Ask Casey No. 10

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 No. 10

Ask Casey No. 3

Here are a few past posts if you want to catch up…

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.

Forever HomeAsk Casey No. 10 - how to know if it's a forever home

How did you know your home was a good starter home vs. a forever home?

I’m really not a fan of the term “forever home”. I just think that you never know what life will bring you, so why settle on the thought that this is the one place you will live for the rest of your life? 2020 definitely taught me that you just don’t know what life will bring! Not to mention, many people wrongly assume that if it isn’t your “forever home” then it’s not worth renovating or spending time to make it exactly what you want. I think our home could certainly be a “forever home”. It’s large enough; it’s in a great neighborhood; we have plenty of space for our family of three; and we’re working to put our stamp on every single room. But because of the nature of our business, I doubt we would want to finish this home and be done with home improvement projects forever. We find too much joy in bringing old homes back to life!

Our plan is to fix up this home, completely, and enjoy our time here. We don’t have a set date when we want to move out or anything. I could definitely see us getting another property someday as a vacation home and to rent out when we’re not using it. Or maybe we would do a house flip somewhere. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and see where life takes us!

My Workout RoutineMaking a fitness plan

How do you fit in exercise and what do you do?

Finding time to workout can definitely be a struggle, especially now that we’re all home and Rory is in the mix! Pre-pandemic and pre-baby, my favorite way to workout was to join group fitness classes. I was a dancer my entire life, so I was always used to exercising in a group and a studio. I have done a lot of strength classes, yoga, and dance classes throughout adulthood. Signing up for a class and paying for it, forced me to put it on my schedule and actually go. Once it was written on my calendar, it was like any other appointment for me.

Now, it’s a different ball game! I have to motivate myself to work out and it isn’t always easy. After having Rory, I was really excited to get back to working my body and sweating. I started running a few days a week over the summer and into the fall. I was so slow – it looked more like a shuffle than a run – but it felt good to sweat, get outside, and move my body. Plus, it only took 20-30 minutes, so it was easy to sneak in a run in the morning or over a nap time. Now that it’s winter, I get nervous about ice, so I haven’t been running much. However, I did sign up for this “Ladies Who Lift” program at the beginning of the year and it has been fantastic. I hadn’t done intense strength training in a while and it hurts so good. (There have been many weeks when it’s hard to walk up the stairs because my quads and butt hurt so much!) I highly recommend the home-based “Dabbler” program. You can use the code CASEY1 if you want $5 off the upcoming April program.

I add these workouts to my calendar and fit them in on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Rory’s afternoon nap, plus on the weekends. I’ll occasionally try to fit in a workout after Rory goes to bed, but I find that it’s hard to motivate myself at the end of a long day. Usually, all I want to do is lay on the couch or read a book and go to bed!

Rory’s 10 Month ScheduleRory's schedule

What does Rory’s schedule look like?

Rory turned 10 months in February (say what?!) and we’ve had a pretty firm schedule since she was about eight weeks old. Granted, it has changed a lot over that time period as she dropped naps, dropped feedings, etc., but we’ve always kept a consistent routine around here and I think Rory likes the consistency. Right now, we’re at four formula feedings a day, three meals, and two naps. Here’s a typical day…

  • 7:00 am – Wake up & bottle
  • 8:00 am – Breakfast
  • 9:30 am – Nap #1
  • 11:00 am – Wake up & bottle
  • 12:00 am – Lunch
  • 1:30 pm – Nap #2
  • 3:30 pm – Wake up & bottle
  • 5:30 pm – Dinner
  • 6:00 pm – Bath
  • 6:30 pm – Bottle
  • 7:00 pm – Bedtime

Rory loves having a routine, just like her mama. If it’s nearing her nap time, the girl can barely keep her eyes open and rubs them like crazy, which is the worst when she is eating and gets food all over her eyes! We’ll plan to drop to one nap a day sometime after 15 months, so we’ll see how that goes. Right now, I’m a fan of two big naps!

I’m actually sharing my mom day in the life on the blog next week, so I’ll have a lot more about Rory’s schedule in that blog post.

College Studies & First Job

With Finn at a Notre Dame game
Notre Dame Game – 2006

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you study in school? How did you get your first job?

 If you ask my mom, she says when I was really little I always said I wanted to be an actress. Maybe that was because I was a dancer and liked being on-stage…who knows?! But I’d say around junior high school, I decided I wanted to be a news anchor. I suppose it provided the “glamour” of being an actress combined with my school interests – writing, reading, etc.  I was a very studious kid and my goal was to get into a top college with a good journalism program. I considered Boston College, USC, and Notre Dame and ended up going to Notre Dame. Notre Dame didn’t have a journalism major, just a minor, so I majored in Film, Television, & Theatre. I learned a lot of production skills in college, like shooting, editing and storytelling, that I actually still use to this day!

News Reporter – 2010

While it’s always a bonus to go to a good college, getting a job in TV is more about experience than anything else. I ended up doing four TV internships during college that taught me way more than I ever learned in school. During my internships, I would beg the photographers to let me shoot some stories on the side that I could use for my “reporter reel”. (That’s what you need to send to TV stations to get a job.) Throughout college, I was able to build up my on-camera reel. I sent about 50 reels all across the country during my senior year of college and ended up landing a reporter job in a small town in Wisconsin. (I still remember sitting on my bed, working on all of these huge envelopes with my DVD, resume, and cover letters.) I started working immediately after graduation. It was scary, but also incredibly exciting! Also, I have like zero photos from that time (back before iPhones were a thing!), so the only pic I could find was this headshot and you can see that I was much blonder back then!

Photography Skills

Ask Casey No. 10

How did you learn photography?

Surprisingly, I didn’t study photography in school, although you’d think with a Film & TV major you would! So, I’ve learned my skills on my own, because of the blog. I bought a DSLR camera in 2013 to learn how to shoot photos for the blog and I’ve been practicing every day since. I took this course many years ago to learn how to shoot in manual and it was a great starter for me. However, I’d say the best way to learn is to shoot constantly. I look back on some of those early blog photos and cringe, but it’s cool to see how far I’ve come. I’m in no way a professional and I’m always learning new tricks! You can find all of my photography equipment here and this blog post has my best photography tips.

Blogging Full-TimeAsk Casey No. 3

How did you know the time was right to blog full-time?

Okay, let me preface this by saying that I didn’t start a blog to make money. I didn’t even know that was a thing and I certainly didn’t think it could be a career! The DIY Playbook started in 2013 as a creative outlet from my job as a TV producer. I worked my regular 40 hour work week and blogged an additional 30+ hours at night and on the weekends because I loved it so much. I loved doing projects; I loved sharing them; and I loved building this community. If you want more info on the business of blogging, this tab on the site has tons of posts. 

As the years went on, the blog continued to grow and become more profitable. I was essentially working two full-time jobs and I daydreamed of a time when I could work on the blog full-time. I talked it over with Finn, and my blogging partner at the time, Bridget, and we set some goals for the business. We decided that once we were making x amount of dollars, it would make sense to blog full-time. I finally worked up the nerve to quit my corporate job in the fall of 2017 and I’ve been blogging full-time ever since. Once I could focus 100% of my time on The DIY Playbook, we were able to grow it even more and I didn’t have to say “no” to many projects that excited me because I didn’t have the time to complete them. It was the best decision for the business and the best decision for me!

I think if you’re considering a career move to work for yourself, I would advise starting your hustle on the side and doing both for as long as it makes sense. You, of course, want to make sure that you love the work  – so much so that you’ll give up your nights and weekends – but it’s also important to make sure you’re financially stable and ready. I didn’t want to be stressed about paying the bills, so that’s why I worked both jobs until the Playbook was much more profitable than my day job. If you’re interested in learning more about the business of blogging, check out this blog post.

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.

your home playbook sidebar