Category Archives: Just for Fun

Happy Hour No. 8

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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

Casey

  • After our flats post, I ended up getting these lace-up flats for spring. I’m so excited to start wearing them once the weather gets a little bit nicer. Stay tuned for an update on how we’re liking our new flats later in April.casey-work-11
  • I upgraded my hair dryer last year to this one and it was a game changer. How the heck did I get by so many years with my old, beat up one? This one dries my hair sooooo fast (granted my hair is pretty thin, but still!) Plus it’s not too heavy, so my arms aren’t tired after drying.
  • During the winter my skin can get incredibly dry, so I recently picked up this night cream from CVS. It’s thick and hydrating and my skin just soaks it up. I’ve never been a big night cream gal, but so far I’m loving it.
  • I’m so ready to start wearing spring clothes! I’ve got my eye on these sandals and may have to throw these jean shorts into my online shopping cart too!

Bridget

  • I scored this tank & this shirt at Target and I’m super excited to start injecting a little Spring into my closet. I’m making a conscious effort to buy items that are versatile and very “me” & I think these two shirts fit the bill. Plus, they were pretty affordable (in true Target fashion) so I’m excited to give them a try! <– I’m styling the tank tomorrow on the blog!
  • I decided on these $19.99 flats vs. these $65 flats for our most recent mission to find comfy work flats. I’m giving both an equal shot at work and collecting all my data so we both can report back soon.

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  • I scored this brown leather pouf at HOMEGOODS recently for $100. I’ve never seen a brown one there so I scooped it up immediately… even though $100 is usually a bit more than I’d like to pay. But then I saw a similar one on Wayfair for $200 and didn’t feel so bad about the splurge. Anyone know where to find affordable poufs? I remember how excited I was when we scored this one for my sister’s nursery at the Land of Nod outlet on sale for $35 (reg. $79), but honestly have never seen such a great deal since.

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  • After lots of search, I finally decided on a barn door handle and installed it earlier this week. I can’t wait to show you the finished product on Friday, but until then… here’s the link to the best hardware I came across. The pulls are a bit pricey, but they’re specifically made for barn doors so it came with screws thick and LONG enough to fit through our 2″ door.

Link It

  • We were so honored to chat with Mr. Fix-It himself, Lou Manfredini, last week on WGN Radio here in Chicago. It’s always fun connecting with Chicago people who share our love for DIY so connecting with Lou and some of the listeners after the show was such an honor! You can listen to us at around 43:00 with this link.
  • Filing this kitchen makeover under “DREAM KITCHEN”
  • Good tips to style a fireplace mantle
  • Spending money on experiences, not things <—loving this idea!
  • Items to get rid of in every room in your house. Do you agree with this listletterfolk-thanksgiving-hallway
  • You guys know how much we LOVE our Letterfolk signs and although we wish we changed out the letters more often than we do, they bring some serious fun (and motivation!) into our homes. We bought ours here (and love them!), but our friend Mandi just started selling these similar boards for a better price so we wanted to give you guys the heads up if you’re in the game for your own letter board!minted_diy_playbook
  • Another sale alert! Our favorite place to buy art, Minted.com, is celebrating 10 years by providing the best sales of the year (competitive with their black friday & Cyber Monday sales). Shop their amazing art selection here and be sure to use the following coupon codes for an even better deal:
    • Free Shipping = SHIPFREE
    • Buy 3+ Party Items and get 15% off your Party Purchase = no code necessary
    • $10 credit toward wedding stationery samples = 10FREE
    • Check out the DIY Playbook’s favorites here (in our Minted store).4th_birthday_DIY_playbook-2

The survey results are in from our 4th birthday week and we’re reminded once again how AMAZING YOU GUYS ARE! Wow, we could not be more grateful for all of your kindness and all of your ideas, advice, suggestions, & encouragement. We sat down at a coffee shop one afternoon and went through every single piece of feedback and discussed how we could take your advice to make the blog even better. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy days to provide such valuable feedback. You guys seriously rock!

The one new component from the survey this year was the “fun facts” you guys shared about yourselves. We were incredibly humbled by the amazing group we have tuning in everyday (including a corporate pilot, ballerina, professional opera singer….) How cool are our readers?! We were cracking up at some of the hilarious fun facts about you guys and it makes us want to hang out with each and every one of you in person. 

Casey Updates

I recently got back from a trip to Phoenix with my mom, sister, and grandma. We’ve been going out there every March since I was a kid to get some R&R and escape the cold of Chicago for a long weekend in the sunshine.

meme-jan-casey-lizIt’s always such an easygoing weekend with my favorite women, but this year was bittersweet because my grandma is selling her Arizona house and moving back to Missouri full-time. We spent lots of time helping her pack up and ended up spending our afternoons looking at old family pictures and listening to stories from her childhood.

Here’s a gorgeous photo we found of my grandma’s parents before heading off on their honeymoon. My grandma guesses it was about 1918…

casey-old-family-photosIsn’t it stunning? I love how it captures their young love and the style of the time. Could you imagine being so dressy to travel today?!  I need to frame it and display it somewhere in our home. Still searching for the perfect, special spot. meme-arizona-houseI’m away from home again this weekend, this time visiting Finn’s sister and her husband in Houston! We’ll be celebrating his 30th birthday and spending time in their new house. Can’t wait to catch up and explore Houston while we’re there!

Bridget Updates

This month has been very busy with office projects. I swear almost every weekend I’ve spent planning, DIY-ing, or cleaning up after the mess in the office.
full-office-wayfairDon’t get me wrong I’m SO excited for the progress and am obsessed with the look so far, I just feel like it’s been extra busy around here because of the XL to-do list. The great news is that the project is wrapping up (kinda?) and hopefully I will get a little bit more free time back on my hands soon. Until then though, I still plan on shiplapping the back wall probably over the next few weeks. The other side of the room also needs some attention so I need to figure out what I’m going to do over there and then update you guys on the progress!

St.PatricksDay_Flowers_Bridget_Irish-2But before I get into that larger project and that whole NEW mess, Matt and I are spending a little down time in DC for his birthday! It’s been our tradition to check out a new baseball stadium for his birthday for the past three years and so this year we are headed to see the Nationals’ Park, while also making a vacation out of the trip. Does anyone have any recommendations for the DC area? Tourist attractions, restaurants, bakeries, ideas of what to see/do…. we are all ears and would love your feedback! And as always if you want to follow along on our travels, be sure to follow our Instagram.

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13 thoughts on “Happy Hour No. 8

  1. H Buchanan

    Have fun in DC! A lot of the Smithsonian museums are free to go through (or ask for a small donation, it’s been a while since I’ve been) but they’re very cool! My favorite is the museum of American History! Also, the Cherry Blossoms are supposed to be incredible to see!

    Reply
  2. Erin

    I’m in the DC area! for tourist attractions: I recommend the newseum — it is pricey but completely worth it, if you want free – definitely the American history museum – that’s one of the most interesting. if the weather’s decent do take a peek at the cherry blossoms – however the weather has been messing with them so I don’t think they’re as amazing as they usually are! georgetown is always fun to walk through — never gets old. but i wouldn’t drive, i’d either ride a bike or take one of the circulator buses to get there.

    for restuarants – it really depends where you’re staying. I’m always a fan of our local chain — matchbox — it’s a good mix of american food but they do it right! for breweries — i think it’s a bit on the snobbish side but Churchkey does good beer. Founding Farmers — they do great local stuff — I did just go to their sister restaurant – Farmers & distillers — the food was fine but i wasn’t too impressed with the food – but their glazed donuts are worth a drop in. and I’m not even a donut person!

    I’d try Etto for some good pizza. i’m a pizza fiend! and while churchkey is somewhat near nationals stadium. I’d also try Eatbar which is also in the area.

    Georgetown Cupcakes is so overrated, but if you really want to go — go to the one in Bethesda – that never has a line. the one in georgetown does, and I think it’s ridiculous! instead try baked & wired which is also in georgetown.

    Reply
  3. Trang

    Houston!?! My parents moved there last summer so I go visit every quarter. We are taking a family trip there next month. I grew up there in the elementary years and it’s changed so much. My husband has never been there so I plan on showing him around the town when we visit. Have a great visit and let me know what you get into while there.

    Reply
  4. DIY Playbook

    Thanks so much Linda! It’s actually from my grandma, she works at an Irish store on the southside of Chicago and she bought it for me. She says they get them shipped from Ireland. =) I love it and think of her every time I wear it.

    Reply
  5. Kerri Hansen

    Hi gals, I have just returned from our spring break vacay. I have been without internet, and while it was kinda nice to completely unplug, i missed my daily dose of diyplaybook! Casey, what an amazing girls getaway weekend you had and that picture is amazing. I love vintage photos like that, such a cool piece of family history! Bridget, that pouf you scored at home goods has me green with envy! It looks amazing in your office, such a nice compliment to those bookshelves. I am loving your office! Can’t wait for the final reveal!
    I love that off the shoulder blouse you got from Target, I may have to single white female you on that one! Are you too young for that reference? I squeezed in a quick trip to Target while in LA last week and picked up these blush colored cargo pants:
    http://intl.target.com/p/women-s-utility-jegging-cargo-pocket-pink-mossimo-153/-/A-51702189 and I love them! Word to the wise, size down as they are super stretchy!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Kerri,
      Awwww, we hope your trip was amazing! “Daily dose of DIY Playbook” <— this made our day… thank you!! We're happy you're back and all caught up 😉 And isn't Target the best?! Thanks for the fit tip, can't wait to check out these pants!! And LA?! How amazing!!

  6. DIY Playbook

    Julia,
    You are the SWEETEST!!! haha “proud owner of your coffee table” literally made me LOL.

    Thank you SOO much for all of these recommendations. I can’t wait to check them out. And I’ll have to note your recommendations in my recap post after the trip. Sincerely, thank you!! xo, B

    Reply
  7. Kara

    I’m in DC! If you’re into beer, I highly recommend Churchkey, though I haven’t found it to be snobbish like the other person mentioned. They have 50 beers on tap plus hundreds of bottles, and great food. They have a sister brewery, Bluejacket, which is actually right near the baseball stadium. The food there is also great. If you’re here on a weekend, definitely check out Eastern Market. Its part farmer’s market, part flea market. Its also not too far from the baseball stadium, so you could possibly go there before the game, depending on what time first pitch is. As for museums, the Newseum is awesome. You could spend the entire day there. I agree with another commenter…the Library of Congress is awesome. I also really enjoy the guided tour of the Capitol building, so you could hit that and the Library of Congress at the same time. Just a couple blocks from there is Good Stuff Eatery (for burgers & shakes) or We, the Pizza (for pizza). Both are owned by a former Top Chef competitor and are great. There’s also an amazing exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum called Inifinite Mirrors. You need tickets to go, but each morning they give out some tickets for same-day timed entry. You just need to go early to get tickets. I could go on and on, so if there is a specific cuisine you’re looking for, let me know!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Wow, this is AH-MAZING!! Thank you for all these tips/suggestions…. I can’t wait to map it all out. I honestly can’t thank you enough, Kara!!! This helps sooooo much!

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Stovetop Recipe to Make your Home Smell Fresh for Spring

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With the weather warming up a bit, I find myself doing a bit of spring cleaning, purging, and organizing. And usually when on a cleaning mission, I love opening up our windows and doors to let the fresh air in.stovetop_smell

Unfortunately it’s still a bit too chilly to open up the windows, so I came up with a creative way to add some fresh smells to our home…stovetop potpourri.

diy_stovetop_spring_smells-5Have you ever tried it? Essentially it’s just throwing a bunch of fragrant ingredients in a pot and letting it simmer on the stove all day long. It’s love how incredible aromatic it is and it makes the entire house smell divine.

I’ve done this during the Christmas season with cinnamon sticks, cranberries, nutmeg and other seasonal flavors. But I decided to try a fresh one with some spring-like fragrances.

Ingredients

Here’s my recipe for a lemony fresh scent for your home this spring.

  • 2 T. vanilla extract
  • Pot with water (fill up about ¾ of the way)
  • 2 lemons sliced
  • Bunch of mint
  • Bunch of rosemary

diy_stovetop_spring_smells-4That’s it! We often have some of these ingredients stocked in our fridge and pantry already, so it’s not too difficult to throw together.

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Instructions

Just fill a pot up with ¾ water and then add all of the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer on low for as long as you want.diy_stovetop_spring_smells-8

diy_stovetop_spring_smells-9It may get a little mushy after a bit, but it should stay pretty fragrant all weekend long. I’ll sometimes make this on a Saturday morning and then turn it on whenever we’re doing things around the house on both Saturday and Sunday. Then Sunday night I’ll dump the mixture.

diy_stovetop_spring_smells-12While I love lighting candles, this is a fresh alternative and it really permeates the entire home. I hope you’ll give it a try.

diy_stovetop_spring_smells-11If you have any other stovetop recipes I’d love to hear them! It’s fun to try different concoctions to see what smells might come along with it. Plus this is a way to get me in the kitchen without having to actually produce anything edible for me & Finn. Baby steps, right?!
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8 thoughts on “Stovetop Recipe to Make your Home Smell Fresh for Spring

    1. DIY Playbook

      That’s a great point! We’re not very familiar with essential oils (not at all actually) but we don’t see why not?! Sounds like a great way to add more aroma!!

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A Big Happy 30th Birthday to Mr. Finn

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Today is a very special day…it’s my husband Finn’s 30th birthday! I remember back when we celebrated his 18th birthday and I was so excited to go all out for his big day. I ended up getting his favorite things…18 of them. Diet Coke, a basketball, his favorite candy, etc. I wrapped up each gift and he just beamed when he saw all of the gifts. It was a really special time and I still remember it all these years later.

2005, Right around his 18th Birthday

2005, Right around his 18th Birthday

Now here we are at the big 3-0, and I had absolutely no idea what to do for him. I think I started a little too strong at the age of 18, ha!
finn basketball

Since Finn’s birthday always happens during March Madness he usually asks that we just keep it low-key so he can watch all of the games. So even though I did want to throw a big 30th birthday party, I knew it probably wouldn’t be what he wanted. But I still wanted to show him how loved he is by all of the people in his life. So I came up with another plan…

30 Years of Memoriesbirthday-presents-finn-7

A couple of months ago, I reached out to 30 of his closest friends and family and asked them to email me a favorite memory of Finn. It didn’t have to be anything crazy, just a paragraph was all I was looking for. A couple of weeks later, and the emails started rolling in!birthday-presents-finn-5

I received so many beautiful letters from Finn’s favorite people. Memories from his childhood, pictures from long ago, and stories about him that I had never even heard. Every single person I asked wrote back to me and I ended up with 30 letters for my birthday boy! I printed them all out, put them in envelopes (along with some of the photos), and tied them up with some pretty string. By the time Finn reads this post, he’ll have received all of his letters. I cannot wait to give them to him!

Time to #Explorenew-birthday-presents-finn-1

With the personalized part of the present crossed off my list, I still wanted to get my guy a few other things he would love. As I’ve mentioned before, our word for the year is “explore” and we’re trying to travel as much as possible before starting a family. I decided to go with that as my theme for his birthday gifts.birthday-presents-finn-4

After lots of online shopping, I ended up getting him a monogrammed leather passport cover, this awesome bucket list book (seriously can’t wait to fill it out together), and a nice rain jacket from Patagonia that he can use for our upcoming Iceland trip. I also got one of those little Polaroid Instax cameras, along with extra film, and a photo album that is just waiting to be filled up with pics from our travels! birthday-presents-finn-3

I got some wrapping paper from HomeGoods and then picked up some travel accessories in the scrapbooking section of Michaels to bring the theme together. I’m hoping he’ll love all of the fun items to celebrate our upcoming year of travel together.View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

When trying to figure out what to get Finn for his 30th birthday, I did a lot of research looking for ideas. I wasn’t sure if I would blog about what I got him, but I figured if I could give at least one of you out there some guidance for an upcoming birthday then the post would be well worth it!

If you have someone in you life who is hard to buy for consider doing a theme. I promise it makes shopping a lot easier! And if you want a personalized gift, the 30 years of memories was another idea I’m happy I ran with.

Happy 30th Birthday Mr. Finn
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A big happy 30th birthday to my favorite guy. A guy who always makes me laugh, who makes me feel safe, and who makes every day special. I love you Mike Finn and I am blessed to be your wife. Here’s to 30 more years together side-by-side. casey_sig

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17 thoughts on “A Big Happy 30th Birthday to Mr. Finn

  1. Erin

    wow that is amazing!!! it is definitely a challenge to figure out what to get our significant others!! i like that you did a theme. I need to really get my act together and start working on my husband’s gift — he’s turning 45 this year, and it is SO hard to figure out what to get him. But i also will note that we’ve actually been trying to be more focused on experiences versus gifts.

    Reply
  2. Emily Dunham

    Happy, happy birthday to him! Absolutely LOVE your personal gift to him. So sweet and thoughtful and something he can cherish for always! My aunt had my cousins do that for my dad’s 60th birthday and it was just so neat reading their different memories!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks so much Emily! It was so fun to put together and it’s a present that will never get old. Love that your family did that for your dad’s 60th. I’m sure he loved it!

  3. Sarah M.

    This is so sweet and thoughtful! My guy’s 30th is coming up in May and I think I just found the gift idea I’ve been searching for. 🙂 Happy birthday, Finn!

    Reply
  4. Ashley Sorrick

    Happy Birthday to Finn! Love your packaging – so creative! We’re doing the travel thing right now before kids!

    Reply
  5. Jaclyn Lorimer

    My husband turned 30 a couple of weeks ago and I got him a new grill—and then my parents sent him a grill too! Maybe I need to dip into some more themed/personalized options next time!

    XO, Jaclyn
    lorimerliving.com

    Reply

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Winter Video 2017

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Spring is officially here, although the Chicago weather would say otherwise. But after our incredibly mild winter, you won’t find either of us complaining about slightly chilly temps (except for that 1 snowstorm we had last week…but we’ll give it a pass this time)Chicago_River_Night_Winter_Bridget

Every few months we like releasing a little video montage of what we’ve been up to over the past few months. It’s almost like a video scrapbook of all of the fun stuff we’ve done together, the places we’ve seen, and the updates in our homes. We always mean to get video whenever we’re DIY’ing or blogging together, but we somehow always seem to forget! Without fail we’ll be packing up for the day and look at each other like…dang it, we didn’t get any video! Chicago_River_Night_Winter_Casey_jacket

Here are our past videos if you want to catch up…

Chicago_River_Night_Winter_Casey_BridgetToday we’re back with our Winter 2017 video. We were fully expecting that this video would be chock full of snow scenes and chilly brisk days, but as mentioned we had a long stretch of no snow here in Chicago! Instead you’ll see some beach scenes (from our Mexico trip), shots of us looking freaked out before our home show presentation, and then footage from around our favorite city.

Winter Video 2017

We hope you enjoy this little snapshot of our last few months. Let’s just say we’re eager for warm spring days ahead, so we can finally ditch all of the layers and have some fun outside of the house.

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10 thoughts on “Winter Video 2017

  1. H Buchanan

    I love these videos! Such a fun little glimpse in to your lives, and your Mexico videos have my dying for some warmth and sunshine!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks Trang! On your next visit to Chicago you’ve gotta get a hot chocolate at Bombobar. I know you’re a healthy gal, but it was a fun indulgence!

    2. Trang

      Oh girl, when I am in Chicago, being healthy goes out the window. I must indulge in all that the city has to offer! Bombobar will be on my list at the end of April.

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9 Things you Might Not Know About Us & a SURVEY!

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Last month, we had such a fun time sharing insights about our husbands that you probably didn’t know. Like Finn’s chapstick addiction and Matt’s obsession with music. So today we though we’d share a little insight into ourselves.

DIY_Playbook-4th-birthday-bridget-casey-3To be perfectly honest, it was DIFFICULT to come up with these because we feel like we share a lot here on the blog. You guys probably already know Casey loves to drink champagne, and Bridget is a big sweets lover. But we challenged ourselves to dig deep and think about those random quirks that we each have.

We did share some fun facts about ourselves in this post about Casey and this post about Bridget, but we figured it was time to update any new readers about our true selves…quirks & all!

9 Things You Might Not Know About Bridgetdiy_playbook_headshots_Bridget

  • I was born Bridget Birk O’Connor, my mom gave me and both of my sisters her maiden name as our middle names. Once I got married, I had to change my last name. But not only did I change my last name, I also changed my middle name just like my mom did 30+ years ago. I followed her lead and changed my maiden name into my middle name. So now my legal name is Bridget O’Connor Matkovich.
  • I rarely ever drink alcohol. I’m definitely not against people around me drinking (cheers to them!), I’m just not a fan of the taste so I would much rather opt out of a cocktail and enjoy a chocolate shake (or a dessert!) instead. Arizona_camera_bridget-001
  • I was never exposed to or interested in photography before the blog… not even a little. But starting the blog introduced me to my first DSLR camera and now I’m obsessed with learning and improving my photo skills. I have no regrets in life so far (knock on wood!) but if I could, I would definitely go back and take all the photography classes offered in HS and college. I’m so interested in it but have no official training and feel like such a rookie when I hear others talk “shop” about their cameras. brown-leather-jacket-with-converse-bridget-3
  • I would consider myself very friendly and outgoing, but I would also say that I’m definitely on the quiet side in a large crowd. I would much rather sit back and observe while in a large group than be the center of attention. Actually being the center of attention is my worst nightmare!
  • My favorite celebrity is Lester Holt, the news anchor from the TODAY Show and now the Nightly News. He has such a kind, calm, positive, and compassionate demeanor… overall I think he’s just a class act.work_hard_be_nice_to_people
  • “Work Hard and Be Nice to People”. My parents were (and still are) the most hardworking and kindest people I know. Growing up they never preached the importance of either of those qualities, but instead modeled them every single day. When I look at this print I instantly think of them & am reminded that for me, it really is that simple. And just like my parents did for me, I hope to lead by example and pass on those same values to my own kids some day.
  • Some of my bad habits include… biting my finger nails, swearing, eating a lot of junk food/sweets, and being constantly dehydrated from not drinking nearly enough water. owen
  • I became an aunt last year for the first time and I’m pretty obsessed the new title… and the adorable little guy that gave it to me. I’ve babysat my nephew Owen a few times all by myself (yikes!) and let’s just say I have A LOT to learn! Like who knew you had to burp a newborn after every ounce of a bottle instead of just once at the very end?! (oops… that was a messy mistake!) But most importantly, watching my sister become a mom has already taught me so much. She’s incredible and every time I watch her in action, I’m in awe of her dedication and want to be just like her when I have kids. #notpregnant #justsayingCoffee Lipstick Bridget
  • I gave up coffee last year so it’s been about 4+ months since the last time I had any caffeinated coffee! About once a week I’ll splurge and have a decaf coffee (usually on the weekends) but for the most part I am caffeine-free! My original goal was give up coffee and replace it with water. I mastered the first part but I’m still working on the water part. 😉

9 Things you Might Not Know About Caseycasey-work-11

  • Since Finn is a night owl, I most always go to sleep before him. But he tucks me in every single night, turning off the lights and putting on our white noise machine. Sometimes if I’m really being spoiled he will throw the blanket in the dryer so it’s warm & toasty when he tucks me in. Yes, I know…he is the best.
  • I really enjoy having a routine, especially a morning routine. In fact, I always have the same thing for breakfast (Greek yogurt with berries, chia seeds, flaxseed, protein powder, and raw almonds.) I am a creature of habit. Casey-Meme
  • My mom’s mom is my only living grandparent and she is amazing. We call her Meme and her social calendar is way more jam-packed than mine ever is. She loves having wine nights with her girlfriends and she has an iPhone, iPad, and laptop! We text and email often and I’m actually heading to Arizona next weekend to see her! Cannot wait…casey-fall-fashion-17
  • I’m left-handed. When I was younger I hated being a lefty because I couldn’t use scissors and would get ink all over the side of my hand taking notes during school. But in today’s digital world it doesn’t seem to be as much of an annoyance!
  • I absolutely hate scary movies. I can’t even watch trailers for horror flicks or else I will have nightmares.View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1
  • I have incredibly fat fingers (8.5 ring size) and when I was younger I thought that I could move them around enough to exercise them and get some of the finger chub away! Ha! When it came time to choose a wedding band, I was so self-conscious of my fingers and didn’t want to choose anything that would draw too much attention to them.
  • I hardly ever swear. In fact, out of the 2 of us Bridget has much more of a potty mouth. Shocking..I know!
  • I don’t eat red meat or pork, instead I only opt for chicken, fish, or turkey. It doesn’t have to do anything with health or animal rights (although those are perks!), instead I just don’t really care for those meats.casey-black-jeans-leopard-purse-2
  • I found my first gray hair this year, and I’m not gonna lie…it freaked me out! As a woman who frequently gets highlights, I suppose I’ll have to add another step to my process at the hair salon. I’m on the fast track to my 30’s and I’m still trying to accept this whole aging thing. Tell me I’m not alone?!

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Take our Survey!

Now we want to know hear from you!! Every year we love surveying our readers to see what you love about the DIY Playbook, what you don’t love about the DIY Playbook, and what you want to see more of on the DIY Playbook. And for fun… we snuck in a few questions about you! Since we’re all friends here, it’s only fair that you tell us some fun facts about you!! Take the survey below and please, do NOT hold back! It’s completely anonymous.

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8 thoughts on “9 Things you Might Not Know About Us & a SURVEY!

    1. DIY Playbook

      awwww love this! So happy to hear I’m not the only one. And you’re so right, I don’t even mind that we go to bed at different times because I love this nighttime routine.

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Happy 4th Birthday to The DIY Playbook!

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4th_birthday_DIY_playbook-2Pop the confetti, pour the champagne, bring on the cookie cake because today marks The DIY Playbook’s FOURTH birthday! <— Even typing that sentence feels crazy to us because we honestly can’t even believe it ourselves. How is our baby blog turning 4 already?!! #proudparents

Four Years Ago…

bridget-casey-computer-2014When we hit publish on our first blog post 4 years ago, we honestly didn’t know what to expect. We knew we loved all things DIY, we knew we loved reading other DIY blogs, and we knew we were already doing a lot of DIY projects, but we didn’t know much past that.DIY_Playbook-4th-birthday-bridget-casey-2

We set out to follow our passion of DIY and learn about this blogging world as we went, but didn’t have many expectations outside of that. Looking back 4 years later, what a journey it has been so far.

Then & Now

  • In the beginning, we were overwhelmed with the amount of information we needed to learn and test in order to build our site… but with lots of trial and error, we figured it out as we went.bridget-casey
  • In the beginning, our photography was awful… but with A LOT of practice, research, and investing in some new equipment, we improved.

    Our First Website Header, 2013

  • In the beginning, we had no clue what our style was or that we even had a style… we just took it one project and one post at a time until we eventually found a look we loved.
  • In the beginning we had a few readers (both of our moms and maybe a few friends tuning in on a good day)… four years later we can’t believe the amazing people and strong women we have connected with because of this blog.
    Our First Headshot, 2013

    Our First Headshot, 2013

  • In the beginning, we were nervous to put ourselves out there… and although it’s still not always easy, we learned not to take ourselves too seriously and have even developed some thicker skin along the way.
  • In the beginning, we didn’t make any money and never intended to do so… and now we know a lot more about contracts, invoices, financial projections, and taxes than we ever thought we would.DIY_Playbook-4th-birthday-bridget-casey-3
  • In the beginning, we had NO idea where this journey would take us… 4 years later, this blog continues to amaze us thanks to the incredible people we meet, the places we see, and the opportunities we are blessed with.

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  • In the beginning, we almost didn’t start the DIY Playbook because we had no idea what to do or where to start….yet here we are four years later feeling grateful that we pushed ourselves to step WAY outside our comfort zones.

It’s not always easy, but it’s ALWAYS worth it

Running the blog and juggling our day jobs makes our lives busy… very, very busy every. single. day. The only way to say it is that it’s hard, really freakin’ hard to juggle work, blog, marriage, family, friends, and life.

DIY_Playbook-4th-birthday-bridget-caseyBut honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way because we are in LOVE with our work here. We are passionate about the DIY Playbook and look forward to getting home from our day jobs so we can dive into our blog work. Even on days that we feel completely overwhelmed by our never-ending to-do lists, we remember how lucky we are to have this blog in our lives because it brings us so much happiness.

4th_birthday_DIY_playbookLittle by little, a lot has changed since that very first post. Imagining what our lives would be like if we weren’t brave enough to start the blog is pretty scary.

We pause today and share this journey with you because we hope that our story will help inspire someone reading today to follow your heart, take a risk on your passion, and chase your dreams…even if it is super scary and full of unknowns.

It’s Time & Yes, you CAN do this!

Birthday_DIY_PlaybookWe’re not urging anyone to quit your job and do something drastic, we are just encouraging you to take ACTION on that daydream that won’t seem to stop nagging you. It’s nagging you for a reason.

Getting started on the goal you’ve been dreaming of won’t be easy, it will probably feel completely overwhelming, scary, and downright impossible. But we are here to say that it’s worth it…well worth it. The only one that is holding you back is YOU and the only one capable of making that daydream a reality is YOU.

Bridget_Casey_Headshot_rookies-3You can do this, you just have to DIVE IN! Then keep chipping away at it, keep learning, keep pushing through it and over time you’ll stop to realize you have given life to your passion. Chasing your dreams and passions is worth all the hard work and is far more rewarding than you will ever anticipate.

Whether you’re looking to start your own blog, get certified as a yoga instructor, start an Etsy shop, run a marathon, open your own business, buy a fixer upper, go back to school… whatever your daydream is — DO IT!bridget-Casey-rookies-birthday-2

If the blog has taught us anything these past four years it is that we are capable of a lot more than we ever thought. But you’ll never know what you are capable of until you start chasing your dreams.

We love you guys and feel so blessed to have you in our lives and on this journey with us. You have helped us every step of the way and we can never thank you enough. We are celebrating the DIY Playbook by popping the champagne and cheering YOU on as you follow your daydreams. It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself and you deserve it!
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P.S. And if you ever find yourself up way too late with a looming to-do list thinking, “is this really worth it?!”… email us! We’ll be the first ones to let you know that YES, it is worth it… and so are you! Keep up the amazing work, you’re changing the world by sharing your passion. DIY_Playbook-4th-birthday-bridget-casey-3

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19 thoughts on “Happy 4th Birthday to The DIY Playbook!

  1. Trang

    Happy anniversary! I am so glad you gals started this blog. I love reading it everyday and keep up with all that you do on Instagram and FB. You ladies are genuine and down to earth and I love that the most!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Awww, thank you so much Trang! You are the sweetest and ALWAYS so supportive…. how did we get so lucky?! Thanks so much for all of your support (and advice!). Connecting with amazing people like you is what we love most about the DIY Playbook. THANK YOU!! xo, B&C

  2. Kerri Hansen

    Happy Birthday to one of my favorite blogs in the whole wide world! Thank you Bridget and Casey for being such brave risk takers and creating this amazing blog! Thank you for being kind, gracious, down to earth, funny and the list could go on! You guys are such a source of inspiration for me and I feel so grateful to have found your blog! Here’s to many more years of awesomeness!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Wow, you made our day!! You are way too sweet… how did we get so lucky to have such amazing and supportive readers like you?! It’s your encouragement and kindness that make us feel comfortable to put ourselves out there (and even to feel a little vulnerable at times). The best part of this entire journey has been connecting with amazing readers, thank you Kerri!!

  3. Diana @ Bumps Along the Way

    Congratulations ladies! (Every year when you post this I am reminded that your blog is just a few weeks older than my son!). I’ve so enjoyed all you’ve shared and all I’ve learned about decorating, style, and following my own dreams!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Awww, happy 4th birthday to your son!! Crazy how time flies, you look up and it’s already 4 years later… how does that happen?!! Thank you for all of your kind words and all of your amazing support. You have been such a kind and supportive reader, we are so grateful for your words and encouragement today and throughout our entire journey!! xo, b&c

  4. Colleen Bansley

    Congratulations!!! Thank you for all the inspiration and encouraging words!! What would I look forward to every morning at 6:15 coming out of my power sculpt class if I had never worked with you a few years ago! You ladies are brilliant, talented and empowering!! Cheers to you and many more successes with the DIY Playbook!!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      haha! We’re so happy to provide some entertainment after a hard class! You go girl!

      So happy we met too, Colleen! Lucky to have found each other 🙂

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Happy Hour No. 7

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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.

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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

Casey

  • Because it’s Frugal February (more about our quest to save money this month in this post), I really haven’t been buying much lately! Which has been great for the bank account. But I did purchase this leopard clutch because I had a gift card…and I’m obsessed. I wanted a clutch for dressy events (like weddings) that would go with everything and this one fit the bill. Plus it’s super roomy, yet still small enough to be tucked under your arm. Love it.casey-lipstick-bathroom
  • I got this primer as a sample from Sephora, and I’ve loved it so much that I want to get a regular sized tube. I never really understood why primer was a good first step before putting on makeup, but I now understand the draw! It kinda reminds me of priming a wall before painting…a necessary step for a good outcome.
  • I’m eyeing these sandals for upcoming trips to Phoenix & Houston. They look so comfortable and like they would go with just about any ensemble. Plus I love Sole Society.

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  • I have this leather jacket in black but because I get so much use out of it (and love it so much), I decided to buy it in brown too! 
  • I recently found out that Amazon sells Barn Door Hardware (thanks for the tip Katie!). Has anyone used this hardware?! I’d love to hear your thoughts before we buy anything and start working on our DIY Barn Door Project!
  • I finally decided on a coffee table and recently purchased this one!! I loved a lot of the options I shared in this post but had a hard time finding one that was petite enough for our space. When this one went on sale for $150, I was sold! For a sneak peek at what it looks like in our space, check out this Instagram post.
  • I‘ve been wanting a record player for a while and recently splurged on this one for the office! My sisters and I had a record player in our bedroom growing up (Footloose was our favorite record!) so every time I play it, I immediately smile and remember our old dance parties. Although I now have a record player, I’m pretty clueless when it comes to music so if anyone has any great record suggestions, I’m all ears! 

Link It

  • LOVE this DIY Scandinavian Shiplap tutorial!
  • How cool is this DIY Pantry Makeover?! What a brilliant idea to paint the inside of the doors for a fun and subtle pop of color?
  • This office is absolute perfection. Cozy & functional all at the same time.letterfolk-thanksgiving-hallway
  • Our friend Mandi from Vintage Revivals is now selling Letter Boards for HALF THE PRICE! If you’ve had your eye on this piece for awhile, this may be your chance!!
  • This humble & kind message, the meaningful art, the blogger behind this thoughtful project… we love it all!
  • We feel like we always link to a Studio McGee project, but can you blame us? Their projects are always #goals! Check out their latest family room reveal.bridget-casey-rookies-laughing-2
  • A few weeks ago we spoke at the Old House, New House Home Show in St. Charles, IL and had such a great time! Speaking publicly is definitely new to us but having each other, especially in situations like that, makes us feel extra grateful to be on this blog journey together. Hopefully that presentation was the first of many more, which is pretty crazy to say since we were a little a lot hesitant to take this project on. Stepping outside of our comfort zone was one of our blog goals in 2017 and this definitely fit in that category and proved to us that trying things outside of our normal routine is really worth it sometimes!
  • Although this is a short month, we somehow managed to squeeze another blog milestone in when we hit publish on our 1,000th post on the DIY Playbook!! Where has the time gone?!

Casey Updates

We celebrated my mom’s birthday in early February with dinner and an Escape Room! (Sorry for the grainy & dark iPhone pics)casey-family-escape-room

Have you guys ever done one before? Basically you’re locked in a room for 60 minutes and you must work together to get out. There are all kinds of themes to choose from and we opted for a 1930’s theme as opposed to a creepy one like zombies!

casey-family-dinnerWe went in really confident that we would escape easily, but we didn’t end up making it out in the 60 minutes! I guess for this particular escape only a very small percentage of people make it out. We were bummed we didn’t officially succeed, but it was still a blast and we enjoyed a great dinner and drinks afterwards! I’d definitely recommend trying an escape room for a fun group activity.

Most of our weekends have been very low-key and I’ve loved every second of it. Because it’s Frugal February, we’re trying not to go out and spend money on the weekends. Instead it has been a lot of dinners in, along with drinks and movies on the couch. It’s pretty amazing! We’ve also started planning for our Europe trip this fall, so diving into that motivated us to keep up with our frugal practices.

casey-athleisure-10On another (more random) note…I want to encourage everyone to get a full body scan by their dermatologist. I went for my annual check-up and ended up having a suspicious freckle on my back removed. Even if you think your skin looks totally normal, it’s important to get in there to see a professional at least 1x per year. Trust me!

Bridget Updates

Thanks to Casey’s experience, I made a much-needed check-up with my dermatologist this month. I always tell her how having her in my life keeps me so much healthier than I ever would be without her. She’s always encouraging me to take vitamins, exercise, drink more water, and sends me interesting health articles. I got pretty darn lucky in the Bestie category, where would I be without her?!

office_progress_frames_shelves_michaels-4February around here has been busy with office updates! Some of the furniture recently came, which all required assembly. But because it’s DIY Playbook’s 4th birthday next week (yay!), my posts about the office are a little delayed. I figured I’d share a sneak peek here on Happy Hour until I check back in with far more details soon. Spoiler Alert: I’m loving how this space is shaping up! <—- and if you want more details, I’ve been sharing more real-time updates on our Instagram page (@diyplaybook).

Electric DrillOutside of setting that up I’ve been busy trying to plan our DIY Barn Door Project, which has taken a lot of research since this is our first attempt at a project like this. We started last weekend by hanging the track but still have to build the actual door… so it may be a while for the finished product to be done. Then I plan on adding some shiplap into this space so we still have a way to go! But I promise I will update you guys soon and share all of the details!
casual_necklace_flannel-bridget-laughingWhen I haven’t been knee-deep in office DIY, I’ve been trying to get out and enjoy Chicago’s unusually warm and gorgeous February weather! I don’t think we’re completely out of the woods, but the recent temps in the 50’s and even 60’s (!!) felt like it was practically summer! Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic but the sunshine and warm weather has me extra excited for the spring weather ahead.

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6 thoughts on “Happy Hour No. 7

  1. Trang

    I also bought my barn door kit from Amazon (5 months ago!), but am waiting for your door build tutorial to build mine. Maybe installing the rails will motivate me?

    Your brown leather jacket is ultra adorable! Unfortunately, they only have XS left. Darn it!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      You bought your hardware from Amazon too?! What a small world!! I’m posting about installing the track next week and the door soon after. I have a lot of prep work to do this weekend on the baseboard/trim/door casing but then hopefully we are onto the fun part… building the actual door!! =) Stay tuned….

      Have a great weekend, Trang!

  2. shawnna griffin

    Hey girls -It ‘s been really nice down here in Oklahoma to! We haven’t had much of a winter! And Bridget me and my sister had the cassette tape of footloose back in the day ha

    Reply

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How to Save Money When you Live in a Big City

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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 Mint.com 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!

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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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19 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!

    xo,
    Kira | http://www.theimperfectionistblog.com

    Reply
  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.)

    Reply
    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 🙂

    Reply
    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!

    Reply
  5. Erin

    I used to lament about meal planning/prepping but now I’m all about it. it definitely helps us stay in our budget….I basically have a budget for every category and we try our best to stay within those expenses — and if there’s any money leftover — it goes into savings for the future within that category. that helps us when say — our dog’s vet appointment comes up & that’s way out of budget, but because we don’t spend all $80 each month, i put the remainder in savings, so when her vet appointment comes up, the money’s there!

    and cable, UGH. here’s the issue — we either have comcast or fios. with either one, if we drop cable and keep internet — internet is MORE expensive than cable. UGH. we are on the struggle bus with this one! trying to battle it out with them. so frustrating!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Erin I totally feel you on the internet & cable! We were locked into a price for 12 months when we moved…and then once that was over it was like BAM, so expensive! And it’s not like you can go without internet haha

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10 Things You Don’t Know About Our Husbands

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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

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  • 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: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1
  • 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).

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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!

    Reply
  2. Abbie DeLaney Zinkan

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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    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

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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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