In Other News: Some Personal & Business Updates

Aug 19

No better time than this week to stop by with a small personal and business update. Over the last few days we’ve been at home getting everyone settled into remote learning. Hard to work in-person on client projects leaving them home alone these first few days. How are you guys doing with at-home learning? Hope it’s going well!

Meanwhile, I’m still having a tough time coming to grips with the fact we are officially in mid-August.

I have a lot to share and look forward to elaborating on these (and more) in the coming weeks! And also dusting off the real camera for real photos. Those seen in this post are from my iphone. I’ll take it!

house update

I owe a major update on a few spaces we’ve been working on. Some are fun projects (garage organization) – some not very fun (irrigation repairs). Several areas are getting attention and the 2 I am most excited about are outdoor updates and the evolving garage organization. Here’s a peek at the main garage wall I wrapped up a couple weeks ago…

It is incredible and can’t wait to share more. I’m working out details with the company who created the pegboard system before I talk more…that’s why I’ve been slow to roll out this project on the blog / social. Very soon I hope! There’s another wall I’m working on, but it’s taken a back burner to outdoor updates and interior decor projects I’m focused on. Too many balls in the air maybe? ha!

On the topic of outdoor updates, the firepit is almost officially complete. To take a look back, here’s where we began in March…

We updated the hardscape to have the existing stone set in concrete, added more plants and trees, added another garden bed, installed lighting and did a general clean-up of this side…

This is a side yard outside the master bedroom window. It’s been a dream to see this view each morning and evening.

A couple months ago, I ordered the chairs, which are incredible by the way! These can be folded / tucked away in the off season if needed. Very minimal and easy assembly…

I chose grey to blend in and lets us choose colorful / seasonal lumbar pillows…

( chair )

I shopped these chairs pretty hard. I’d say the only way to get a better deal is by way of Costco. We recently bought a Costco membership (you’ll see why below) and while browsing the outdoor dept I noticed adironbacks for sale. The chairs I purchased are from Amazon, had great reviews, are foldable and the price was right.

Next up was updating the ring, which took time because we had to order the ring and then wait for a plumber appt…

Finally, last week I purchased the lava rock to fill in the open space…

I’ll share better daylight images soon, but the final touch will be a few larger lava rocks to sit on top of the smaller rocks. In the meantime, we are loving this additional outdoor hang-out space. We’ve turned on the firepit to relax with a glass of wine…and a couple nights ago I sat with the kids before their first day of school. Looking forward to smores and a lot of evening entertaining with family / friends.

Although the yard maintenance is a bear, we are making sure to take a break to enjoy the effort. The sunsets have been beautiful the last few weeks and that’s about the most comfortable time to sit outside anyway with the excessive heat…

The plants, flowers and trees are doing very well! This gorgeous lepechinia hastata (yes, I looked it up for you!) attracts hummingbirds all day long. It’s below the kitchen window…

Costco has a oversized umbrella that was out of stock for a long time. It’s available again – thanks to a heads up from a friend – so we grabbed a membership to purchase this guy…

We’re planning for it in the middle of the patio over the sectional. You can rotate it which will help with covering the chaise area too.

Hoping to warm up the space more, I ordered 2 large outdoor rugs. One will go under the sectional and the other under the dining table. McGee has awesome outdoor rugs and it was very hard to choose. This is the rug I ended up with…

( rug )

The patterned rugs were definitely calling my name but I’m such a classic, minimalist…and love adding details in other ways. I worried I’d regret the decision to not stick with something subtle. Look forward to seeing these in person and will share a photo, of course!

Celebrations like someone’s special birthday is exactly why outdoor spaces have been the focus / priority. We love to entertain – planned or on a whim. It has been a fun week outdoors as we celebrate my guy’s birthday…

( photo credit to our dear friend…who recently started her own photo organizing business! once she has a site I’ll share it! )

We also know the weather will turn before we know it, so we’re planning to make the most of enjoying this yard!

Anyway, more details and photos soon.

personal stuff

Not sure if it’s Covid and the extended at-home time, but is anyone else feeling low self-esteem or low body-image? For my long-time readers you know the gym is my home away from home. I am SO grateful for our home gym, don’t get me wrong. But after spending the last 5 months in the space, I’m battling the will and motivation to walk downstairs. The weather is hot too so outdoor workouts are difficult. I’m longing for machines, the squat rack and an indoor treadmill for supported sprints.

I can see and feel the changes in my body – I’ve definitely lost good muscle. But more importantly, the gym is my mental health outlet. The lack of a real, tough, sweaty workout 4-6x a week has taken a toll on my self-esteem and how I manage stressful days. On stressful days, the gym is what brings me back. Working out at home brings on the same challenges we feel when working from home – there are too many distractions. When I go to the gym, I usually know I have 1ish hours so I come fully prepared with my workouts. Being home – not so much.

I’m not giving up though! I’ve tried a variety of new workouts to see if that helps with the motivation issues AND I’ve been back to eating healthy food. I’ve snapped photos and videos of the easy, healthy meals and snacks so be on the lookout for a post (or video) soon! This is one of my favorite breakfasts right now…

( bread | waffle )

A slice of toasted Ezekiel bread with egg whites on top. And a little pink salt. SO good! Sometimes I add it on top of a protein waffle with a little almond butter. Yummy!!!

To lift the spirits I’ve added some new clothing to the wardrobe – all inexpensive and super cute. (Because you know I hate to spend money and do not like going shopping!) AND these are from Amazon, of all places! I’m living in these 2 dresses – this one is $22!…

( dress )

And this dress doubles as a cover-up. Depending on the color (there are many!) it ranges from $21-$27…

( dress )

Something that always brightens my mood – no matter the season – is my favorite candle. The pumpkin clove candle I go on and on about every fall is back!…

I’ve been burning it while working on client designs in the office or while cooking dinner in the evening. So happy it’s back – it’s the little things! I set ours on a marble board gifted to us last fall, but linked a similar one below the photo…

( candle | marble board )

The kids are doing as well as can be expected with remote learning. It’s been tough and different. A real challenge for those who already have issues with staying focused. As I told them, it’s hard for me to stay focused when working from home – can’t imagine how tough it is for them. We’ve done our best to support them with everything possible – even down to hiring a teacher to help us with organization, planning and all the after school homework / projects.

But regardless of anything we do, we feel for them not having the ease or ability to just hang out with friends or play sports. There’s a blog post coming next week with details of our organized learning spaces.

Pretty proud of this kid though…this was snapped during a Facetime call (I was in the gym and he was upstairs = kids!) letting me know he passed his driver’s ed class! Permit test here we come…Lord help me. I’m scared out of my mind knowing he’ll be driving…

Yes, this is how they FT at this age. lol!

the business

SO | Home and the blog continue burrowing deeper into my heart. The business doesn’t comes without incredible challenges, failures and rough moments, but the positives beyond outweigh it all. Including the amazing families I have the privilege of working for!

Projects have been moving soooooo slow due to product delays (Covid-related). For example, I have orders unavailable for pick up until late September. I’m still working nearly 100% without team members for the safety and health of everyone involved. But the silver lining in the delays / slower pace on projects is the ability to focus on the full-scope. It’s given me a lot of time to dig deeper into areas of the business that were lacking attention. Simple things like creating client on-boarding documents – a long-time dream that wasn’t happening because I was too busy to get it done.

Another big silver lining to Covid included the new website design…BUT I have something so big coming up that I am bursting at the seams. Here’s a hint – if you’ve wanted to get started as an organizer, you won’t want to miss this announcement. Which I am hoping happens next week! As long as I can find the quiet time to write the emails this is coming as soon as Monday the 24th! I can not wait….been a very very long time coming. I have labored months over this. Months.

Wishing you all a great week and prayers your remote learning is going as well as possible!

Back soon!

xx,

Sam

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© Samantha Pregenzer | Bay Area, California