Ask Casey – Finding a Contractor, Cleaning Appliances, & Go-To Fall Outfit

I get lots of design questions from you guys, but I actually get questions about a lot of other things happening in my life, 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

Ask Casey

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

The Google form 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 down below.

Reader SOS Updates

budget powder room design plan
Do you ever receive reader SOS updates after you’ve shared your design thoughts? If so, could you share those? I always wonder how the spaces turn out.

I did one blog post where I shared what some of the spaces look like now. It was so fun to see many of these followers implement my idea! You can view that post here.

My assistant, Lindsey, has been working to compile enough for another blog post. We just don’t have quite enough material to warrant another blog post just yet. I am hoping we get some more pictures and after pictures soon!

In the meantime, I have to share this amazing budget bathroom that Jamie did. I published her design dilemma about a year ago and within a month she had completed the space almost exactly to my rendering. It was so amazing to see! Good work, Jamie!

Year of Casey

New DIY Playbook website
What’s been your favorite part about the “Year of Casey”?

Back in January, I shared my resolution to take 2022 to really focus on me and I dubbed it “The Year of Casey”. After years of infertility and then back-to-back pregnancies, I wanted to feel like myself again. I am so happy that I made that resolution. Finn recently told me that during our years of infertility, he felt like he lost me. And I now look back and realize he was right. I lost myself.

Meet our Daughter, Aurora

Of course, the birth of our children brought me immense joy and happiness, but when you’re in the thick of those newborn days and the long days with young children, it’s incredibly difficult, as many of you know. I feel like this year has been healing for me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve really learned to drop the mom guilt and take some much-needed time for myself. Whenever I’m away from my kids for a workout class, a girls’ trip, or just an afternoon out of the house, I return as a “new Mama” who is excited and ready to give her children her undivided attention.

I would have to say my favorite part has been hearing from many of you who are also taking this time for yourselves. I’ve had some amazing conversations in my DMs and inbox about women who formerly felt mom guilt for taking 45 minutes to go get their nails done and now they’re seeing this time away in a new light, without any shame or guilt. I love that!

Cleaning Appliances

Put the affresh tablet directly in the washing machine
What are the products you use to clean your dishwasher and washing machine?

I wrote a blog post about this exact topic a few years back that you can read here. I use these tablets in the washing machine and try to remember to do it once a month, although I sometimes forget. I’ve also found that keeping the washing machine door and drawer open after washes is crucial to prevent mildew and a gross smell. For the dishwasher, I use these tablets and I opt for these tablets when our garbage disposal gets stinky. I also always have Jet Dry in the dishwasher to keep my dishes looking good.

Window Treatments for Weird Windows

The awkward window in our office
What window treatments do you do for windows that are only about one foot tall and five feet off the ground?

This reminds me of the window we have in our office. It’s up high and skinny…the weirdest window choice ever. We don’t have a window treatment on it, because we don’t really need one. But if we were to add one, I would opt for a shade – either roman, solar, or bamboo. I think it really depends on the function – e.g., Do you need it to block light? – and also the aesthetic of the space. Because it’s an odd size, you’ll likely have to go custom. I’ve had luck with Select Blinds and Lowe’s/Home Depot.

If you want to go the DIY route, I do have an old tutorial on how to shorten a bamboo shade using these inexpensive Lowe’s shades. Most bamboo shades can be cut, in store, to a specific width and then you have to do a bit of work, yourself, to get it to the right length. This blog post walks you through the step-by-step.

Fall Outfit

What’s your go-to fall outfit?

Jeans // Sneakers // Gray T-Shirt // Cardigan // Belt Bag // Coat // Everyday Necklace

I haven’t purchased anything new this season, so let me share some of my tried and true favorites! I’m such a millennial because I still love to wear skinny jeans. These distressed jeans are a fave of mine right now. I then opt for these casual sneakers with these no-show socks. On top, I often do a simple tank and a cardigan. I got this sweater over the summer and it’s so soft. I have this coat in camel and it always makes me feel pulled together. I wear it during fall and winter whenever I want to feel a little dressier.

Finding a Contractor

Our kitchen reno
Our Kitchen Renovation – 2020
I need a contractor, but I’m unsure how to go about finding a good and trustworthy one.

I actually just went through this same search as I was figuring out how we would rebuild our basement. Our go-to contractor is all booked up, so I started at square one. I think a referral from someone you know is always the best idea. I asked friends, family, and neighbors as I was compiling options for our basement. Then, figure out your priorities. Is it price? Availability? Communication? If I call someone and they don’t get back to me within a day or two, I know that we’re likely not a great match. I want someone who will be in constant communication with me throughout a project, so we are always on the same page. Once you have some contractor options, read this blog post that outlines some of the best questions to ask to narrow down the best fit for your needs.

I’ve also had some success with the website Thumbtack for small jobs like installing a sconce or doing a small plumbing job. So that is always a good place to check out if you need more options!

Submit Your Questions

Have a question you want to be answered? Use the google form below and I’ll answer it in the next Ask Casey post.


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.