Ask Us Anything No. 2

In February, we started a new series called, “Ask Us Anything!”  We certainly get lots of design-related questions, and we’re trying our best to answer those in our Reader SOS blog post series. But we still get tons of questions about things outside of the DIY/design field. That’s when the idea for our “Ask Us Anything!” series began.

You can check out our first Ask Us Anything: Blogging Edition right here.

Ask Us Anything!

During our birthday week, you guys submitted some AWESOME questions for today’s post. We loved reading all of your questions and can’t wait to tackle each and every one of them. Today we’re going to answer a good chunk, but if your question isn’t answered we will try to include it in next month’s post.

You Ask, We Answer

So let’s get right to the goods…

What are your favorite champagnes?Holiday prep can be stressful

We’re guessing this question is definitely for Casey since her nickname is, “Champagne Casey!” and champs is her drink of choice. Heck, she even has a champagne bell in her guest room!

When it comes to champs, I love drinking prosecco. I’m not a rose girl at all and really can’t do sweet wines in any capacity. We buy Korbel, Mionetto, and La Marca from the grocery store because they’re all affordable and nice and dry. I’ll also get mini bottles of prosecco at Costco (they don’t always have them, so you gotta look hard!), that way if I can only have a glass and don’t have to open an entire bottle.  If we’re celebrating something big, we go a bit fancier and splurge on a bottle of Veuve (my favorite!).

But, by far, the most important part of my champagne drinking is our champagne stopper. Champagne can go bad quickly, but this stopper helps keep a bottle for a few extra days!

I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and noticed Casey only wears what appears to be an engagement ring. Is there a specific reason you don’t wear a wedding band?

Casey: I do wear a wedding band, but I just wear it on my other hand. So my engagement ring is on my left hand and my wedding band is on my right. I have fat fingers and always thought combining them would make my fingers look even chunkier! I like the way they’re spread out on 2 hands, but do get asked often if I’m engaged! 

It’s funny because Bridget is the one who actually doesn’t have a wedding band at all. I’ll let her explain…

Bridget: Casey is right, I just wear (and have!) an engagement ring. I’m not really a ring person and never wore one until I got engaged. At that time, the engagement ring was plenty and I didn’t feel like I needed a wedding band too. Now this one ring serves as both my engagement ring and my wedding band.  And if you notice, I didn’t go with a traditional diamond for my ring. I wanted to be different and this one felt a lot more “me”. 5 years later, I still love it!

Do you guys like any TV shows? (maybe the better question, do you even have time to watch TV?? ha!)

Casey: Finn and I love winding down at night watching a show or 2 and we have lots of favorites. Scandal, Modern Family, Blackish, and The Goldbergs are a few we watch together. I’m also a big series binger, especially lately as I’ve been laid up in bed from fertility treatments. In the past 6 months, I’ve binged Younger, Drop Dead Diva, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Drama, action, comedy…we watch just about everything in this household!

Bridget: I actually don’t watch a lot of TV. I do watch This is Us and the Bachelor but other than that, I stick to the news. I’m a huge news junkie and have LOVED getting the chance to watch the TODAY show each morning now that I’m on maternity leave. This used to be something I could only watch on the weekends because I used to leave so early for work and now I feel so spoiled to tune in more often. Oh, and Matt and I also love to watch a good Dateline mystery on Friday or Saturday nights!

Do you have any simple DIY décor ideas for hosting dinner parties or family/friend gatherings? And along those lines, do you have any favorite hosting pieces (platters, napkins, etc)?

Absolutely love this question! While we both suck in the kitchen (understatement of the year!), we love to entertain. We usually opt for store-bought food and then spend extra time making everything look pretty and personal (this post has tips on how to throw a wine night!). 

Our favorite entertaining staple is a large charcuterie board featuring 3-4 different kinds of cheeses, meats, grapes, olives, crackers, and nuts. It’s so easy to throw together and makes a big impact. You can use a large wooden cutting board like this one that Casey has. White appetizer plates are also a staple when it comes to entertaining. Casey uses these ones!

Bridget, are you taking the rest of the school year off from teaching?

Almost! Baby Ben’s timing was pretty perfect because my maternity leave allows me to be off right up until the end of May. I’ll have to go back for about a week (for finals and senior farewells!), but then I’ll be off again all summer long. Matt will also be off and we cannot wait to spend the summer together as a party of 3. But after summer, Matt and I will both be headed back to work full-time.

How long have you two been friends / how did you meet? 

Turnabout Dance, 2006

Bridget and I both grew up in the same town but didn’t attend the same school until high school. We were both in sports, so we’d often play against one another in soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. but it wasn’t until high school that we really got to know one another. In a school of about 4,000 students, our lockers were right next to one another because our maiden names both started with “O”!

High School Graduation, 2006

We became friends throughout high school, but it wasn’t until about junior year that we really became close running for class office together. We made posters, puffy painted t-shirts, and used the slogan “O’ O’ it’s magic” (as a nod to our similar last names)! It was that love for crafting and being creative that really made us best friends. We then spent senior year scrapbooking together one night a week (we sound really cool right about now…), and even got to sit next to each other at graduation!

Have you hired anyone outside of the two of you and your husbands to help with the blog?

We run all of the main tasks for the blog, and Casey’s husband Finn does all of our finances and handles the money side of things. So on an everyday basis, it’s just the 3 of us running things for the blog. However, we do have a team that manages our website and hosting, we use a company for all of our ads, and we recently hired a team to revamp our website’s SEO. We also have a go-to gal for graphic design work (our gift guide and media kit). We would love to take on an intern or even a part-time employee someday, but for now, it’s just our small team!

Were you both (and your husbands) always handy and comfortable with DIY or was it a challenge you took on before you started the blog? 

We had zero DIY skills before we started the blog 5 years ago. And when we say zero we mean it…we had never picked up a drill, Bridget had never painted anything, and neither of us knew what the hell a miter saw was. Fast forward to now, and we’re both more comfortable with tools, but we still have a lot to learn! Our husbands are not handy (self-admittedly!) and it’s often just the 2 of us tackling projects around our homes.

Bridget’s dad is a painter by trade and he is pretty handy, so we have learned a lot from him over the years. We also just learn as we go on a project-by-project basis. For example, before we installed the wood wall in Casey’s guest room we had never done a large-scale woodworking project. So we researched, read other blog posts, and watched lots of youtube tutorials to figure out how to do it! Since then we’ve tackled lots of woodworking projects, and we get better every time because of practice. Casey is starting a bathroom renovation in the next month or so and this will be the first real bathroom renovation we’ve ever tackled! So we will figure it out as we go and then we’ll feel more confident for the next bathroom we take on.

Our advice if you’re new to DIY? Just start! The only way to learn is to do it!

Submit Questions for Next Month’s Post!

Thank you so much for submitting such awesome questions for our Ask us Anything Series. We will tackle more next month, so feel free to comment with any questions you want us to answer!


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.