Ask Casey No. 9

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. 9

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.

House Huntingwe bought a house

We are looking into buying our first home. What were the “red flags” or “good bones” that you were looking for when you found your home?

Buying a home can be a daunting process. It’s a big purchase! We were specifically in search of a home that we could fix up and make our own so we avoided looking at any house flips or new construction. There are so many things you can change about a home, but you can’t change the location, so that was a big one for us. We wanted to stay in the city of Chicago and be near the train, so Finn could easily get to work – but now his commute is 30 seconds down to the basement, ha!

When we were house hunting, I actually wrote a blog post all about the red flags we were seeing when looking at homes. You can read it all here, but in short, we avoided homes that had severe moisture and foundation problems. We also weren’t interested in homes that had basements with ceilings that were way too short (many are under 6 foot!) or homes that were inches away from another home – meaning we would lose natural light on the side of the house. Basically, things that would be suuuuper difficult to change (and lots of features that are common here in Chicago).

If you are looking at homes that you need to renovate, I highly recommend bringing a contractor along when you find one you like. We brought our contractor, Patrik, to our home to ensure that we could move walls, easily change out the floors, etc. and he was also able to give us a rough estimate for the work. This was helpful as we determined our budget when we were house shopping.

As for good bones, I’m all about that natural light and tall ceilings. I was really drawn to homes that had those features and  I looked past outdated kitchens and bathrooms!

Dinner with a NewbornFinn resting with baby Rory

When Rory was a newborn, how did you and Finn eat dinner? The food gets cold because the baby always wakes up the second we sit down for a meal.

Ha! We were the exact same way those first couple of months. We would finally sit down for dinner and then she would start crying! I think we just kinda ate on the go for a while and rarely had meals together. We just shoved anything down that would fuel us to keep going! At around three months, when Rory was on a better schedule and sleeping through the night, we were finally able to get back to having dinners together. In fact, we even bought Home Chef for a few months (it’s on pause now because of our lack of a kitchen) and we would have the ingredients for two meals delivered weekly. This was great because we didn’t have to do as much grocery shopping (COVID problems) or meal planning (no time with a newborn). Typically, I would give Rory her last feeding and put her down for the night and Finn would make dinner. So when Rory was finally asleep we could sit down and have dinner together. I’m looking forward to getting back to that once we have a functioning kitchen!

Motherhood SurprisesSeptember 2020 with Rory

What is the thing you enjoy most about motherhood that has surprised you?

I have a Type-A personality and my days are dominated by my neverending to-do lists. However, having Rory has forced me to slow down and I’m actually pretty grateful for that. I have my mommy days on Tuesday and Thursday and I try to keep my to-do list suuuper light on those days. That way, if I sneak in a bit of work over nap time, it’s just extra credit. I’m surprised by how much I love those slower days. We play music, sing, dance, go on long walks, and just have so much fun together. Rory is making me a better person and I love her for that.

Let’s Get Organized

Organizing shirts and shoes

What is your organization philosophy (i.e. Marie Kondo, The Home Edit, etc.)

I like both Marie Kondo and The Home Edit. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post about the Marie Kondo folding technique! But I wouldn’t necessarily say that I follow their philosophies to a T. Instead, both Finn and I are pretty ruthless when it comes to purging. I think the best way to organize is to have less stuff to begin with. We always have a bag for giveaway in our car and we fill it up until it’s stuffed and then do a run to The Salvation Army. We’ll also do big purges every few months. Items don’t stick around in this house for long unless we truly love and use them.

I also think it’s great to have cute containers and labels, but that’s not necessarily realistic for everyone. And while I would love for all of my closets to look like The Home Edit, I think it can be pretty wasteful to go buy tons of containers to organize things. For the most part, you can make do with the baskets and bins you already own. Although I’m really looking forward to organizing our kitchen and pantry and I want to do it up!

The Four-Month Sleep RegressionRory in her sleep sack

How was Rory’s four-month sleep regression? I know you were worried about it.

I mentioned that I was really nervous about Rory’s four-month sleep regression on Instagram and heard from some moms who said it was no big deal for their babies and others who said it was horrible. Luckily, Rory’s wasn’t terrible! For about a week or two, she would wake up every few hours, munch on her hands, kick up her legs, and then go back to sleep. We never went in her nursery or fed her when that happened and she got over it pretty quickly. But I will say that she is on the move at night these days! We put her in the crib with her head facing the door and all night long she will spin a little every few hours until her head is on the other end. It cracks us up, but she doesn’t seem to mind. She has also had a few mornings of waking up pretty early (around 5am when her normal time is 7am), but she will often just look around, make a few noises, and eventually fall back asleep. The girl likes routine – just like her mom and dad – so she loves her sleep schedule.

Work From Home LifeFinn's basement office space

How has it been with both you and Finn working from home?

I feel like it’s tough to answer this question right now because not only are we both working from home, but we have a new baby, and we’re trying to make it through a kitchen renovation. So right now, things are a tad stressful with a house full of chaos and noise! But if we take the kitchen renovation out of the equation, it’s actually really nice! I love working from home and working for myself because it gives me the freedom to make my own schedule and work when I can. I can’t speak for Finn, but I do know that he is over the moon to be home with Rory so much. We always talk about what it would be like if he hadn’t been here these past six months, and it’s hard to imagine. He hasn’t missed a single bath or bedtime. If he was going into the office like he used to, he would only get to see her for a tiny bit each day. 2020 has been a wild year, but we are grateful for the family time. I’m not sure when he will ever go back to the office, so we are enjoying this time at home while we still have it!

The Future of Bloggingcasey working full-time on the blog

Do you think blogs are dead?

Definitely not. In fact, the last quarter was my most successful quarter of blogging, ever! And I have been blogging for almost eight years! I had more page views than I’ve ever had, so my analytics show me that blogging is not dead. I think being an “Instagrammer” is definitely a thing these days, but for me, my blog will always be my baby. It’s the hub of all of my content. I think it’s awesome to have a big following on Instagram, however, I always think that if your account is hacked or if Instagram is no longer cool, you’re out of a job. Not to mention, the blog posts I write, the sources I share, and the tutorials I explain are always readily available right here on my website.

At the end of the day, everyone Googles things constantly. Whether it’s “chicken pot pie recipe”, “the best fall skirts”, or “tips for tiling” and you’re most likely going to be directed to a blog post where someone has spent time and energy creating content to answer your question. I don’t see that behavior changing anytime soon!

Pre-COVID LifeGoing out to dinner

What do you miss from pre-COVID times?

This is a hard question because I equate COVID life with parent life. We started quarantining mid-March and I had Rory a few weeks later, so this new pandemic life is also wrapped up in having a baby! Rory has never known any other world but the one we live in filled with masks, limited outings, and only seeing select people.

I obviously miss the social aspect of life pre-COVID. While I wasn’t hitting the town on a regular basis, I loved that I could see people and not feel weird about it. I also miss Finn’s family who lives in Houston and I wish they could hop on a plane to be here with us. I’d say I also miss regular stuff like going to get my nails done. I used to get manicures at least every month and I haven’t had my nails done since February for our babymoon to Palm Springs!

However, I can’t complain. We’re safe, we’re together, and maybe quarantine life will teach me how to paint my own nails. Maybe.

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 married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.