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One place you should visit: the most darling PNW beach town

Last week was our Spring Break. The first half of the week was spent at home; the second half was enjoyed at the most charming town on the Washington Coast called Seabrook.

We spent last year’s spring break in this cute town (read about that trip here). The town was modeled after my favorite place of all – Seaside, Florida, which we visited last year on our road trip (read about that here). The community is darling and idyllic with walking paths and sweeping Pacific Ocean views and community parks, shops and cafes.

This year, we stayed in a big coastal home in town that we shared with our good friends and four of their five kids.

When we were booking our house, Rae and I were super picky about the inside being cute :) We succeeded in picking a very nicely appointed home that was conveniently located and was more than big enough for our two families (the house is called Down the Hatch, if you’re looking for a rental).

We made ourselves right at home and so enjoyed a few days of quality catch-up time with our friends.

Also, how cute is this bathroom?

We’ve had such a wet and rainy spring so far … but we had a gorgeous sunny day on Friday, which we fully embraced with time at the pool, a stop at the ice cream shop and early evening beach-time. And yes, while sunny, do keep in mind that it was only 59* out! Our PNW children are so crazy with their shorts and swim suits and all the adults were layered in sweaters and jackets.

The other days were rainy, rainy, rainy, but we didn’t let that stop us. We swam (thank goodness for an indoor pool), played lots of Settlers of Catan, Stratego and Hand + Foot, watched a few movies and ate a lot of food.

And, of course, I couldn’t help myself from taking photos of the gorgeous homes as we walked to and from the pool or the coffee shop.

We packed up yesterday to return to reality, but before we drove home, we lingered at the pizza place.

It was so fun traveling with Rae – she takes pictures of kids and life (like the ones above) and I take pictures of empty spaces with pretty, inspiring decor. We’re a good pair.

You can (and should!) follow Rae on instagram here and her blog here. And I’m on instagram here.

Another thing you should do: visit Seabrook.

Sorry for being so bossy. I’ll stop telling you what to do now.

Overall, it was a very successful spring break. We’re refreshed and ready to finish out the school year!

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A new iphone wallet case and why I’ll never go back

One year ago (almost to the day) I posted about the iPhone case that changed my life.

The phrase ‘changed my life’ sounds a little intense for something as insignificant as a phone case, and it probably is. But I’m happy to report that using a wallet phone case truly has simplified my daily routine.

The first case held up great for over a year. It was starting to crack a little (perhaps because I drop it often?!) and instead of ordering the same one as last time, I went with something new.

Introducing, my new iPhone wallet case:

I just received it in the mail yesterday and popped it straight away onto my phone. It’s nothing fancy and cost only $15, but it totally makes me happy.

The gray canvas. The leather detailing. The slim profile. It’s a good one.

I shared a photo on Instagram and there were a bunch of questions in the comments so I thought I would talk about this little life-changer on the blog today.

Can you still talk on the phone?

The quick answer is yes. You just flip open and fold back the cover and it works great. It is a bit more cumbersome than if you didn’t have the case on but as all my people will attest to, I am not a phone talker, so it really isn’t an issue for me.

Is it hard to take photos with the case on?

Not at all.

Here I am in the Redwood Forest taking a picture with the old case on:

I’m a two-handed photo taker anyway, so I hold the phone with my left hand and snap the picture with my right. The case doesn’t get in the way at all.

What do you keep in the case?

One of the biggest reasons I’m sold on this type of phone case is how convenient it is to have my most essential cards with me all the time.

The wallet portion has three pockets and I keep 5 cards in them: my driver’s license, Costco card, Target Red card, personal credit card and business credit card. In the little pocket behind the cards I keep my insurance card and maybe a few dollars. It could probably fit more, but the case starts to get a bit bulky and doesn’t close all the way with much else in there.

Someone on instagram wondered if I worried about leaving my phone somewhere and losing all the cards inside. I guess that is always a concern, but I’m pretty trained to keep my wallet/phone combo nearby pretty much everywhere I go.

How has this phone case simplified your days?

I talked a bit about the reasoning for switching to a wallet case in the first phone case post (you can read that in full here) but I’ll recap and update here.

First, since switching to a wallet case, I rarely carry a big catch-all bag. Having just the essentials in my phone works for at least 80% of my daily errands and outings. When I drop the kids off at school all I need are my keys and phone. When I hit the grocery store it’s just my keys and phone (and maybe a list). Post office, dry cleaner, hardware store, gas station. You get the picture.

When I had babies, I needed to carry a bag with all the things in it but I would still imagine that having a wallet case would make getting out of the house just a touch easier since it is only one thing to remember rather than a wallet and a phone.

Here’s another random reason I love a wallet case: I tend to do a lot of our shopping online and it is just the worst when you’re all cozy on the couch and in order to checkout you have to get up to go find your purse for your credit card number. As long as I have my phone with me (which I pretty much always do), I can just grab the card I need without having to move a lazy muscle.

Limiting the number of cards I can carry also keeps things streamlined. I used to carry a big stack of random cards – debit, punch cards, gift cards, membership cards – and they totally weighed down my wallet. Now, I just carry the cards I regularly need and use. I have the extras in my real wallet in a bag and will bring it with me when I know I’m headed somewhere where I might need one.

I used to leave my Target card in my real wallet and it helped me avoid stopping in (and spending way too much money). We now live far enough away from a Target that it doesn’t have the same effect on me, so I can keep the card in my phone without much risk. If you have a card that you need to limit yourself from using, leave it at home and it is much less convenient to use it.

Maybe the best reason of all? I only have to remember to grab one thing when I leave the house. Super simple.

What’s the biggest downfall?

This wasn’t a question anyone asked, but I wanted to talk about it anyway :)

The only thing I don’t love about a wallet case is that it doesn’t really fit in my back pocket. This probably has more to do with the size of my phone, but it is just something to consider. I typically carry it in my hand or put it in a coat pocket and it is fine. But sometimes I miss the ease of the back pocket.


Whew. That was a lot of words about a phone case. Clearly, I’m into it.

So let’s chat … are you a non-case, a regular case or wallet case type of person?

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Book Crush: 5 Books I just purchased and can’t wait to read

It seems I’ve been on a book-buying spree lately. These five were just delivered within the past two weeks and I can’t wait to crack each one open and pore over the pages.

These books are not my typical choices. I almost always read novels, and usually lean toward historical fiction. Because of our move and the many house projects that have kept us busy, I have read much less than I prefer these past few months. I’ll get back to it, I’m sure.

For now, I grabbed these five books that are slightly outside my regular genre, but each charming and intriguing in their own way. I’ll talk you through the choices.

YOU ARE FREE by Rebekah Lyons

I recently listened to two podcasts with Rebekah (with Annie Downs and Jamie Ivey) and completely connected with her message. This is a personal journey she has walked through moving from a place of people-pleasing, achievement-reaching, acceptance-seeking to true freedom. I’m excited to read the message and it sure is a pretty cover.

HOW’S YOUR SOUL by Judah Smith

My friend Rae casually mentioned this book in a recent blog post and threw in something nonchalant like “this book is completely changing my world“.  Those words piqued my interest :)

Judah Smith pastors a church here in the Seattle area and has written a few best-sellers. This new book speaks to where I’m at and I look forward to digging in.

Judah Smith pastors a church here in the Seattle area and has written a few best-sellers. I’m absolutely on a journey of taking a deep look at my soul, healing and growing and I’m pretty sure this one will speak to where I’m at.

LIVING WITH PATTERN by Rebecca Atwood

This is not a new book (it was released in August 2016), but that cover just kept catching my eye and so I finally added it to my small collection of coffee table/design books.

Rebecca Atwood is a textile designer with an incredible eye for mixing patterns in interiors. The photos are great and there are how-to’s peppered in for mixing patterns in our own homes.

CUT FLOWER GARDEN by Erin Benzakein of Floret Farm

Oh, this book makes me insanely happy. I have such a thing for flowers and dream of having a cutting garden. This book is my first step in that direction and I could not be more impressed with what’s inside.

There are tips for growing, cutting, arranging all broken up by season. Since Erin and her family’s flower garden is in our area, I’m especially excited to learn all I can from her and maybe someday I’ll have flowers to cut from my yard.

P.S. Be sure to follow Floret Farms on Instagram. You’ll be so happy every time a post of flowers pops up on your feed.

OLD HOME LOVE by Andy + Candis Meredith

Have you seen this adorable couple’s renovation show? They are so charming and the homes they restore are so good. The book is full of old, gorgeous homes with so much character and detail.

Again, this one has a great cover that will look great left out on the coffee table or stacked up on a shelf. I appreciate a dual-purpose book. And, Andy + Candis have a great Instagram feed that’s a must-follow.


So there you go. The five books I can’t wait to read.

Do you have any of these? Or is there a new book you’re dying to read? Do tell …

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The six things I bought at IKEA (and one thing I wish I bought)

As I mentioned earlier this week, my friend and I ‘popped’ into IKEA last Saturday to grab a few things. It happened to be the grand opening weekend of the brand new massive store and it was literally busier than Disneyland. So many people.

On less busy days, I like to take my time and look around, pushing those wonky carts and snacking on the ikea animal crackers as we shop. But on this particular shopping trip, I had a short list of specific items I needed and was able to skip the showroom section and just cruise my way through the marketplace and warehouse.

I say that I have a love-hate relationship with IKEA, but actually, I mostly love it. Not all of it, mind you. Maybe 90% of the products are not for me, but those leftover 10% are pretty great.

Someone asked on instagram if I would share what I bought and I like that game (don’t you think it is interesting to see what people put into their carts?!), so I’m here to play. These are the six things I bought last week at IKEA (and one that I wish I bought).

LACK WALL SHELF | I grabbed four of these for the studio. They are very minimal and slightly modern, which is just what I wanted for above the desk. Ryan helped me install the first one and I did the other three by myself!

RIBBA FRAME | If you remember the design plan for the third floor hangout space, I bought two National Park posters for the wall and needed an inexpensive framing option. We have a million of these frames (see them in our old house here), just not in this color and size. You can’t beat the price and quality is just fine.

ZAMIOCULCAS PLANT | You guys, I’m getting out of control over here with my love of plants. I spent yesterday morning pruning, repotting, inspecting, delighting in my growing assortment of greenery. Is it just me getting older? Is it the fact that I’m no longer spending my every effort growing toddlers that now I can direct that care to plants? I don’t know, but I kinda like it.

FYI: a ZZ plant is super hardy and easy to grow in spaces with little direct sunlight but it is poisonous to children and pets.

RENS SHEEPSKIN | These sheepskins not only add a terrific texture to a bench, chair, bed or floor, but they feel amazing. I have one that sits on a cute tufted ottoman in the living room and another draped over my office chair. I love how it looks and feels so much, I added a second one to the matching chair.

KOLDBY COWHIDE | I laughed when I looked at my cart and saw sheepskin and cowhide. Apparently I have a thing for farm animals. The cowhide was for Ryan’s office, but I put it up in the studio to try it out and liked it so much I think I’ll steal it from him.

VITTSJO SHELF | Speaking of stealing … when we redid Ryan’s office last week, we borrowed furniture from around the house and this shelf was one of those things. It used to function as an etagere in the guest bathroom in our last house. When we moved in to the new house, we stuck it in the kitchen. And now it is in Ryan’s office with a second one flanking his desk (photos to come of his space soon). This shelf is super inexpensive, clean-lined and multi-purpose.

Great choices, if I do say so myself :)

What I missed out on buying but really wish I hadn’t is this great planter I never even saw it in the store (that’s the trouble with going quickly) but came across it this week online and have made a mental note to pick one up next time I’m there.

So that’s what came home with me from IKEA.

I’d love to know … do you have a favorite item from IKEA?

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New favorites in the JDC Goods house + home shop

Sometimes I think about opening a brick and mortar shop. A big warehousy-type building with soaring ceilings, worn wood floors and white walls. It would highlight cute home goods that I could arrange and rearrange every day, a coffee shop (because shopping is always better with an extra hot latte), fresh flowers and plants and space to host classes and gatherings. I mean, how dreamy does that sound?!

In the meantime, we’re starting with an online house + home shop we call JDC GOODS.

The shop opened just before Christmas last year and has been such a fun experiment in sourcing products, photographing, playing stylist and watching our wonderful customers enjoy their purchases.

My criteria when ordering inventory is pretty simple: if I want it for my house then it makes the cut. Which basically means, I have one of everything we sell in our house.

We just received a handful of new items that I can’t wait to show you:

You know I’m a bit smitten with pillows and throws. I love the simplicity of this navy cotton throw blanket and the extra detail of the pom tassels. The goat fur pillow is weird and wonderful and super soft. And that new enamel box makes a darling planter, but also great for storing first aid supplies, paperwork in the office, cookies – it will find many uses in our house.

It’s likely that you’ve seen this big brass tray in photos on Instagram. It moves from place to place because it’s just so versatile. That pretty blanket is the cream version of the navy one above.

My local market had potted ranunculus for sale and I couldn’t resist. I popped three of them into this great tin planter and it’s an instant Spring-pick-me-up. Bonus: the whole thing is less than the price of a cut bouquet and will last much longer. The mister is brand new to the shop. I use mine all the time for in-between waterings. Did you know that misting cut hydrangea petals will keep them fresh longer? It really works!

For the office, I love the acrylic stapler and tape dispenser. They are so useful and pretty, too! Ribbon has been a long-time love of mine and I wanted to offer my favorite varieties in generous quantities in the shop. This velvet ribbon is so pretty and comes in three colors.

Each of these items are so great for a bathroom. That little Mr + Mrs dish is very inexpensive and makes such a cute gift.

Of course there is so much more great stuff in the shop than shown here. I’m particularly taken with this quirky glass ball display and cement tissue holder (oh my goodness, we go through so much tissue in this house).

Come on over to the shop to take a peek and see what goodies you can add to your house!

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The best indoor plants to bring green into your home

Hang out for long with me and you’ll find I have a deep affection for fresh greenery.

Ferns, trees, herbs, little plants whose names I don’t know – I’m in to all of them.

I would even venture to say a room is not complete without something living and green.

One of the most asked questions about the mini kitchen makeover centered around the vast amount greenery seen.

I’m so glad you all noticed the plants because they really do add so much life to the kitchen.

In answer to the most frequently asked plant-related questions, I’m here today with all of my greenery-loving wisdom.

Are the plants real?

Yes, all of the plants in the kitchen and around the house are living.

There are times when faux plants are just the better (or only) choice – like in a room without natural light, up high on a bookshelf, in unkind climates or in vacation or rental homes where regular care is not available. Otherwise, I always err on the side of real.

Real plants have gorgeous color, texture and movement that faux plants just can’t quite capture. Plus, they grow! And watching the growing process is fascinating and rewarding (I sound like a completely crazy plant lady but I’m okay with it).

How are they cared for and kept alive?

I know one of the biggest issues with bringing in real plants is the challenge with keeping them alive. Are some people better at it than others? Is there really such a thing as a green or black thumb? I’m not sure. But I will say that with regular attention, anyone can keep a plant alive.

At least for a while.

Sometimes, plants die. Sometimes ferns loose their leaves and start to look a little yellow and sparse. Sometimes you don’t catch dry soil fast enough and a little mossy plant dries out. It happens and it’s okay.

I like to think about it like this: if I were to buy a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store, they would only last 5-7 days. So any plant that costs less than $20 and lasts longer than a week in the house feels like win in my book. (I will say, though, that I’ve never killed a plant in 1 week. After a month? Sure. But then some of my $20 ferns are still going after a few years!).

Each plant has its own temperament and needs. Some like direct light, some like indirect. Some like the soil to remain moist, some need it to dry out between waterings. You’ll usually see these caring instructions on the little stick that comes in the plant or you could ask the nursery worker.

Yes, pay attention to those plant idiosyncrasies, but also don’t stress.

I pretty much treat all of my plants the same with one main objective: keep them well-watered.

How often you water depends on the climate and temperature of where you live (I notice the plants dry out much faster in the winter when the heat is on all day). I typically put all of the plants in our sink to fully water once per week. If I notice throughout the week that the leaves look droopy or the soil is dry to the touch, I’ll water again. If I don’t feel like bringing the plant to the sink, I’ll just pop an ice cube or two on top to melt. If it helps you remember, schedule a watering day once per week to build into your routine and keep your plants alive.

Other than watering, I just try to keep dead leaves trimmed.

If you notice that a plant doesn’t look healthy, is losing its color or doesn’t seem to be growing, try moving it to a new spot in the house. In general, anywhere with indirect natural light is a good place for an indoor plant.

What types of plants are best for indoors?

The quick answer is anything that catches your eye in the indoor section of the nursery. If it is housed in the indoor greenhouse, it is likely a good choice for indoors.

I am usually drawn to non-flowering plants in shades of bright green with lots of little leaves.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Boston Ferns (and other similar varieties) are inexpensive, commonly available and low-maintenance. They are usually hanging at the garden center and I just remove the plastic hangers. Expect to pay about $20 for a good-size fern.

Maidenhair Ferns are my very favorite, but they are a bit more temperamental. They dry out very quickly and can’t be revived once the leaves wilt. The little plants are around $5, the larger ones (like the one in the terra cotta pot on the kitchen counter) go for $15.

Baby Tears is a sweet little creeping plant that will fall over the edges of the planter. I pay around $5 for a small one.

Jade is a variety of succulent that requires very little care and has a cool sculptural feel (like the one on our kitchen table). I bought mine six months ago for around $15 and it’s doing great.

Herbs like Rosemary, Basil and Thyme are always good choices especially in the kitchen. Bonus: you can clip right from the plant to use in your cooking.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are very popular and known for their diva-ish needs. Indirect sun, no breeze, 1 cup of water per foot about once per week, no moving to a new spot, more expensive price tag. Even taking these things into consideration, I still love them.

The one in our kitchen was a bush I found at IKEA 3 years ago. It lost all of its leaves and I was about to throw it out, but instead moved it to a bright spot that didn’t get much air flow and it started growing again. You can sometimes find 5′ trees at Home Depot for around $80 or check your local nursery (expect better quality and a higher price – like $150 and up). Check out this post for more on fiddle leaf fig trees.

And, of course, don’t forget clippings and branches from outside. They are free, they bring in that green and add so much life and texture to any space.

I very much encourage you to bring a live plant into your home. Just that little touch of organic green will really make an impact!

Do you have any favorite indoor plants? Or any other questions for this crazy #plantlady? Ask away …

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5 instagram accounts that have me super inspired

From time to time I am asked where I get inspiration from.

Well, nature, is always and forever first.

Second is some weird mix of imagination/creative ability that comes out either when I’m a. in a crunch for time or b. when I’m laying in bed or driving alone in a silent car.

A more tangible answer, though, is INSTAGRAM. It is like a perpetual feast for the eyes.

I follow a random assortment of feeds that breaks down something like this:

70% home decorating/bloggers
10% real life friends + family
10% lettering + fine artists
5% ballet dancers
5% fashion

See? Kind of random.

I’m quick to follow new feeds that peak my visual interest and equally quick to unfollow when the photos no longer inspire. That sounds mean and I don’t mean to, I promise. I just love using instagram as a personal way to indulge my aesthetic-loving eyes and gathering inspiration. Sometimes that changes depending on season, projects I’m working on and trends.

Case in point: A year ago, I was all about clean, white, bright spaces and my instagram feed (both in what I followed and what I posted) reflected that.

Currently, I’m inspired by simple interiors with a mix of white and deep, moody hues. It kind of makes sense because this is the direction we’re taking our new house and so my eye is drawn to other spaces that are doing similar things.

If you look at the most recent images I’ve posted on instagram, you can see the theme.

Lots of deep, saturated grays and blues mixed with white (and lots of greenery because I just can’t stop).

Here are five instagram feeds that are particularly inspiring to me right now and continue to push me to add more color to our house:

@ginny_macdonald

Ginny works with another design-crush Emily Henderson and has this perfect mix of traditional and modern. Her use of blues and natural wood tones is what I’m especially drawn to.

@hammmadefurniture

This sweet family is building a home, painting gorgeous art, building furniture … and I’m pretty sure I like every single photo.

@devolkitchens

The designers behind this company create the most classic, simple, elegant kitchens. I love a white kitchen, but more and more I’m being drawn to not-white ones and deVOL knows how to do them beautifully.

@parkandoakdesign

I don’t recall how I came across this account, but I can tell you that when I did, I spent way too long scrolling through all of their work. Every room is classic with little pops of personality (a perfect combination in my book).

@cathyposhusta

Cathy and her family recently moved to an old farmhouse in Eastern Washington and it’s been fun watching the rooms come together. Her style is a great mix of vintage and traditional mixed with rustic farmhouse.

I’m throwing in one more of my favorite instagram accounts for good measure.

It has nothing to do with interiors, and yet is still utterly breathtaking and I look forward to each new photo.

@jontaylorsweet

I literally can’t stop staring at this photo.

So those are my top six to follow right now … do you have any favorite instagram accounts that inspire you?

P.S. you can hang out with my on instagram @jonesdesigncompany

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