Ask Casey No. 13

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. 13

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.

Our Home’s ExteriorHow to install a flag pole into brick

Would you ever consider painting the outside of your house?

Yes and no. The exterior of our home is made up of a lot of materials because this house has had so many additions over its 100-year lifetime. The red brick on the front of the home is Chicago red brick that is not made any more. It’s from the 1920s. It’s historic and there is no way we could paint that. Side windows in the living roomHowever, we have two other kinds of brick on the sides and back of our home that are different colors and don’t look great. Maybe someday we would paint all of the brick on the side and back of the home to match. I’m not even sure what color, but it would be nice to have it all be the same.  Our deck makeover - progress

We also have a tan siding on the entire second floor.  Again, that was another addition that was put on in the 90’s. I would definitely be open to painting that. So, in short, the red brick stays, but everything else I would definitely change. It’s just not a priority project right now.

Go-To LuggageAsk Casey No. 13 what's your go-to luggage?

Do you and Finn have “adult” luggage? I think it’s time for me to invest in something I can carry abroad and into hotels without feeling like I’m on college spring break.

Yes, we have Away luggage and definitely recommend it! We bought these medium Away pieces for our trip to Italy four years ago and love them so much because they’re super lightweight. We then ended up getting the carry-on pieces for quick trips. These pieces are pretty much all we use and they’re great.

Twenty-Something Advice


Ask Casey No. 13
At my bachelorette party in 2014

What advice would you give to yourself in your early 20s/just out of college?

I think I would urge myself to say “Yes” a bit more. When I was graduating from college, I was really eager to grow up and “start life”. I was excited to move and start working. Looking back, I had so much extra time to do fun things, but I wouldn’t always participate. I would tell any young twenty-something to say “Yes” to the last-minute happy hour, “Yes” to the birthday brunch, “Yes” to the weekend trip with friends. Now, it’s a lot harder to do something fun and spontaneous and I wish I would have let loose a bit more back then.

Childcare PlansOur childcare plans

What is your childcare plan now that you’ll have another little one?

We’ve spent the last few months trying to figure out the best game plan for our family. Right now, my mom watches Rory three days a week, while I work, and the other two days I’m with Rory and sneak in work during nap time. (You can find more details in my day in the life post here.) With a newborn in the mix, it’s going to be a tad different!

For the first three months, we’re planning all hands on deck. Finn will take some paternity leave, I’ll be on maternity leave from the blog, and my mom is going to help out as much as possible. Come January, we want to have a bit more structure in place. We’re planning to have Rory start daycare three days a week while my mom watches the baby and we’re gonna see how that goes! It’s hard to know what life will be like, so we’re just going to reassess as we go. We’re so grateful to have my mom’s help and family nearby. It really takes a village and we are lucky to have our support system.

Tipping EtiquetteOur kitchen during renovation

Do you tip the workers for big projects? What about your weekly cleaners?

We always like to tip when we know workers are going above and beyond. Our go-to contractor and his crew always start early and work late and generally put their all into every project they do for us. We like to keep them happy with coffee, donuts, and treats throughout the course of the project and then at the end, we’ll tip each worker. The amount depends on the scope of the project. For example, with our kitchen project, which was a big one, with six weeks of constant work,  we tipped each worker about $200. How much to tip cleaners?

As for our cleaner who comes every other week (we use Val’s Services), I never knew the proper etiquette for this. Do you tip every time? Just once at the end of the year? I asked for your advice on Instagram stories and most people said that they pay their weekly cleaning fee and then tip big at the holidays – usually the same amount as the weekly cleaning fee. After hearing that, that’s now my tipping plan moving forward!

Final Prep for a BabyNursery source list

Anything you wished you had done leading up to Rory’s arrival? I’m a first-time mom and 36 weeks along!

Well, for Rory I went into labor at 35 weeks 4 days, so I didn’t have those final weeks to do any last-minute nesting. We were lucky that we had juuuust finished the nursery and had most of the big things ready for our girl. This time around, I’m finishing up all the big stuff as soon as I can so I can spend those last four to six weeks relaxing as much as possible. I want to make sure I get in plenty of one-on-one time with Rory and spend some time alone to get a manicure, get my hair done, etc. I hate it when people say, “Sleep now before the baby comes,” because how can you bank sleep?  But I will plan to rest and relax as much as possible, which isn’t easy when you’re super pregnant. What I learned the first time around is that you don’t have to have everything “ready” for the baby. You can always get items you need when the baby arrives. We ended up overnighting a bunch of preemie clothes for Rory because we didn’t have one lick of clothing that fit her! So you just figure it out as you go!

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.