Category Archives: Just for Fun

How to Save Money When you Live in a Big City


Every February, Finn & I partake in what we lovingly refer to as “Frugal February.” After the craziness of the holidays and the overspending that usually takes place on gifts, we like a month in the new year to reset and save money for the year ahead. For the past few years we’ve participated in our own Frugal February and the goal is to try to save as much money as possible during the shortest month of the year.

What is Frugal February?

For us it means no dinners out, no bar tabs, no morning coffee runs, no clothing shopping, no cab or Uber rides, etc. I’m not gonna lie…we’re certainly not perfect and we have spent money on a few of these things over the past 20 days. But it’s all about being aware, mindful, and intentional with our spending and every year we end up saving a lot of money. I’m talking big bucks people (a few years ago our Frugal February savings paid for our honeymoon!).

Coins-Money-Blog-FinancesWhile not spending money on any of the aforementioned items may sound like a big bore to you, it’s actually kinda fun. We get REALLY creative and try our best to spend as little as possible. We’ll typically spend random gift cards we have floating around our wallets, we plan movie nights in, and we get creative in the kitchen with what we have going on in our pantry (side note: we do buy groceries during February and any necessities! But we do try to be smart about it, so no impulse buys).

Chicago Wall Art Bridget Casey RookiesBeing in the midst of Frugal Feb has got me thinking about the little things we do all year round to save money. Because let’s be honest, Chicago isn’t exactly the cheapest place to live and it can be easy to spend up every last penny of our paychecks. However, we’ve gotten pretty good at saving while living in a big city and I want to share some of our tried & true tips with you today!

Track your Spending

computer laptop blog weekI do feel spoiled because my husband actually enjoys budgeting and reviewing all of our finances on a regular basis. As a finance manager, tracking our spending is just an extension of his day job. He uses excel to track everything, but back before we were married (& combined our accounts) I used and really loved it. No matter what you use, find something that works for you. Because the only way to save money and budget is to know where your money goes each & every month.

Meal Plan & Be Smart about Groceries

finn-kitchen-cookingWe probably spend the most amount of our monthly budget on groceries, which seems crazy because I often feel like our fridge isn’t even that full! While we’re trying to be better at meal planning during the week, we are pretty good at Sunday food prep. You can read more about what that entails in this post. We have a membership to Costco that we share with my mom and buy all of our pantry staples & frozen foods in bulk from there. This saves us a ton of money over the course of the year, as we always have healthy staples on-hand.

food-prep-suppliesWe also use the app called “My Groceries” to keep a running tab of what we need from the store. This app is great because we can both add items on there when we run out of something and it will be reflected on both of our phones. Before heading to the grocery store, we’ll often take a look at the fridge & pantry and add items we need onto the list. Then, while at the store we stick to the list and try our best to only buy exactly what we need!

08-fruit-bowl-kitchen-subway-tileIn the summertime, we try to save money on produce and hit up local farmer’s markets. This is a great option if you’re a city dweller as you can stock up on fresh produce on a budget.

Make Coffee at Home

coffeeWe have a Keurig and every morning I brew my own cup of coffee before heading to work. I used to fall victim to buying expensive lattes a few times a week, and it added up really quickly. I’ll occasionally splurge on the weekends and head to one of the 3 or 4 adorable coffee shops in our neighborhood, but I try to make coffee at home as much as possible!

coffee mug outdoorIf you’re a coffee addict like me, then I suggest getting a coffee pot and buying coffee or K-cups in bulk so you’re always ready for a fresh cup!

Bring your Lunch to Work

lunch-food-prepWith 2 working adults in our household, we could easily fall victim to daily lunches out which could quickly add up to $400 a month just for lunch! Instead, Finn makes lunches for the week and brings food everyday. We’re actually provided a catered lunch everyday at work (I know…I’m spoiled) so I never ever spend money on lunch. This ends up saving us thousands of dollars per year! Even if you live in a city and have access to great lunch spots near your office, I suggest bringing your own. You’ll save lots of calories and lots of dollars! And when it’s warm out, take your meal outside. I’ll often take my lunch to a bench and people watch near the river to get some Vitamin D and much-needed time away from my desk.

Find Free (or nearly free!) Activities

chicago_bridget_fashion_fall-sweater-michigan-ave-sweaterIt’s crazy how many awesome things there are going on in Chicago every single weekend. The summertime is always chock full of festivals, movies in the park, and free activities in just about every neighborhood. The colder months are a little more difficult, but I often check out the website Thrillist or Time Out Chicago to find free or inexpensive activities near us.

I also just learned about a website called Sofar Sounds. They’re in 310 cities worldwide and offer secret concerts on a budget (I’m talking like $10 a ticket!) You have to sign up for various days and then if you’re chosen they tell you the secret address for the concert. It’s always a small, intimate venue and is often BYOB. We have yet to go, but I can’t wait to try it out!

Chicago Bean WinterJust goes to show that you can have a fun & activity filled weekend without spending too much money. Take advantage of your amazing city and all it has to offer.

Walk When Possible

casey-athleisure-13I walk everywhere that I possibly can and try to avoid Ubers and cabs at all costs. Not only is this great for me physically, but it’s great on the pocket-book. I also love that walking allows me to explore new neighborhoods and see various parts of the city.

Use Public Transportation

bridget_Chicago_instaBut I can’t possibly walk all over the city, so when a destination is a bit too far I’ll use public transportation. We’re fortunate to have a great bus and train system (what we call the “El” here in Chicago) and I use it every single day. We always take the El when going to the airport for trips, and both my husband and I ride the train every single day to work. It is a huge money saver and is our favorite way to commute. In the summer we’ll also use our city bike system (Divvy) and ride around to various neighborhoods on the weekends.

Get Rid of your Car if you Can

keys bowlWhen we moved to Chicago, we each had a vehicle. After living here a few months, we quickly realized that we definitely do not need 2 cars and in fact could probably get rid of both. We ended up keeping 1 car (so we can get to and from the suburbs to see our parents), and sold the other one. We’re lucky that our condo comes with a garage to store it because parking can be a hot commodity here in Chicago. Paring down the number of vehicles in your household (& potentially even getting rid of your cars altogether) could be a great way to save money if you live in a big city! No car payment, no car insurance, no parking fees…

Sell Old Items

pillows-couch-tulips-flowersBecause we live in the city, we don’t have a ton of room in our condo. That means that anything we don’t absolutely love or need is either donated or sold. We’ve had tremendous success selling furniture on Craigslist (like our white couch for $700!), making hundreds of dollars over the last few years. I’ve also heard good things about the website Thred Up where you can sell your old clothing fairly easily. Might be something I look into next!

Have Friends Over

2-red-wine-diy-coastersGoing out to dinner with a group of friends, or even just heading to a local bar, can get pretty pricey. Instead, we enjoy having people over. It’s easy to pick up some snacks & drinks and most guests will BYOB, so it’s a win-win! Entertaining doesn’t need to be expensive, in fact it’s much more cost-effective than heading to a bar or restaurant for a night out!

Use Amazon Prime (if it works for you!)

mattress-new-boxI’m sure our neighbors think we are addicted to online shopping, because there is an Amazon box at our door just about every single day. We’re Amazon Prime members and find that it’s so much easier to buy random items and toiletries directly online than it is to go to the store. That way we can shop around for the best price, and we’re not tempted to buy things you don’t need (which often happens whenever I make a trip to Target!) Amazon Prime is a big moneysaver for our household and we love how efficient it makes shopping.

Ditch Cablefamily-room-built-ins-shelving-couch

This is actually something we’re starting next month, and I’m excited that we’re finally getting rid of our cable. We asked for an Apple TV for Christmas and have been loving it so far. Between that and Netflix, that’s about all we watch when it comes to entertainment at night. After reviewing our finances for the year, we both agreed that spending hundreds of dollars on cable just wasn’t worth it anymore. So we’re ditching cable for good!

How to Save Money in a Big CityWow, that turned into quite a lengthy post! Who knew chatting about budgeting could be so interesting?! Ha! For another look at how both Bridget & I save money on a daily basis, be sure to check out this post.

And other city dwellers…please share your tips! We are always eager to learn more and be better with our finances, so I’d love to hear how you save!


P.S. If you’re looking to save big on any upcoming purchases check out some of these amazing President’s Day sales!

  • West Elm (20% off entire purchase with SAVE20….including furniture!)
  • Target (Up to 30% off home items + additional 10% off with code PRESIDENT)
  • Nordstrom (Up to 40% off everything)
  • Overstock (Up to 70% off home items)
  • Anthropologie (Extra 40% off sale items!)
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15 thoughts on “How to Save Money When you Live in a Big City

  1. Kira @ The Imperfectionist

    Love these tips Casey! We totally incorporate almost all of them! We prep meals for the week on Sundays, make coffee at home, walk everywhere, and haven’t had cable for years (but we’re not big TV people, so that might not work for everyone lol). You’ll have to let me know how you like the Netflix/Apple TV situation! And I can’t wait to check out Sofar Sounds. Thanks for sharing!

    Kira |

  2. Elaine

    I hadn’t had cable for about 8 years and only have it now because it’s included with my condo’s assessments. The hardest thing about ditching it is sports. Sure there’s over the air (which works AMAZINGLY well. Free HD! Yay!) but as Bulls fans, you can’t get those games (and the playoffs aren’t over the air until the finals). Pretty much everything else can be had sans cable. But the sports part was a pain. (Hockey has the same problem.)

    1. DIY Playbook

      My husband says the exact same thing Elaine! And we would always spring for the super expensive sports package so he could watch every NFL game on Sundays. So this will certainly be a change!

    2. Caitlin

      May I suggest looking into Sling TV. We got rid of cable last year and got the $20 Sling package so that I could watch live HGTV (can’t miss a Fixer Upper) and my husband could watch live sports. They obviously don’t have every game, but they have ESPN 1, 2 and 3. It has saved us hundreds of dollars and I honestly don’t feel like I have missed out on anything! Totally don’t work for Sling or anything, it just changed my life, so I thought I’d share 🙂

  3. Maggie

    This was a really great post! I do much of the same: meal prep, no cable (I have an Apple TV as well), etc.. The only thing I would like for you to consider is getting a reusable filter for your Keurig. K-Cups are terrible for the environment. I have 2 resuable filters and rotate them and just buy the coffee I love to fill them with 🙂

    1. Kerri Hansen

      I also love K cups, but l felt so guilty about throwing them into the garbage. Taking them apart to recycle is a pain, but then I found this cool gadget that separates everything for you. It’s called recycle a cup, and guess what, you can get it on amazon! What is even better is that I found a brand of coffee that makes compostible k cups! When I discovered these gems I heard angels singing! Not only are they good for the environment, they are reasonably priced and taste great! Sadly it is a Canadian brand (presidents choice for any of you Canadian readers) but I imagine you can find something similar in your neck of the woods!

    2. Teran

      I would second this, but with Amazon purchases! I’ve tried to be more environmentally conscious about the boxes, packaging materials, and even transportation costs. I’ve been able to cut some Amazon purchases (Target and Staples both price match to Amazon, and that takes care of a lot of my purchases), but when I can’t cut them, we try to only order once a week if we can wait for our purchase.

  4. Kerri Hansen

    Such great tips and I love Frugal February! One additional tip I wanted to share with you guys – and this may no longer be a “thing” but it’s worth checking out. Even though I am a Canadian gal and now live in Vancouver, we spent a glorious almost 2 years living in Chicago and our son was born there. When he was a baby (12 years ago) I spent lots of time in the local library, and back then, you could “check out” passes to all of the local attractions like the Shed Aquarium, museums etc. so you could visit these places for free! This would only apply to locals, but I took full advantage of it and it was a great money saver! I wish we had something similar here!


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10 Things You Don’t Know About Our Husbands


Our Happily Ever Afters

We’ve both been married a couple of years now and although we talk about our hubbies here and there, we rarely talk about our marriages. And recently we were chatting with each other and asked ourselves, why don’t we?! Why don’t we talk about how lucky we are to have these amazingly supportive men in our lives more often? I mean heck, without their support The DIY Playbook would not be what it is today.

Our answer? We just aren’t that great at chatting about our own lives.

Getting RealMatt_finn

Even though we post every single day and let anyone on the internet see our homes, we are actually a bit reserved when it comes to chatting about ourselves in “real life”. We’re quick to answer a question about our life and quickly turn the conversation to focus on the person we are talking to. And if someone pays us a compliment, we are both quick to play it down and immediately flip the conversation back to it being all about them.

We don’t try to be private, we just feel uncomfortable receiving praise or sometimes even talking about our own lives because we never want to seem “braggy”. This is a skill we’re trying to get better at actually. Being humble is a great quality but accepting praise and letting others in, even if that means speaking positively about your own life, is important!finn-casey-patio-balcony

But since you guys have been overwhelmingly supportive, engaged, and just all around AMAZING about our recent body truths and fitness goals, we want to continue to keep it real and baby step into chatting a little bit more about ourselves, including our marriages.bridget-matt

We are DEFINITELY not experts and neither of us have perfect marriages (who does, right?!) but we are so grateful of what we do have — amazing husbands who are hands down our biggest fans, loudest cheerleaders, and best coaches. Before we get more personal and dive a little bit into our marriages (not today but someday), we wanted to first give you guys a little background on Matt (B’s hubby) & Finn (C’s hubby).

10 Things you Might Not Know About Finn


  • Finn is addicted to chapstick. And when I say addicted…I really mean it! He buys the bulk 24 packs from Amazon (the generic chapstick in a black tube) and goes through them so quickly. I always keep an extra chapstick on hand just in case he doesn’t have one, and I  feel like the mighty hero when I whip it out of my purse in “dire” moments of need.
  • He is such a deep sleeper and he isn’t the best at waking up to an alarm. Even when it’s super loud and right next to his head…he will still blissfully sleep right on through it. He is also a total night owl and stays up hours after I’ve gone to bed.
  • Finn works harder than anyone I know. If a project needs to be done, he will be at the office super late doing anything it takes to get the job done. I really respect his devotion to his career.
  • He could eat a quesadilla for every single meal. He probably makes 1 every other night as a late night snack. Because of this we buy tortillas in bulk from Costco!finn-kitchen-cooking
  • Finn is incredibly quick-witted, he is so good at puns, and he always has a funny comeback. It sometimes takes me a few minutes to get his jokes..he is just always 10 steps ahead of my brain.
  • While he isn’t a music aficionado, he absolutely loves EDM (electronic dance music). It took me a little while to get used to it, but it has really grown on me.finn Holding Box
  • Finn has an incredibly relationship with his mom and sister and talks to them on the phone quite often. They say you should find a man who treats his mom with respect, so I definitely found one!
  • As a basketball lover (especially college basketball), March is his FAVORITE month and he has actually been to 12 Final Four Championships over the course of his life. View More:
  • Even though he doesn’t always admit it, he is a phenomenal dancer! This makes him the perfect wedding date, as he is always willing to hit the dance floor and cut loose with me!
  • His full name is Michael Finn, but everyone calls him “Finn” (both personally & professionally). When we got married I thought I should maybe try to call him Mike (since my new last name was now Finn too!), but after 10 years of calling him “Finn” I just couldn’t change my ways. So Finn it is!

10 Things you Might Not Know About Mattjeans-tee-blazer-christmas

  • Matt is like a jukebox when it comes to oldies music and attributes his knowledge to all of the long road trips he took growing up. If he hears an oldie song, he can almost immediately name the tune and the artist.M&P_Presentations_matt
  • Outside of his day job, Matt is a public speaker. He is the co-founder of M&P Presentations, and he and his partner travel around the country to speak to middle schoolers and high schoolers about loving the person you are… regardless of imperfections. I admire his passion for what he does and am in constant awe at what a difference he and his partner make in these kids’ lives.
  • Although Matt loves speaking in front of large crowds (I have no clue how he does it), he is pretty reserved and actually fairly quiet in a large group. He would much rather sit back and observe than be the center of attention in a social situation.
  • Matt has worn a fitbit in his pocket for the last 3+ years and loves to rack up a ton of steps throughout the day. It’s common for him to go on 3+ hour walks (he calls them “walk/runs” for the record) just for fun on the weekends or throughout the summer.matt_phil_headshots-39
  • He warms up the car every morning before we leave for work and goes above and beyond to do lots of chores around our house.
  • Matt’s family means the world to him. He goes back home to visit his parents at least once a week and chats with his mom, dad, and brother on the phone every single day.
  • Matt loves professional wrestling (eek). He grew up as a big fan and unlike many other kids his age, he’s still a huge fan 30 years later.
  • He also loves Bruce Springsteen, National Parks, basset hounds and the Chicago Cubs.
  • Matt’s a morning person and would much rather go to bed early and get up early than stay up late and sleep in. <— a man after my own heart.Matt_mens_health
  • Matt loves staying active and eating healthy. He will sit down and chat with anyone he can about their workout routines or their healthy eating habits, but he also loves Hooters Wings, Coke, and anything smothered in BBQ sauce (especially his mom’s homemade ribs).


Hopefully these random fun facts gave you a glimpse at our better halves. To be honest, we’re not huge fans of Valentine’s Day but it does serve as a great reminder to never take these guys for granted.

We hope you take some time to tell the special person in your life how much you love them today…quirks and all! Happy Valentine’s Day friends!


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8 thoughts on “10 Things You Don’t Know About Our Husbands

  1. Erin

    totally fun! my husband is also a night owl! i’ll be in be by 930 on the weekends and he’ll be up til 3! i can’t even! and he also has a collection of maybe 5000 records, so he is a music fanatic and can pick out what beat they pulled it from. it’s crazy!

  2. Abbie DeLaney Zinkan

    #11 – they’re both pretty snazzy dressers 🙂 well done ladies, your guys look like A+ fellas. Happy “Feb 14th” Day 🙂

  3. Trang

    This was great to read! I can relate on the chapstick obsession with Finn. I have them everywhere and that is the one item I list for what would you take with you on a deserted island. I can also relate somewhat to Matt’s linking of pro wrestling. My ex-husband loved it and our dogs were named after wrestlers: Flair and Raven.

    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks so much Trang! He would absolutely take chapstick with him on a desert island too..ha!

      And that is hilarious about Flair & Raven. Matt is going to love that fun fact. Hopefully he doesn’t take those names into account when it’s time for baby naming….

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Body Love


A few weeks ago we hit publish on the most vulnerable post of our blogging career. Not only did we disclose our pant sizes for anyone on the internet to read, but we each chatted about some of our own body insecurities. We thought it was important to share this information because we want to keep it real around here. We are FAR from perfect and thought it was important to highlight some of these insecurities not to body shame ourselves, but to share how we choose clothing based on our strengths and not on our weaknesses.

travel-carmel-fall-fashion-dress-bridget-caseyPressing publish that day was a bit scary. That post was WAY outside our comfort zone and way more personal than we ever thought we’d get here on the DIY Playbook. We honestly didn’t know what to expect but were pretty BLOWN AWAY by what happened next.

Your Support & Encouragement

computer laptop blog weekThat morning we started receiving blog comments, emails, & Facebook messages from our amazing readers and right away this feedback put us at ease. But much to our surprise, the feedback didn’t stop that morning but instead streamed in all week long. There were lots of words of encouragement, some sweet stories from others who shared their own imperfections with us, and lots of lots of overall support and kindness. Some of the notes literally brought us to tears — like the reader who wrote about embracing her fair skin…

“Your body type post is probably my most favorite to date. You are both beautiful… I had stage II melanoma last year which resulted in a surgery to remove the tumor. I was lucky the cancer didn’t spread. Almost 1 year in the clear! And last year after that scare I vowed to always wear my sunblock SPF 50 + and work on loving my pale skin” 

Or this amazing reader who could not make us feel any more comfortable on a day we felt so vulnerable…

“What an important message and thank you two ladies for your honesty. You guys are so brave, to share such personal information. I am right now giving you a virtual standing ovation. Learning to love our bodies and dress them accordingly is not easy. Probably because we are surrounded by fake images and endless pressure to look perfect at every turn. I look at your pictures and think you two are beautiful and so put together, so to learn that even you guys struggle with “imperfections” is reassuring. I think you two are just as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside! Thanks for keeping it real!”

Thank you!

I mean honestly, how are we so lucky to be surrounded by such strong, amazing, and supportive women?! We may never know how we got this lucky but what we do know is that we want to say thank you.

bridget-casey-computer-bedroomWe love blogging and find so much joy and fulfillment in running the DIY Playbook. But when we started this blog, we never anticipated that we would connect with such strong, inspiring and supportive women. Your kindness and endless support amazes us, & we feel forever grateful to be a part of this community.roses-vase-flowers-desk

Thank you for reminding us that we’re all in this together… imperfections and all! Your kindness and encouragement help remind us that the world is full of a lot more love than it sometimes seems (especially lately). letterfolk-signs-3

We hope to continue to build a kind community of women who come together to support one another. And we also hope to use this platform to remind you that YOU are strong, beautiful, and perfect just the way you are.



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Happy Hour No. 6


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 bring to DIY Playbook’s monthly Happy Hour. happy-hour-graphic

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!

Love It


  • I recently added this lens to my photography equipment. We shared this lens before between the 2 of us, but loved it so much that we each wanted one. It’s definitely pricey, but has taken our photos to the next level!casey-fine-work-party-black-dress
  • I wore this dress to our work holiday party (and for New Year’s Eve) and find that it’s my go-to LBD. So comfortable, flattering, and a great price! Plus how cool is this GIF photo booth?! I had never seen that before and we had a blast using it!
  • Bridget got me this candle for Christmas and I’ve been burning it constantly. Smells amazing and such a pretty glass jar too.
  • Just got this eyeshadow palette from Sephora, and holy smokes I’m now a big fan of Urban Decay. So many gorgeous shades, I love playing around with all of the color combos.


  • I’ve been eyeing this print for YEARS now and finally decided to splurge on it. I love the simplicity of this print, but more importantly I’m obsessed with this message because it’s exactly what my parents instilled in my sisters and me. My mom and dad are the most hardworking and kindest people I know and every time I look at this print it reminds me of them, and how much I hope to be just like them when I grow up 😉
  • I bought this new tripod and I LOVE it! If you’re in the game for a new tripod, I highly recommend it because it’s so sturdy and versatile, without being too heavy! familyroom_no_coffee_table-2
  • I sold my coffee table and I can’t wait to replace it with something that is more my style! I’m thinking something round or maybe marble? I’ve been doing a lot of online browsing and hopefully next time I check-in, I’ll have some updates for you. But before that, does anyone have any suggestions?!

Link It

  • An insightful look at creating a successful marriage
  • We’re big fans of Monica from East Coast Creative and think it’s so cool that she created her own game for couples (might be a cool gift for Valentine’s Day!)
  • I recently watched the Minimalist on Netflix and LOOOOOVEEEED IT! I’m a huge fan of documentaries so when my cousin sent me this list of the 20 best documentaries on Netflix right now, I was extra excited to check them out.
  • We were so excited when Michaela invited us to speak at the Bloom Bash Workshop in Chicago. If you’re a blogger, photographer, or creative then this workshop if for you! We’d love to see you guys there this July!
  • Studio McGee does it again! #hearteyes
  • We are so honored to have the opportunity to speak next month at the Old House New House Home Show in St. Charles, IL. If you’re a local reader, we would love to meet you! You can get more information on this Home Show here… if you plan on coming, you’ll have to let us know so we can say hi!

Casey Updates:

casey-yoga-workout-fitnessI’m not a big New Year Resolutions person, but I do enjoy looking at the year ahead with intention. This year both Bridget & I decided to choose words that we want to encapsulate 2017. I chose the word “mindful.” To be honest, I feel like I’m not very mindful of the way I spend my time. I say “yes” to way too many things that don’t bring me joy, and I find myself going through the motions some days. This year I’m trying to be more mindful with the way I spend my time, money, and daily life. I’ll keep you guys updated as to how it goes, but so far so good!

casey-mike-finn-fashionFinn & I chose the word “explore” as our family word for the year. With babies in the near future (not pregnant, but starting to chat about that next step <— just typing that was scary!) we want to take this time when it’s just us 2 to travel as much as possible. We’re planning a Europe trip in September (probably Greece & Italy, but totally open to hearing your suggestions!). Then we’re planning a trip to Iceland with Matt & Bridget this summer. Apart from those international trips we also want to scatter in some other domestic trips throughout the year. We’re excited to really EXPLORE in 2017!


Speaking of exploring, Bridget & I did a bit of travel earlier this month (apart from our Mexico trip). We headed to NYC in mid-January for a trip with HomeGoods. We’re big fans of New York and have gone there quite a few times together. Because we couldn’t miss much work, this trip was less than 24 hours. But it was still so wonderful to do a quick trip to our favorite place and see blogger friends!New_York_City_Travel-4

Bridget Updates:

I’m going to dish even more details about my word for the year in tomorrow’s style post but to kick things off I will give you a little background today. My word for 2017 is “stronger“. First and foremost I want to get physically stronger in 2017. Like Casey and Finn, we have started discussing the possibility of expanding our family and before we do that, I want to make sure I am as healthy as possible before that happens. I also am turning 30 this year so I want to make sure I close out my twenties and enter into my thirties as healthy as I can.

diy_playbook_headshots_BridgetBut beyond being physically stronger, I also want to be stronger in all aspects of my life. I want to be a stronger communicator, stronger emotionally, and just generally a stronger person. It’s only January but I do think I’m already taking baby steps, outside of my comfort zone at times, to chase these personal goals.

Bridget_Casey_Headshot_rookies-3And speaking of stepping outside of our comfort zone, we are doing just that next month at the Old House New House Home Show. We were invited to host a class at this local home show and right away we were hesitant because we don’t consider ourselves naturals at public speaking. We’re both pretty outgoing girls and love meeting new people, but we wouldn’t say we love being in front of a large crowd. But after lots of discussion, we decided that stepping outside our comfort zone was a great opportunity to try something new and hopefully grow from the experience (#STRONGER). So we said “YES!” and haven’t looked back since. In between DIY projects and blog posts, we plan on being very busy creating and practicing this presentation over the next few weeks. The show is on February 12th (more show details here) and if you live in the Chicagoland area, we would love to meet you!



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18 thoughts on “Happy Hour No. 6

  1. Trang

    I’m not a fan of documentaries in general, but your suggested list may give me the opportunity to give it a chance. I saw the Amanda Knox one; it was OK.
    I love the words ‘mindful’, ‘explore’, and ‘stronger’ for 2017! You should read the book “Present over Perfect” where the author speaks about saying ‘yes’ to too many things in her life and how saying ‘no’ to some things makes her life happier and provides more time for the things that do bring joy. Traveling is my favorite thing to experience because I think life is about experiences. My motto has always been (and I have this sign in my kitchen as a daily reminder): Eat well, travel often. So excited for you upcoming travel plans. Iceland is definitely on my bucket list! Hubby and I plan to go to South Korea and Vietnam for 2 weeks in early October!

    1. DIY Playbook

      That book sounds like something we both need to read! Saying “no” is really hard for us, so that would be a great read for us.

      Soooo exciting that you’re going to South Korea and Vietnam. That sounds absolutely amazing. We will, of course, blog all about our Iceland trip so hopefully that will be helpful when you plan your own trip there!

  2. Erin

    we have plans to go to italy this september, but work is kind of trying to mess our travel dates up!

    as for greece — YOU MUST go to Chania!!!! it is truly amazing. We ended up renting a car so we could travel to the different beaches on Crete. Our little travel group thought santorini was cool, but it was pretty over rated. Basically we did 2 days in Athens, flew to Crete & stayed in chania for 4 days — took a ferry from heraklion to santorini and spent 2 days there. then flew back to athens before flying home. Santorini airport is soooo disgusting, BTW. but this really worked for us & we stayed in airbnb the entire time!!!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Erin this is SO HELPFUL! As we start to really get planning, would it be okay if I reached out to you? I want to make sure we’re being smart with our time there and you seem like you’re a pro!

  3. shawnna griffin

    Hey girls- love the post! I can’t wait to have a baby, I turn 40 this year (ugh) crazy to type that ha! but… Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise that will happen sooner than I think!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Kelly you are the 2nd one to send us this same table! Maybe that’s a sign?! Love the sleek look & circle shape. The only thing I’d be worried about is constantly cleaning the glass??

    2. Katie

      I have a glass coffee table and not sure if you’re one to put your feet up but I am and it gets cold!

  4. Diana @ Bumps Along the Way

    I fully support and encourage the international travel before (thinking about) babies! We went to Europe (England, Ireland, Scotland, Paris for the day) the year before we became parents and I’m SO GLAD we did. I know people do it with kids…but it was stressful enough without. ENJOY!!!

  5. Leisa

    YES to traveling! My hubby and I dedicated 7 years of our lives to exploring the world. We moved to London (from New Zealand) as a base to travel through Europe (and many other places). In all my adventures, I have never met a single person that regretted traveling and exploring.
    Greece and Italy are two of my fave countries in Europe. Santorini is as stunningly beautiful in real life as in pictures. Get lost in the cobbled streets. Watch the sunset in Oia. And make sure you visit the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Ah, and the history in Rome. So many amazing places, so little time. You are going to have a ball! I warn you, once you get the travel bug, its hard to stop!
    I would also suggest getting in the long haul flights before having kids….. say to somewhere like New Zealand? 😉 Most beautiful country in the world. #justsaying #totallyunbiased

    1. DIY Playbook

      Leisa what an amazing 7 years that must have been! Wow wow wow! So jealous. And thank you for the tips about Greece & Italy. I cannot wait to start planning. My sister just got back from a 3 week trip to New Zealand and can’t stop raving about the beauty she saw. Add New Zealand to the list..haha!

  6. Kristen Ayotte

    Your travel plans sound so fun! My hubby and I have gone to Europe twice and been very fortunate to travel around the US a bit too. If you want any tips or information I love talking travel with people so let me know!

    Hoping to come you gals at the home show…I’m just in Naperville so it’d be a quick drive! Good luck, I’m sure you’ll be great!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks so much Kristen! We’d love your tips as we’re in the initial stages of the planning! Bring em on 🙂

      And yes…come to the home show! We would love to see you in-person.

  7. DIY Playbook

    Thanks so much, Kate! I bought my shirt at H&M very recently and I LOVE it. I am obsessed with the fit and the versatility. I dress it up for work and dress it down for the weekends, I highly recommend it! Plus, the sleeves are a little bit longer than normal (but still form fitting), which feels much more flattering. I just saw it again at H&M in black and a plain cream and I think I’m going to go back and get the other colors because I love it (and wear it) so much!!


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Our #1 Trick to Purge Clothing


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.

organize-clothingThat’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.

closet-clothing-organizedThe “Rules”

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!

clothing-donateI 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.

how-to-purge-clothingNow 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.

full-bag-of-donationI 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. bed-in-master-bedroom

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! casey_sig


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14 thoughts on “Our #1 Trick to Purge Clothing

  1. Summer Hogan

    Such a great idea! I do the same thing but instead of a bag it’s a pile on the floor lol! Note to self: put a bag in the closet!

  2. Erin

    Paper bag or a bag of any sorts is such a great idea!!!! I know i have plans to purge in March, after crazy snowboard season is over. I literally feel as if i have no time whatsoever now. but this gives me the idea of to just at least start my pile!

  3. Trang

    Oh wow. You are my hero. Purging is THE hardest thing for me when it comes to clothes. I always have this nagging feeling that if I get rid of it, I’ll most certainly need it the following week/month. I can’t seem to let things go! I’ve read all kinds of inspiring books like “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. I’ve tried to go through pieces of clothing and asking if it brought me joy and oddly enough, a lot of my clothes to bring me joy. I know that is not reality, but it’s SO VERY hard to let go. When I was growing up, my dad tried to get me to also adopt the ‘buy a new item of clothing, get rid of an item’, but it did not work. I really need help, I know. I do have a bag in my closet room for donations, but it takes a really long time for me to fill it.

    1. DIY Playbook

      You crack me up Trang! I totally feel ya! It can be soooo difficult. But every little bit counts, right?!

      I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book yet. I’m afraid I’ll get rid of everything I own…haha!

  4. Whitney Regeth

    Love this idea! I have a hard time letting go of items and then becomes overwhelming. This makes so much sense!

  5. Veronica Susan

    If you have a lot of hanging clothes, I’ve come up with a decent system. I hang all of my clothes up with the hanger facing the “wrong way” (meaning it’s hooked behind the rod instead of over the front). Then, as a wear each item and wash it, I’ll rehang it the correct way. This allows me to see what I’ve already worn and what has been hanging for months and never touched! I was able to get rid of at least a 1/4 of my clothes last season with this system!

    1. DIY Playbook

      I’ve heard of this method and love it! What a great idea. Plus it forces you to really wear your wardrobe instead of reaching for the same things all the time!

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17 “Changes” on The DIY Playbook in 2017


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!travel-carmel-bridget-casey-rookies-fashion-dress

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!)

  1. 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!haven-conference-bridget-casey-diy-playbook-rookies-atlanta
  2. 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. blog diy playbook business card
  3. 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!!
  4. 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. cell-phone-mobile-site
  5. 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.]


  6. 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?!Chicago_Odyssey_Travel_ drink_cheers_champagne
  7. 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. lowes-makeover-bedroom-reveal-pillows-bed
  8. 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?haven-conference-purse-cell-sunglasses-laptop
  9. 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.hunter-boots-christmas-gifts
  10. 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.birthday_bridget_balloons_3_Happy
  11. 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.
  12. 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. 2016_instagram_favorites-005
  13. 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!bridget-casey-laughing-bedroom-computer
  14. 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!cabo-mexico-beach-ocean
  15. 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?2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-Casey-Bridget-gifts
  16. 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”. Emoji Halloween Costume Bridget & Casey
  17. 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.


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14 thoughts on “17 “Changes” on The DIY Playbook in 2017

  1. Kara D

    You guys are ambitious! Please-please-please don’t burn yourselves out with the constant daily posts for the entire year. Take your vacations. Take days off. After all, we all get vacation time too, why shouldn’t the blog? It’s not like you’re going to lose us as readers if you do. 🙂 (Case in point, we’re here reading this post after your vacation!)

    I wholeheartedly agree with the focus-on-the-positive outlook, and with that being said, everyone does have their challenges to face and overcome. No one is perfect, and just like with the rookie mistakes – it’s ok to admit that maybe not everything is hunky-dory 100% of the time. Life has a funny way of throwing curveballs. Though I can see that you both have the right idea though, keeping what’s really important/high priority (family, friends, health) close to your heart – as that’s your foundation, and the rest will find its place after that – keep it up!

    I’m excited to keep on being a loyal reader!

    Here’s to a fab 2017! *hugs*

    1. DIY Playbook

      You are the sweetest Kara! We will definitely do our best to not burn out. We always “check in” with one another to make sure things don’t ever get too overwhelming.

      And you’re so sweet. It was great being away and taking a breather, only to come back to wonderful readers like yourself!

      2017 is going to be a great year for everyone! Happy New Year Kara!

  2. Erin

    i second kara.. (it also helps we’re BFFs. 😉

    LOVE the idea of promoting GOOD. We need so much more of that in the world!! I try to post positive stuff on instagram & facebook, but i’m also acutely aware that sometimes people see it as my life is all good, but it’s not. I just don’t want to post the negatives unless it’s something that i want feedback on, because there’s so much crap out there!

    and reader interaction! yes! i could say that kara needs some #DIYPLAYBOOKSOS!

    Just keep having fun, and your readers who adore you will keep coming back. I truly do appreciate that you do take the time to reply back to every single one of us! Looking forward to a great 2017! it will be a fantastic year!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Oh my goodness…are you ladies really BFFs in real life?! That is amazing!

      And email your SOS on over! We’d love more submissions that we can turn into blog posts, so we can all work together to create homes that we love.

      Have a great start to the new year Erin!

    2. Erin

      yes. we’ve been friends since our freshman year of college. and sadly we live 6 hours from each other. but we’re always sharing ideas for what we can do to our homes. and fashion and travel, and just about everything in life.

    3. Kara D

      Yep – we are! It sucks that we live far apart. Erin is SO MUCH better in getting-it-done while I wallow and live in the lands of indecisiveness. I even waffle on what room, or challenge that I’ve got, that I should send in for ##DIYPLAYBOOKSOS!!! Can an entire house count? Haha! (in all seriousness though, I did set up a reminder for myself to send something in….)

  3. Kerri Hansen

    Wow, what an amazing year ahead you have planned! I can’t wait to see what you two amazing gals have up your sleeves! I started reading your blog about a year ago now as part of my “blogging research and development”. I am finally getting ready to take the blogging plunge and start posting, I don’t know why it seems so daunting, but I have been putting it off out of fear for a while. I find you two ladies so inspiring and you are motivating me to “get after it”! I love how positive, kind and genuine you two ladies are. Keep on being awesome! Hugs!

    1. DIY Playbook

      You must keep us updated, Kerri! That is sooooo exciting! We can’t wait till you’re up and running so we can follow along. You’ll always look back and wish you started earlier…so we say just go for it!

  4. Katie

    I’m liking the style series. Would love to see one on comfortable work heels. Loved the Toms one you shared, maybe another one for summer? Also love the rookie mistakes and the behind the scenes blog stuff. Keep it up! Looking forward to 2017!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks so much Katie! We’re planning to do a style series post about what we both wear to work (although neither of us often wear heels…so not sure if we can find any comfy ones for ya!)

      Thanks for the support! Happy 2017 🙂

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Our 2017 Home Goals

house yard

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!).bridgets-first-house-fall-mums-3

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 Lightingbathroom-lights-pendants-before

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.casey-master-bedroom

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 OrganizationView More:

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, & Accessoriesdining-family-living-room-space-augusta

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.

wide-shot-augusta-built-ins-family-roomI 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 & Moldingbefore-old-doors

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 (?!?)09-guest-bathroom-wide-shot-augusta-after

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 Officeguest room

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 Tablebridget-home-tour-wide-shots-family-room-kitchen-dining-5

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 Fanbridget-home-tour-wide-shots-family-room-kitchen-dining-11

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.

bridget-home-tour-wide-shots-family-room-kitchen-dining-9In 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 Cansfront house

*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 BedroomBridgetGold Office Makeover Trunk

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? Bridget_Patio_Furniture_flowers_plants-20

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!builddirect-tile-subway-diy-tile-coffee

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.


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16 thoughts on “Our 2017 Home Goals

  1. Maggie

    Hi Bridget! My husband and I recently bought a house in the southwest suburbs of Chicago! If you do plan to replace Your current coffee table, please reach out! It may go well in our basement family room!

    Thanks for sharing your house renovations! You two always have such great ideas!

  2. Summer Hogan

    Can’t wait for a new year of great projects! I’m contemplating my master bathroom which could be a total gut job and it terrifies me lol! Hope the vacay was amazing!

  3. shawnna griffin

    Hey girls- Welcome home! Can’t wait to hear about the trip! Looks like ya’ll have a lot to do this year, have fun doing it! I have a question- What is the best monthly planner (and best price) I can buy and where?

    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks so much Shawnna! It was so much fun.

      We’ve used “Day Designer” & “Erin Condren” planners in the past. They’re both pretty pricey, but have been a worthy expense for us both! We’d definitely recommend them.

  4. Whitney Regeth

    Happy new year! My husband and I are in the process of buying a home and I’ve already made a huge to-do list haha. He thinks I’m crazy because we aren’t even moved in yet but I can’t help it lol. I can’t wait to see all of your amazing projects!

  5. Diana @ Bumps Along the Way

    Excited to see the results of these!! I LOVE making a (semi) ambitious project list at the beginning of the year and think that these things might (mostly) get done before December. Also, you can totally do the bathroom project!! My husband COMPLETELY (down to the studs and subfloor) redid our only (you can imagine how well that went…) bathroom a few years ago, learning a lot of new skills from YouTube videos. So so glad we (he) took it on! Good luck!!

  6. Jaclyn Lorimer

    I love the wine rack idea, or vertical shelves for baking sheets? That way you only have to match the wood stain, not the style of cabinetry, which I think would actually make that fridge area more cohesive with the rest of the kitchen!
    I know you’ll come up with something beautiful–you always do. Good luck!
    XO, Jaclyn


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Out of the Office


Thank you!casey-computer-dining-room

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!).

bridget_dining_room-2We 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.


Chicago_Odyssey_Travel_ drink_cheers_champagne

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

cabo-mexico-beach-oceanIn 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!! planner_bedroom_coffee_flowers-2

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 AwayBeach-Cabanas-Honeymoon

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!






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6 thoughts on “Out of the Office

  1. Kara D

    You should never have to apologize for taking a break to recharge! You are only human 🙂 We will all be here waiting for you guys to come back! Happy New Year!

  2. Kerri Hansen

    I agree with Kara, you don’t have to apologize for a much needed vacay! I think you made an excellent choice, it is so important to take breaks so that you don’t burn out! I bet my bottom dollar that you are going to come back rested, relaxed and FULL of ideas and inspiration. And I can’t wait to see what you come up with! In the meantime, I am having fun looking back at old content! Enjoy yourselves Senioritas! 🍹☀️


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Happy Hour No. 5


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.happy-hour-graphic

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!chicago_christmas-wrigley-building

Love It


  • 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! casey-mike-finn-emmys-2016
  • 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. 😉

Link It

Casey Updates:

christmas-hot-cocoaI 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!

casey-bridesmaid-maggie-lizzyIt 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.

cookie-day-baby-harry-jan-3We 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. cookie-day-baby-harry-jan-1And now with our little nephew around, the day is even better!

typing-working-office-deskNow 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!

Bridget Updates:

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.chicago_christmas-heritage-coffee

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! #hearteyesonrepeatmatt_bridget_christmas_tree_anniversary

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!passport-mexico-travel

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.bridget_and_casey_sig

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4 thoughts on “Happy Hour No. 5

  1. H Buchanan

    These posts are my favorite! Thanks for sharing.

    Quick question for Casey- where was your bridesmaid dress from!?

    Have a great trip / break!


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The DIY Playbook – 2016 Yearbook


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).

Biggest Risk-taker – The DIY Playbook Style Series

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!

The Science Department’s MVP – 7 Easy Tips for keeping a Fiddle Leaf Plant Alivefiddle-leaf-survival-tips

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!).

Award for Outstanding Achievement – DIY Modern Address Tutorial

bridgets-first-house-fall-mums-2We 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!

Most Popular – DIY Industrial Pipe Shelvesrustic_industrial_pipe_shelves_nursery-13

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!

Biggest Transformation – Casey’s Condo marble-table-built-in

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!!!

Most Likely to be Voted Prom Queen – Lowe’s Fall Makeoverlowes-makeover-bedroom-reveal

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!

Most Likely to be on TV – DIY Shiplapshiplap_bathroom_reveal-15

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!

Best Couple – B & C’s 2 for 1 holiday home tour

We loved injecting our own holiday style into each of our homes and shared them in this 2 for 1 holiday home tour!

Best Baby Face – MORE Newborn Photography Tipsnewborn_photography_tips_baby_owen-6

B joined Casey in the “AUNT CLUB” this year and because our first post about newborn photography tips was so popular, we decided to provide even more tips after photographing this little cutie!

Biggest Risk – How to Change a Light Switch


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

Most Athletic – NFL Homegating Party

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.

Most Tardies to Class … because you overslept – DIY Blackout Curtains casey-bedroom

Can you even believe these DIY curtains are not only inexpensive but they require ZERO SEWING?!! Our kind of project right there.

Biggest Rebel – Casey’s Guest Room Reveal View More:

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.

Most Unlikely to Succeed (but REALLY did) – Under the Sink Organizationorganized-sink-kitchen-cleaning-supplies

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!

Best Teamwork – 2016 Blogger Gift Guideholiday_christmas_bridget_skirt_gift_necklace-3

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!

Best Investment – Our Favorite Photography EquipmentArizona_camera_bridget-001

We invested in a new camera and a few new photography items and can’t tell you how happy we are that we finally took the plunge.

Most Likely to be Voted Prom King – One Sport Coat, 2 Ways

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.

Most Likely to Become a Journalist – Painting Tips from a Pro

zillow-how-to-paint-a-room-14We 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!

Most School Spirit – DIY Playbook turns 3!diy_playbook_3_birthday-004

The DIY Playbook turned 3… so of course we celebrated! Looking back at these photos has us excited (and scheming) for the Playbook’s 4th birthday in March.

Most Likely to be Everyone’s BFF – Happy Hourhappy-hour-graphic

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!

Most Likely to Travel the World – a tie between Guide to Alaska and Carmel, CA Recap

2016 offered some pretty amazing trips and reminded us how much we love traveling and exploring new places!

Techiest – DIY Playbook gets a mobile makeoverchicago_bridget_fashion_fall-riverwalk-jeans-sweater-phone-cell

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

President of the Drama Club – DIY Playbook shares Seasonal Videos!  Matt-winter-boots

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!

travel-carmel-bridget-casey-rookies-fashion-dressWow, 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.




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2 thoughts on “The DIY Playbook – 2016 Yearbook

  1. Erin

    you girls did some amazing content this year!!!! all the new stuff is a lot of fun! just don’t overload yourselves!!!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Thank you, Erin… that means the world to us! We are SO grateful for your support this entire year and so lucky to have you on the DIY Playbook team. Hope you have a great holiday and a happy, healthy New Year! xo, B&C

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