalize Style
Moving onto our master bedroom, where things look just about “complete.” Ever since we swapped out the ceiling fan in our Lowe’s fall makeover, I’ve been wanting to replace our old ceiling fan with a sleek black one. I think it will really elevate the look of the room and I’m happy to see that light wood fan go.
I also really want to make a conscious effort to only display the items that I truly love in our bedroom. I feel like my style has evolved since I first decorated this room, and I want to make sure that every item in this space is thoughtfully chosen. That will probably mean replacing some of the pillows, lamps, and accessories.
Guest Room – Closet Organization
Our guest room closet is a hot mess. Seriously, it’s so disorganized and is stuffed to the brim with items. Not only do I want to purge it thoroughly, but I also want to add new closet organizers and shelves, so I can make the best use of this small (but valuable) space.
Family Room – New Coffee Table, Chair, & Accessories
Guys…we got a new couch! Hooray! It came right before Christmas, and with our trip to Mexico, I haven’t had a chance to photograph it just yet. But don’t worry…the details and lots of photos will be on the blog real soon. But with a new couch comes other new items. Our coffee table is in horrible shape (it’s a DIY project from YEARS ago), and I really want to find a new one that I adore.
Our new sectional opens up to the kitchen, so I think we may have space for a chair to sit right across from it. And maybe some end tables & lamps? Not 100% sure yet, but I’m excited to play around with the new layout.
I also want to do some more purging in this space (especially on our built-ins) and really make sure it reflects our personal style. The colors, the texture, the accessories…I just want to make thoughtful choices with everything in this space.
Main Room – DIY Closet Doors & Molding
I’m happy to report that 1/2 of this task is already done and I’ll share it with you later this week! Over the holiday break, I replaced all of these doors with new DIY ones and I’m in love! I still want to add trim all the way around the perimeter of the doors, but haven’t gotten around to doing that just yet. I think it’s really going to elevate the look and feel of the entire space and make the large room feel much more high-end.
Guest Bathroom – Renovation (?!?)
Ever since we moved in, we’ve chatted about gutting the guest bathroom and upgrading it. I would love to challenge ourselves to renovate the guest bathroom and do as much of the work ourselves as possible. We’ve never really tackled a project of this size on the blog, so I think it would be a good learning experience for everybody! Still no timeline on this, but just wanted to put it out there!
Bridget’s Home To-Do List
Current Guest Room – Turn into an Office
We’ve finally decided to take the plunge and swap the current guest room and office this year. The guest room now is such a bright space (it gets the best light almost all day long) and since it’s a guest room, I feel like it’s wasted space 355/365 days a year. Since we have a small house, I don’t want ANY space to be wasted… let alone a whole room! Plus, this space was always a catch-all room & one full of hand-me-down furniture so it’s time to give it the makeover it deserves! Making the current guest room into our new office will be the first project I tackle this year so I’m excited to dive in! Stay tuned for lots more details (and progress) this month!
Family Room – New Coffee Table
We get a lot of compliments on this coffee table and it’s not that I don’t like it, I just feel like it does not align with my style. And like Casey mentioned, we both are trying to make everything in our homes reflect our personal style in 2017, so I plan to swap this one out for something “more me”. If anyone in the Chicagoland area is looking for a coffee table like this one…let me know!
Garage – Organize It!
I know this space is not super photogenic, but I really want to continue to work toward my garage goals that I shared at the end of last fall. I love the storage that our small garage offers (and the updates so far!), but I want to make sure this small space is working as hard as it could be. Hopefully throughout the summer I can tackle some projects out there!
Kitchen – New Fan
This is a project that I’ve been wanting to change for … YEARS, but because I never put it on my to-do list, it seems to always get lost in the shuffle! <– I hate when that happens.
In a perfect world I wish we could eliminate the fan in our kitchen all together and add pendant lights over the island instead, but my better half INSISTS that we have a fan in the kitchen. And since the guy never asks for anything (and does all the work in the kitchen), I feel like I have no choice but to support his wishes. If we’re going to be stuck with a fan, at least it can be less of an eyesore this year.
Kitchen – Over the Fridge
Speaking of an eyesore, let’s chat about the design dilemma I’m having with the space above my refrigerator. I need HELP!! Does anyone have any tips? I’ve thought about adding more cabinets but I don’t necessarily want even MORE dark cabinets in the kitchen and I don’t know how hard it would be to find the exact match to the other cabinets (that the homeowner before us added). Has anyone seen any alternative ideas for what to above a refrigerator?!
Outdoors – Conceal Garbage Cans
*This is an old picture but it’s the only one I could find that doesn’t show everything covered in snow. Usually cans are sitting on the right side of the house and do not help the curb appeal.
We store our recycle bin and garbage can on the side of the house because that’s pretty much our only option without making the garage smell like…. well, garbage. I hate that when you pull up to our home those ugly cans are in sight. I’m hoping to figure out a way to DIY something than will hide them, and maybe even protect them from those pesky raccoons that love to drop by every once in a while.
I also need to resurface our black top driveway. I’m not a huge fan of the black top but putting in a whole concrete driveway isn’t the best choice financially, specifically because this is not our forever house. However our current driveway has seen better days and definitely needs some TLC.
Office – Update to Bedroom
Since we’re basically making the guest room our office, we’ll need to eventually address our current office. I’m still not sure the plan and hope to see this project more clearly once the “new office” is finished. I’ll keep you posted….
Patio – More Seating, Maybe a Pergola?
I really love our patio but I don’t think it’s my style and I don’t think we currently utilize it to the best of our ability. Matt grills out there a lot over the summer but there’s nowhere to sit and eat.
I’d love to add some seating for dinner parties. And in my DREAM WORLD where my backyard is full of blossoming money trees, I would also love to add a pergola of some kind. The direct sunlight and limited breeze makes this space pretty hot in the summer (especially for pale people like me). I can’t envision exactly what I want, which is why I didn’t take this plunge earlier, but I do think something overhead would really make the space less of a high-risk sunburn zone.
It’s only week two and 2017 is already shaping up to be a busy one around here! But if you know us by now, you know how much we actually LOVE being busy so we’ll take it!
How’s your to-do list looking this year? Do you plan your house projects out in advance? Do you sit down and make a DIY wish to-do list to ensure that you get everything you want done?
As much as it can feel a little overwhelming to list everything out in the beginning of the year, we’ve found that having a plan eliminates putting projects off only to realize it’s too late to get them done.
Since we started the DIY Playbook almost 4 years ago, we have NEVER missed a post within our Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday posting schedule. And most recently (with the addition of the DIY Playbook Style Series) we’re committed to a 5 day posting schedule that’s even more busy (in a great way!).
We absolutely LOVE everything about this blog and feel SO grateful to have the opportunity to do what we do around here. And let’s be honest, we cannot do any of this without YOUR support each and everyday! We feel like the luckiest girls in the world to do what we love and we know that our readers make this possible. We can never thank you enough. We hope that making the DIY Playbook experience better and better is a small way to show our appreciation… every day.
So that’s our plan!! Next year we want to make the DIY Playbook even BETTER so that you continue visiting this slice of the internet. But before we dive into another busy year of new projects and adventures, we feel like it’s necessary for us as a team to step away and take a break to rest, relax, and most importantly, RECHARGE! We are heading out-of-town as a team (us + our hubbies) to do just that — rest, relax and recharge. And knowing the team like we do, we will be doing LOTS of planning, scheming, and brainstorming for 2017 while we’re away.
A MINI Break to Recharge
In order to effectively recharge and brainstorm, we’ve decided that stepping away from the blog (teardrops… this is not easy for us!) will be the best way to invest in the longevity of the DIY Playbook. SOOOO… it was NOT an easy decision but we have decided that we’re taking a two-week posting break so we can focus on recharging and brainstorming new ways to make the blog even BETTER in 2017!!
We will check in with our Michaels Makers Challenge on Monday, January 2nd but after that, there won’t be any new posts until January 9th. HOWEVER, when we get back on January 9th you can expect posts 5 days a week and hopefully the BEST YEAR of DIY PLAYBOOK YET!!
Stay in Touch while We’re Away
Although typing this out today makes us feel so sad, we know it’s the best decision in the long run. The good news is that we don’t plan to totally fall off the map during this time. If you want to follow along on our travels & winter break adventures, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook!
One tiny Favor from YOU
And before we go, we would LOVEEEE to get your feedback on what you’d like to see more of next year. More projects? More tips? More Rookie Mistakes? More reveals? More Fashion? More personal posts? To make 2017 the best year yet, we want to take your suggestions. If you could fill out the anonymous survey below and let us know how we can be better in 2017, we would be forever grateful.
See you soon, we’ll miss you!
See you in 2017!! Thank you once again for being the BEST readers we could ever ask for. You make all the hard work worth it and we could never thank you enough. Here’s to hoping your 2017 is the BEST YEAR yet!
To us, Happy Hour is a time to sit back, relax, and catch up with friends… especially when it’s the day after Christmas!! It’s a time to chat about everything and anything, and that’s exactly what we want to bring to DIY Playbook’s monthly Happy Hour because we have A LOT to catch up on.
We want these monthly posts to be a chance to catch up with friends and bring just a little extra happy to your day. So grab your coffee (or champagne) and let’s catch up!
My mom got me this beach bag for our trip to Mexico (we leave on Thursday!) and I’m so excited to use it. It came highly recommended by our sweet friend Courtney, so I know it’s going to be good!
As we chatted about in last month’s Happy Hour, Finn & I went to the Emmy Awards at the beginning of the month. Sadly we didn’t win, but we had an amazing night and I absolutely loved the dress I rented for the event. Comfortable, slimming, and such a fun color! If you haven’t tried Rent the Runway you should seriously consider it for your next big event or wedding!
Just ordered this coverup for our trip to Mexico. I think I’ll be wearing it just about every single day. The countdown is on!
Remember when my sisters splurged and gave me this winter coat for my birthday in October? Now that it’s cold, I’m OBSESSED and wear it every. single. day.
I scored these gym shoes on sale this month and I’m hoping that maybe (just maybe?) they’ll motivate me to get back to the gym in 2017. #fingerscrossed <— I need it after this month’s dessert binge.
We shared a few gift guides this season but never really make time to chat about what we decided to give. Here are a few of my favorites that I gave this year:
I gave this Instagram book to my mom with all of her Insta pics from the year and she LOVED IT
I gave these mittens to my sister, probably because I love them for myself #oops
My sister and I gave this wagon to our nephew and we can’t wait to pull him around in it in the summer!
I gave this leather passport case to Matt for our 3rd Anniversary (the traditional gift theme for year 3 is leather). And because we love to travel, I snuck a trip to DC in there so we can see the Cherry Blossoms (and opening day for the Nationals!) together over Spring Break. #wifepoints <– P.S. I know he doesn’t need a passport to go to DC, but we’re heading to Mexico this week so I figured it would still come in handy. 😉
Emily always hits it out of the park in our Playbook and her recent kitchen reveal does not disappoint.
I absolutely adore December and all of the festive activities spread throughout the month. But I will say that I did feel a bit overwhelmed at times because there was just so much going on!
It seemed like every weekend we had something big to do, including an out-of-town wedding. My college roomie got married down in St. Louis and it was a gorgeous day! I was so honored to be a bridesmaid and loved seeing my old friends from college. Old friends are the best friends.
We also had our annual cookie day at my mom’s house. It’s my favorite Christmas tradition where we all get together to back about A DOZEN different kinds of cookies! We literally bake all day long (eating & drinking along the way), and then at night we order pizza and play games. It’s heaven and a day we look forward to each December. My mom always has a disaster of a kitchen by the time the day is over, but it’s worth it to all be together. And now with our little nephew around, the day is even better!
Now it’s time to finish up work before we leave for Mexico on Thursday. I cannot wait to get away from the cold & into the sun for a week of relaxation!
You guys are probably so sick of me saying this but seriously, how is it already the end of December?! I love writing these Happy Hour posts because it gives me a reason to sit down and look back at the month, but EVERY (single) time I sit down to reflect on the month I’m so shocked at how quickly it flew by. Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way!
Like Casey, my month was filled with lots of holiday festivities, including spending time in the city for the holidays. I love Chicago during the holidays and this year, the decorations and magic did not disappoint. Even amidst the freezing cold temps, Matt and I had a blast being tourists and taking it all in.
I’ve been wanting to visit Heritage Bicycle General Store in Lincoln Park for far too long and Matt and I finally stopped there! If you’re in the area and looking for a quaint and ADORABLE coffee shop (within a bike shop), you should definitely check it out. The decor was gorgeous, especially since it was all dressed up for the holidays. Coffee + gorgeous decor + bikes = what’s not to love, right?!
We also had a blast using the holidays as an excuse to celebrate with some of my favorite people. December was full of lots of quality time with my family, friends, and of course my adorable nephew! Having Owen around this year has been AMAZING… and he’s still just a baby. I can’t even imagine how fun Christmases will be when he’s walking, talking, and playing! #hearteyesonrepeat
And last but very not least, December marks our 3rd Wedding Anniversary!! <— whaaaaat?! In some ways I feel like our wedding was so long ago and in other ways, I feel like it was just yesterday! I feel so grateful to be married to my best friend. If the next 80 years are just as great as the first 3, I’m one lucky gal!
We hope you guys had an amazing December. Even amidst the hustle and bustle, we really hope you had time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your family and friends. Now it’s time to grab a little R&R before we gear up for 2017!! We already have lots of plans for the new year, but before we dive into all of those (and share them with you guys) we are signing off for a few days…. for the FIRST TIME IN PLAYBOOK history. Make sure you tune in tomorrow for the details.
Staying with DIY Playbook’s end of the year tradition, here is our 2016 BLOG recap ….yearbook style. Think best dressed, most likely to get married, valedictorian … but for blog posts. For the second year in a row (you can check out last year’s right here), we just couldn’t help capturing some of our most memorable posts while having a little fun (and poking a little fun at our own work).
Starting the DIY Playbook Style series was definitely something that was outside of our comfort zone and something that felt a little intimidating. However, we are SO grateful for all of the love and support we have received and can’t believe that our fashion posts have turned into some of our most popular. We plan on continuing to post each Wednesday about our favorites in fashion in 2017!
When we asked on Instagram for YOUR tips and tricks to keeping fiddle leaf figs alive, we were blown away by the feedback you guys gave us. We compiled those tips and tricks and have been using them (religiously!!) to keep our fiddle leaf plants alive. B’s happy to report her fig is still alive… and thriving (for the first time ever!).
We can’t believe how popular this project has become since posting it this summer. With a few FREE paint sticks, you can recreate this look in an afternoon and immediately upgrade your curb appeal. We love that re-creating this project doesn’t have to be expensive… or super difficult!
We LOVED working on B’s nephew’s nursery this year, including building these DIY industrial shelves. We wanted these shelves to resemble ones from Restoration Hardware without the steep price-tag. And because these shelves are living in Owen’s nursery, we even found a way to baby proof them!
Casey’s been in her place for a little over a year, but from taking a tour of her place you would NEVER guess it’s been just a year! From her new built-ins, to the reveal of her bedroom, the guest room, and her dining room, she’s been one busy lady! Although her space feels like it’s really coming together, she still has some projects up her sleeve (of course!) and is awaiting the delivery of her NEW COUCH!!!
The Lowe’s Fall Makeover was definitely a fan favorite around here! We still can’t believe the dramatic transformation of this bedroom and hope to have even more of these dramatic makeover opportunities in 2017!
Thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines and their Fixer Upper Phenomenon in 2016, our Shiplap tutorial has been very popular. This was our first shiplap project but we hope to tackle more of this in 2017 because we love the look and can’t believe how EASY it was to DIY!
We never thought we could DIY simple electrical updates (like changing an outlet or a light fixture) but you guys encouraged us to give it a try. And you were RIGHT, we could do it and these simple fixes weren’t nearly as scary or as challenging as we thought. #thankyou
We were so excited (and honored) to partner with the NFL to provide tips and tricks for a home gating party! Although the Chicago Bears were nothing to brag about this year, we still had fun cheering them on while coming up with simple ways to upgrade your next football party.
We REALLY stepped outside our comfort zone when we painted Casey’s guest room dark navy. Although we were a bit nervous while painting this bold color on the walls, we are both obsessed with the look and have absolutely NO regrets.
This under the sink storage solution didn’t have any fancy labels or color coded system, heck it isn’t even full of pretty “eye candy” so we weren’t anticipating it to take off like it did. However, we are so grateful that you guys liked it and really do love this easy and realistic solution!
We can’t emphasize enough how much we love collaborating with other bloggers and how grateful we were when a group of some of our favorite bloggers agreed to be a part of this year’s first annual Blogger Gift Guide. We learned SO much from this year’s first ever gift guide and can’t wait to use those tips and tricks to make next year’s even better!
How lucky are we to not only have these two hunks supporting EVERYTHING we do here on the blog, but are also willing to step in front of the camera for their first ever takeover of the DIY Playbook Style Series? This may have been the first takeover, but after hearing the feedback, this is probably not their last. 😉 Thanks Finn & Matt for being our biggest fans and two of the best sports around.
We interviewed B’s dad (thanks Dad!), a professional painting contractor, about tips for painting and we can’t believe how much we learned! What paint brush to buy, how long these brushes should last, what paint to use… he covers all of this and much more in this post!
We changed the format of our monthly recaps and coined this monthly feature, “Happy Hour”. These monthly posts are a time to sit back, relax, and catch up on everything and anything… like girlfriends do. Grab your coffee (or champagne) and let’s chat!
Upgrading our mobile site was a project that we were working on behind the scenes for a majority of the year! In the fall, we finally checked it off our to-do list (with the help of our amazing tech team) and we’re so excited that our readers can navigate the playbook on their phones SO MUCH EASIER! #itwasabouttime
One of our goals this year was to incorporate more video and we are proud to report that we took some baby steps to make this happen! To give you guys a little insight into the shenanigans on what goes on behind-the-scenes the Playbook, we started documenting some of our memories together as a “video scrapbook”. We shared a video of from summer, fall and tomorrow we’re excited to share our holiday video! We also hired a crew to capture some footage of our Lowe’s Makeover, which was something new for us, and we already love looking back and seeing that project unfold!
Wow, 2016 really as a busy & jam-packed year and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Looking forward to what next year has in store for us here on The DIY Playbook.
Now that we’re in the final stretch of 2016, one of our favorite things to do is look back and review our year — the good, the bad, and the ugly. This past weekend we met with Finn and Matt for our annual “Q4” meeting. On this quarter’s agenda we reviewed the DIY Playbook’s 2016 accomplishments, the blog’s finances, the positives of the year, the negatives of the year, the changes we want to make in 2017, and our goals for next year.
Although these meetings seem silly sometimes, we are so grateful that we carve out time to do this because it’s fun to review the year and even more fun to look at what’s coming up next!
This week we plan to share some of those fun memories from 2016 and then in January we’ll dive into some of our goals for the year and what we want to change around here (all for the better, we promise!). But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look back at 2016 through the lens of our favorite social media outlet — INSTAGRAM.
Not only do we love sharing pictures on DIY Playbook’s Instagram but we really love connecting with YOU!! We have the sweetest followers EVER and hearing your advice, seeing what you’re up to, or just hearing you cheer from a far is pretty darn amazing! We also love following our families, friends, & favorite bloggers on this gorgeous channel. If you can’t tell already, we just love everything about Insta & that’s why we thought we would share a mini recap of our year via these pretty square images.
Probably the biggest and most obvious change on our Instagram page was us incorporating more fashion this year.
Stepping outside of our comfort zone to step in front of the camera has been a little intimidating this year, but so much fun at the same time. We were hesitant to get started but we’re so grateful that we gave it a try because we have received so much love and support since starting this new adventure!
Like our weekly DIY Playbook Style Series, we try to use our Instagram sparingly to highlight some of our favorite items from our closets, all while focusing on keeping these items affordable and versatile.
We’ve started using Liketoknow.it more often so that we can link to each direct item (whenever possible) so it makes it easy for followers to shop the look. If you don’t have liketoknow.it, you can sign up here if you want. Once you sign up and follow us (or anyone else who uses Liketoknow.it), if you like one of the photos, all of the items linked in that photo will be emailed to you so you can find the exact details and shop away. The cool thing is that you can customize your profile and identify how often you want emails sent to you (ranging from immediately to once a week).
Top 10 from 2016
It’s always funny/interesting/sometimes surprising to see what pics make the top ten list. Like last year’s list, Christmas trees and wide bedroom/family room shots made up most of the list. But UNLIKE last year, we were surprised to see that 5 of the 10 posts were fashion related (50% fashion… what?!!!). We would have never anticipated that last year at this time, but we’re really excited!
Counting down to the most popular post, here are DIY Playbook’s top 10 Instagram pics from this year:
10. Weekend Outfit Inspo
9. Fall Vibes
8. Holidays in Chicago
7. B’s Bedroom Reveal
6. One Sweater (styled two ways!)
5. Casey’s Christmas Tree
4. Casey’s Bedroom Reveal
3. Lowe’s Makeover Reveal
2. Fall Fashion
1. Thankful Letterfolk Board
What a year 2016 has been… this recap makes us even more excited to see what will fill our Instagram feed in 2017! But before we head into 2017 and a clean slate, stay tuned for even more reflection from this past year later on this week.
We’re always looking for inspirational, talented, fun, adventurous people to follow (and find inspiration from) on Insta. Who are some of your favorite people to follow?! We’d love to check them out and follow along too!
To us, Happy Hour is a time to sit back, relax, and catch up with friends. It’s a time to chat about everything and anything, and that’s exactly what we want to bring to DIY Playbook’s monthly Happy Hour.We want these monthly posts to be a chance to catch up with friends and bring just a little extra happy to your day. So grab your coffee (or champagne) and let’s catch up!
The TV show I produced for the past 3 years was nominated for another Emmy (just a regional one), so we’re going to the awards ceremony on Saturday! Even if we don’t win, it’s fun to get a little dressy for a night on the town. I ordered this dress from Rent the Runway, and plan to wear it with these new nude heels. I’ll post of a pic of the Mr. & I all gussied up on Saturday over on Instagram for you guys to see! Fingers crossed we come home with another big win!
I ordered a few things during the Nordstrom clearance sale including these black jeans and these Zella leggings. I’m obsessed with both and have been wearing the leggings non-stop to workout class. They’re super comfy and really suck everything in.
For some reason, we’ve always had a lot of trouble with shower organizers. They either don’t suction well, or they fall down, or they break…we’ve seriously gone through multiple in our master bath shower. Recently we decided to stop buy cheap ones, and instead picked up this one from The Container Store. It works so well & keeps all of our shower accessories organized & easy to reach. Definitely worth the price tag for something we use everyday.
The zippers on my old pillow cases and duvet had busted after having our comforter and shams for a few years so I SPLURGED big time on a new duvet from West Elm. Casey has this exact one and every time I sleep over, I’m reminded how amazing her comforter is. When ours had started to see better days, I knew exactly what new duvet I wanted. And I’m here to report that this new blanket is FAR better than we expected. Heck, even Matt comments about how nice the new comforter is! <— that never happens!
I scored these super comfy and very versatile wedges for $30! I feel like these wedges are a dressy version of my everyday TOMS. I love both because they are comfortable, versatile and they’re a perfect closed toe shoe to wear all fall/winter long. And for $30?! Between these, my TOMS and boots, I think I’m set for winter shoes.
I also treated myself to this military jacket from the Gap Outlet when it was on sale and have been wearing it pretty much everyday since. My sisters got me an amazing winter coat, but I didn’t have a “not yet winter coat” so when I found one that was versatile, stylish and warm… at an OUTLET store, I was sold!
I bought this scarf on sale for $20 on Black Friday (over 60% off!!)
We LOVEEEDDD following along with all of the One Room Challenges and admire how dramatic these before and afters were, especially given that each blogger only has 6 weeks to transform her space. Shannon Claire’s makeover was AMAZING!! Who knew we would ever love black built-ins as much as we do in this space?! Cassie’s from Hi Sugarplum, Julia’s from Chris Loves Julia and Gwen’s from Makerista were also some of our favorites!
We’re a little late in sharing, but we loved this post on 10 Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas. Although Turkey Day has come and gone, the outfits are still really cute… and they inspired us to use what we already own to create “new” outfits! Thanks for the inspo, Mallory!!
Earlier this month, Finn & I spent a weekend away in Cedarburg, WI which is just a short drive from Chicago.
It was kinda nice to get out-of-town without an agenda. We did some shopping in the cute little town, visited a winery, and just enjoyed a carefree fall day side-by-side. The foliage was absolutely stunning and we were so lucky to have a gorgeous Saturday of weather.
We also took my mom’s Christmas card picture on Thanksgiving day using all of the tips from this post. It only took us about 5 minutes (gotta go quick when it’s cold and you have a toddler to keep happy!), but we got it done. Finn & I also hosted Thanksgiving for the first time ever and it was a great SUCCESS!
I created a menu board using wrapping paper, some string, and some eucalyptus. It was sooooo easy and really did look pretty gorgeous hung near the table.
Speaking of the tablescape, I kept that very simple with wood candlesticks, silver chargers, personalized placecards, and even more eucalyptus.
But the decor wasn’t the best part of our holiday…it was that we were all together for a laid-back day filled with family. Finn cooked an amazing turkey, everyone brought delicious sides, and we had a wonderful day together with plenty of laughs. I’m thinking this may turn into a yearly tradition at our house…
This month was a lot less busy and a lot more “ordinary” than months past, which was a welcome change of pace! Although I stayed busy starting to think about my design plan in our guest room /soon-to-be office and even started a few DIY projects in there, I was able to get a lot of seasonal stuff around the house done (finally!!).
We managed to put away our patio furniture, gave our house a DEEP clean, planted mums in all of our flower boxes for the first time and even started taking some of the Christmas stuff out… slowly but surely. Our weekends were filled with a lot less plans and a lot more productivity, which was totally okay with me since things will surely be different now that it’s almost December.
Probably the BIGGEST event in our household this month was the Cubs winning the World Series… for the first time in 108 years!! Matt is a lifelong Cubs fan & clocked a lot of late nights watching the playoffs this month. I was happy for Chicago and extra excited for Matt but I wasn’t as “glued to the TV” as he was. It seems like forever ago that we traveled to Arizona to watch their season opener against the Cubs for Matt’s 30th, I can’t even believe it’s the same season?!
I’m not a die-hard Cubs fan (for any team for that matter), but watching the city “bleed blue” and drape W flags all over town was so. much. fun!! And knowing that the TV is finally free from baseball games for the first time since APRIL is something worth celebrating. 😉
In August, we revealed our summer video and it was so fun showcasing some of the highlights from the season. It kinda feels like a video scrapbook commemorating all of the fun we have together over the course of the year.
Here’s a link to the summer video if you want to check that one out.
We decided to continue this little project into the fall season, and today we’re sharing that video with all of you. We know the season isn’t officially over until next month, but once Thanksgiving hits it’s gonna be all about the holidays…so we figured now is the best time to share our fall content!
This video is a little different because we segmented it into locations from various trips we took over the last few months. You’ll see a bit from our trip with Michaels to Carmel, CA…some highlights from Casey & Finn’s anniversary weekend in WI…and of course footage from Chicago!
So let’s get right down to the action.
Fall 2016 Video
We’re fortunate to create so many amazing memories together because of this blog, and seeing them all played out in a 2 minute video reminds us how truly lucky we are to have each other. And in honor of Thanksgiving week, we couldn’t end this post without saying a big THANK YOU to our favorite readers! We’re so grateful for your endless love & support and can’t thank you enough for spending some time with us each day here on The DIY Playbook.
Yes, you read that right…. The DIY Playbook got a mobile makeover and we are so excited to share the updates with you guys! This update has been a LONG time in the making and we are so grateful that we can finally check it off of our to-do list. But more importantly, we are even more excited that readers can read, navigate, and search the DIY Playbook on their phone A LOT easier!!
Over half of our readers read the daily DIY Playbook post on their phones, which makes sense because as blog readers ourselves that’s where we read a lot of our favorite blogs too. The problem was that the mobile version of The DIY Playbook was NOT user-friendly to read or to navigate, which was a huge problem in our eyes.
We want ALL of our readers to have a positive experience when they check-in each day and having a mobile site that wasn’t “up to par” meant that over half of our readers weren’t getting the quality we approve of. <— how embarrassing, right?!
Long story short, for the past few months we have been working closely with our tech team to make some serious upgrades. Here’s what we changed in order to make The DIY Playbook far more “Mobile Friendly”:
Easy Search Bar – Type anything in the top (it’s the little magnifying glass icon on the top left) and it should be easy to find the post you’re looking for!
Navigate the Important Tabs – Hit the 3 lines on the top right and you can easily find our home tours, contact form, and other important pages
Cleaner Homepage – The homepage is looking soooo much better! The daily post is truncated, and then you can easily navigate the last few posts via the photos beneath it.
Pictures are Bigger
Font color is Darker and Easier to Read
Posts are Categorized – If you check out the individual categories in the play by play (i.e. fashion, travel, home decor, etc.) you’ll find a scrolling list of all of the posts within that category.
Easier to click around – now you shouldn’t have to zoom in on the page to click on the drop down menus or search bars. We hate when that happens and usually end up clicking on the wrong thing entirely so we wanted to do everything we could to avoid that problem on our new mobile site.
If you’re tuning in on your phone today (or any day!), we hope these changes make your experience way better. We made these changes last week so you may have noticed a few things were a bit “weird” for a 24 hour period when we rolled over the old site to the new layout. That being said, if you’re still noticing anything weird or out-of-place please don’t hesitate to let us know so we can fix it ASAP!
And whether you’re part of the group that reads on a desktop or the group that reads via mobile, we are so lucky to have you on the DIY Playbook team. Thank you so much for taking time out of your very busy day to visit our tiny slice of the internet. We are forever grateful for all of your support!!
Leave a Comment
More Winning Projects…
Empty settings (View 80f34f3075 does not exist)
We love to share our ideas and photographs with you. Feel free to use an image from our site, as long as it is accompanied by a link back to DIY Playbook. Failure to link back and credit DIY Playbook as a source constitutes a copyright violation. For full disclosure of all blog policies regarding comments, advertising, copyright, and other matters please look here.