Ask Casey – 2024 Resolutions, Family Plans, & Prioritizing Home Projects


I get lots of design questions from you guys, but I get questions about a lot of other things happening in my life as well, like marriage, blogging, motherhood, fashion – really every single category! So, I tackle your inquiries in my “Ask Casey” blog post series, answering your questions every month or so.

Ask Casey

Making plans for more rest in 2024

If you want to check out previous “Ask Casey” posts, you’ll find them all right here.

The link at the bottom of the post has helped me keep everything organized so I can slowly make my way through your inquiries.  So, if you have another question today, be sure to submit it below.

Advice For 2013 Casey

The DIY playbook in 2014
The DIY Playbook in 2014
What do you wish you could tell your “just starting the blog” self?

Oh man, this is a good question and it made me think. I started the blog back in 2013. I was working at a job that I didn’t love and was a bit bored at the office every day. I’m not someone who likes to be bored, so I ended up starting The DIY Playbook, which would turn out to be the best thing I ever did.

My Chicago apartment
My Chicago Apartment – 2014

Back then, I was 25 years old and living with Finn, who was my boyfriend at the time. I couldn’t imagine that eleven years later I would be where I am today. In terms of advice for that young Casey, I would probably tell her to enjoy life a bit more. I spent most of my waking hours working – during the day at my day job, and then at nights and weekends on the blog. I said “No” to a lot of fun social activities (What kind of 25-year-old does that?!) because I didn’t want to waste a Saturday when I could be doing a project or working on the site.

My blog partner, Bridget, and I had so much fun together, though. I remember those days fondly. Back then, we did a lot of travel for the blog, going on brand trips and to conferences and we still reminisce about those days. We didn’t have kids yet, so it was easy to just jet off and have a fun time. I would tell my younger self to savor every minute.

Blogging updates to The DIY Playbook

If I had to give her some practical advice, I would tell young Casey to learn SEO from the start. I’m currently going through some of those old blog posts from 2013 and 2014 and deleting them because they are just so pitiful. If I knew what I know now about SEO, this website would be in an even better place! But, so much of that wisdom comes from time and practice.

Thoughts About The Year Ahead

Come check out my new stairway gallery wall in our basement
How are you feeling? Are you excited for the year ahead?

Most years, I try to choose a word to sum up how I want to spend my next 12 months. This year, I chose the word “slow.” When I told Finn, he laughed. I guess that’s because I’ve never been much of a slow person. However, this past year my body forced me to slow down and I actually ended up liking it. My goal is to embrace as much slowness as possible and be present. I wrote this quote down in my office, so it stays top of mind…

“If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?”

This year is also bringing a lot of uncertainty for me. As I wrote about in my “home goals” post earlier this month, I don’t have any big home projects planned. This is a bit scary when your entire business is about teaching people how to do things around the house. However, as I mentioned in that post, I’m not ready to rush into a new house or move just for the sake of content. I’m going to do my best to slow down and embrace the uncertainty of my future, which can be incredibly difficult for a Type-A planner like me!

Family Plans For The Year

The beach at Seaside
Seaside Trip In 2022
What’s the Finn family up to in 2024?

While my business plans are uncertain, my family plans are not. We have a two-week trip planned to Florida next month. My mom is again renting a house for the entire month of February (Yay!), so we will be going down there to enjoy some sunshine and warmth. This is our third year visiting the Seaside and Watercolor area and we adore it. You can read more about it from this past blog post.

Sharing my 2023 holiday gift guide

I may take the summer off of work again to be with the kids and then Rory will start pre-K 4 at our local school in the fall. In October, Finn and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, so we’re hoping to do a trip for that. We haven’t nailed down a location just yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

Winter Purchases & Christmas Gifts

Any fun new purchases from winter or Christmas gifts you want to share?

We got this digital frame for Christmas and I display it on our front console. The kids are obsessed!! It has unlimited storage, so I uploaded hundreds of family pictures onto it and the kids find it so amusing. They’ll park their cute little butts in front of it, with a snack, and watch memories pop up. I highly recommend getting one for your own home.

I asked Finn for a dainty silver necklace that I can wear every day and he got me this one. It’s perfect for layering or just on its own.

In December, I started a new clothing rental service called Nuuly. I was at a baby shower and a friend had on a gorgeous coat. She told me she rented it for the month from a place called Nuuly. It’s $99 a month and you get six pieces for the entire month. You can wear them as much as you want and then send them back when you’re done. Or, if you love a piece, you can buy it at a discount.

2024 resolutions to wear more fun clothes
Wearing leather pants & feeling oh so trendy!

I had a lot of events and parties to attend in December and ended up renting a few cool styles to wear that I might not necessarily ever buy for myself, like blue velvet pants and leather pants! It’s been a fun way for me to try out styles without fully committing. My January box just came and I’m loving the pieces in there.

I just did a winter beauty haul and picked up this new eyeshadow palette (shimmery and gorgeous), a lip gloss that isn’t sticky, mousse that’s giving my fine hair some volume, a restock of my favorite cream blush, and my favorite mascara.

Power Tool Help

how to use a power drill
Do you have any tutorials on how to use power tools?

I did a thorough tutorial on how to use, what I believe to be, the most important power tool – the drill. You can find the comprehensive guide right here.

I’ve considered doing similar posts on how to use a miter saw and nail gun. Any other tools you would want me to break down? I’m planning a new series about homeowner basics this spring and this could be a great place to share those power tool tips.

Prioritizing Home Projects

Enjoying our modern organic bedroom
How do I prioritize house projects when time, energy, and money are limited? I want to do everything!

This is the million-dollar question and I understand where this follower is coming from. When we purchased our current home, I could envision the finish line in my head and I wanted to do all the things! However, I kept having to remind myself that home doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow process. It took us four years to finish this house and it’s my full-time job to do this!

I often direct people to this blog post that outlines my best tips for what projects to start with after buying a house. It outlines the projects that I usually suggest tackling quickly and the ones I recommend holding off on. In general, I think it’s smart to wait to renovate bathrooms and kitchens until you’ve lived in a space for a while. You want to figure out how you use the room and any pain points before you start fresh. This is also a good way to save up for the exact things you want.

If you do want to make a plan for how to prioritize house projects, I suggest starting with the spaces you use the most. Many people neglect their bedrooms to focus on more visible areas of the home, but I think you should give your bedroom some TLC. This is a room you spend a good chunk of time in and it should be a restful place to be.

If you’re moving into a builder-basic home, I recently wrote this blog post with 13 DIY ideas to add character to your home. Most of these won’t take too much time or money to get done.

Submit Your Questions

Have a question you want me to answer in my next “Ask Casey” blog post? Submit it right here.

Casey


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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