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Would you like some advice from That Wife (a girl who now believes she can say she is a world traveler, since she has been to Europe no less than 3 times)?

When you go on vacation, or when you leave for the weekend, or when you just leave… leave your house clean.

The night before we left I was going crazy. I needed to pack, I was trying to get Christmas and Thank You cards in the mail, and I was absolutely firm about leaving the house clean. No plastic bags, no wrappers, no dishes in the sink, nothing.

It was so wonderful to walk in the door and see this after a full 24 hours of flying.

And since I’m jobless (and avoid my schoolwork at all costs) that’s actually exactly what my house looks like right now. I love a clean house.

Do you have a travel rule? Packing extra underwear in my carry-on became essential for me this last trip when the airline delayed my baggage and I didn’t have it for the 2 days we were in Washington.

With all of the money we’ve been spending on home decor items lately, it’s difficult to justify buying Christmas themed decor. Especially since we won’t be in the states for Christmas. That hasn’t stopped me from pining over sleighbells, warm woolly mittens, and brown paper packages tied up with string.

I’ve had to get a little get creative, but I’m happy with the little things I’ve found to help me feel like we have the Christmas spirit in our home.

Here is our $5.99 tree from Target. The label indicates it is made with lead, so I have to be careful not to lick my fingers after handling it.

Here is the Avocado ornament I received in the Bee ornament exchange. Isn’t it adorable?

I found this ornament at Joann’s for $1. I used the mini photo printer That Husband already owns and some photo paper my mom bought for me once. Love my $1 ornament.

This monogrammed ornament locket is our “first Christmas together” ornament. I’m beginning to fall in love with all things monogrammed.

The stockings from Target for $3.99 each. That Husband chose the mistletoe stocking because it means kissing. I chose Santa because he brings the presents.

I felt like I needed something slightly religious to display, so I picked up this Angel statue from the “See Spot Save” section of Target. Not bad for $2.50 I think.

Now for my favorite decor item, the $1 nativity set. When is the last time you set foot in a dollar store because I visited for the first time in years this week and those places are AWESOME! I love the slight Precious Moments feel those little guys have. Yes, this entire set cost me $1.

Mary, Jesus, and the sheep, but where is Joseph?

Is this crazy eyed kid supposed to be Joseph? The Sheperds crook he is hauling around has me confused. Plus, if this is Joseph, where is the shepherd to take care of the lamb?

These three are definitely my favorite. Look at those eyes! If my children ever learn how to make puppy dog eyes like that they will surely always be getting exactly what they want!

And that’s how That Household did Christmas decor for less than $20 this year!

This is our bedroom. This is our bathroom/office.

Want to see the dining room?

Ta-Da!

Yeah, it’s not much, but it’s our first apartment, you know? I’m so proud of the lamp I found for $10 at Joann’s. I know the garbage can in the corner doesn’t really blend in with the aesthetic, but it opens and closes automatically so I forgive it for standing out so much. It’s like magic.

That Mother took this picture at our After Wedding Shoot, and gave us the frame to go with it. If you’ve read the quote by C.S. Lewis I have on the Who is That Wife? page, you will understand why we find the happily ever after sign we received as a wedding present so wonderfully ironic. But if the gifter is reading, we love love love it nonetheless. 🙂 Irony makes life sweet.

The teeny, tiny, cramped, dark, kitchen. I’m currently dreaming dreams of building a house with a kitchen facing west, featuring floor to ceiling windows and miles of counter space.

I found this on sale at TJMaxx. It holds our ornaments, silly daschund salt and pepper shakers from mxyplyzyk, and the salt grinder that only I use since That Husband doesn’t believe in different types of salt.

Thanks to my cousins for the toaster, and the Hansen’s for the Kitchenaid (seriously, thank you for that).

I love this shot of That Husband and I on our 2nd date hanging to the right of the stove.

I co-own a washer and dryer! I’m so grown up. Also a vacuum that I never use.

The living room. Black leather couch was the way to go, since I am very messy and spill food all over while sitting on it. We debated a long time about the lamp, since it was triple the price of another one, but we love the glass table it has and use it instead of getting an end/coffee table.

Hanging above the couch is the religious print I chose. Grandma Moo gives grandchildren a “blank check” and lets us pick out any print we desire as a wedding gift. I wasn’t in love with any of the pictures of Christ I saw, and this one really meant something to me. It’s called “Hope” and it is Peter and John running to the tomb upon hearing that the Lord is risen.

This little beauty is our pride and joy. I know that many would have a hard time having such an open bookcase/entertainment center, but I decided that I don’t care if it would make the front page of Martha. I want our entertainment center to look like us. So right now it has our favorite books, some gifts, and the bear salt and pepper set That Husband gave me on my 22nd birthday. It was the first gift he ever gave me. It will be so fun to fill up the shelves with knick-knacks and things as time passes.

See the bears to the left?

This shelf is my favorite. It holds the picture book of our first year together I created for That Husband and gave him as a wedding gift. The elephant print to the right is the card I wrote my ring ceremony non-vows in.

A close-up of the card. Visit SugarStreetCafe’s shop to see more of her lovely work. I must confess I own 7 or 8 of her cards now, they are just so beautiful. Of course I want the christmas ornament version of this print, even if we don’t have a tree to hang it on.

You made it through the whole house! Things are constantly changing, but that’s the bare bones walk-through for now. We bought some Christmas decor at Target this weekend, so I’ll be taking a few update photos to show you how cheery we are in a few days!

You’ve already seen our bedroom, now it’s time to tour the bathroom. What could be worth showing in our gross old bathroom? Didn’t you know by now that I can talk about ANYTHING and attempt to make it seem exciting?

I was so happy to buy my first set of pretty, matching bathroom essential keeper thing-a-majigs. Do your or your husband have to have a “rinse cup” in the bathroom? That Husband used to have a really ugly red cup (you know the kind they have at parties) but I made him throw that right out. Note that we also have liquid soap AND a soap dish for regular soap. Don’t even get me started on the soap thing.

Why is there only one toothbrush? We used to share. Partly because I was too lazy to find another one. Mom, are you going to be okay after reading that? Or are you just so grossed out you have to stop? I promise that is the grossest thing you will read in this post.

I wish I had a neater solution for my appliances (maybe putting them away under the sink but that would involve entirely too much effort), so I settle for using these heavy glass vases from Ikea. That Husband uses the blow-dryer every single day. I never knew men loved to primp so much.

Don’t even ask That Husband what he thinks about the pain job on our bathroom counter. It’s hideous. It’s kind of like someone spilled something on the counter once and then flicked a whole bunch of paint on top of the spill to attempt to create some type of “artistic cover-up”.

They weren’t very accurate with the paint flecks. We have spots everywhere, including on the cupboards and all over the toilet. I made sure to note all of them on our move-in sheet.

I love having the pretty glass bottles of perfume sitting out on the counter (partly because it helps me to remember to apply them), but they look kind of messy to me right now. Should I eliminate some, or maybe put them in a decorative container of some kind?

This pretty picture of Venice hangs right above the toilet. It’s relaxing.

I show you this only to warn you not to buy it. I despise Wal-Mart and try to avoid shopping there at all costs, but That Husband doesn’t see the evil and so we end up going together somtimes. What designer thought it was a good idea to design this shower keeper with bars only going one way? Things that are too skinny fall right through, like my toothbrush and razor, and things that are round can’t even stand up. But I like the little shampoo and conditioner holders on the sides. Especially since we have lots of free shampoo and conditioner from all of the hotels That Husband visits every week for business.

When I started decorating the house I became obsessed with texture. And the color white. Therefore, I love this white, textured shower curtain. It’s just luscious.

White bath/hand towels are a great idea until you start wiping makeup on them and your husband’s blood pressure begins to rise because of it. These are from Costco and they are deliciously soft.

Oh yeah, the titleof this post says something about the Office. Okay, just look really quick and then don’t look anymore.

We can’t seem to keep this room clean and organized!

It’s time for the apartment touring to begin! These posts may be interesting to some of you, but they may also be some of the most boring stuff you have ever read. I understand this, but it’s important to realize that this blog is not all about you. Actually, it’s all about me! It’s not even all about That Husband because he won’t guest post no matter how nicely I beg.

I thought my family especially (feel free to de-lurk family, I know you are reading!), would enjoy seeing where I am living, since it is soooooooo far away from all of them in Washington (I live in Dallas, did you know?)

We’ll move in a circle. Here is the door to the bedroom, with a picture sitting on the floor that is now hanging on the wall. Don’t you love our beautiful dresser? We bought it at the same furniture outlet that we bought our couch, and it’s so lovely to own a real piece of furniture.

bedroom

Here is a closeup of the dresser because it holds so many of my favorite things. The sketch of Roman life I bought in Rome. The kleenex keeper, so black and tricky (who would have known that kleenexes live inside of that beautiful black box?) The dress form necklace holder my mom bought for me. My Marilyn Monroe clock. The red ikea dish we use as a catch-all (That Husband didn’t know he needed one of these until I taught him how to use it).

bedroom

Here is our bed. You might comment and say “Jenna, you can remove the plastic wrap from the boxes,” but you will be wasting your time my friends because this is something I already know. I just have this thing about keeping things in their original condition with their original packaging. I’m working on finding one of those box pleat bed skirts to cover the plastic. Baby steps people. Baby steps.

I love love love the sleek look of the quilts on our bed. I bought two identical quilt sets from Overstock.com, one in white and one in green, and I love how it looks so modern with the green peeking out at the fold. The sets came with shams but we still haven’t bought pillows to put inside of them. Also, That Husband doesn’t see the need to have so many pillows on the bed.

bedroom

The nightstand from Wal-mart. After he bought it and put it together, That Husband thanked me for not letting him buy the Wal-mart dresser like he orginally wanted to do. There is a definite difference in quality, although we don’t use this one as much so it’s alright. Do you like the red jewlrey box? Should I try to find something else? I hate the cell phone cord sitting there but I don’t have a better choice.

bedroom

You will be seeing this wall again, as I am sure I will be consulting all of you for ways to best decorate it. I’m going to take the photo of the London Bridge you see in the next picture down and hang it to the left, and then install a shelf or two and add trinkets and photos across it. Or is that a bad idea? What would you do with a wall like this?

bedroom

I love our $26 (total for both!) laundry baskets. The size is a little on the small side, but the price was right and I love the velcro bags that pull out when laundry needs to get done. The London Bridge picture (by Kelli Nicole of course) will be hung on the large blank wall in the photo above, and I’m thinking about hanging a 30X40 engagement photo print above the hampers instead.

bedroom

This is the photo I think should be hung above the hampers.

steamy engagement

What would you do to add some spice to the decor?

If you aren’t into weddings, you probably don’t know about Elizabeth Anne Designs, one of my favorite wedding blogs. Well, now you don’t have to be into weddings to know about them because they just launched Elizabeth Anne Designs: Living. To be honest, I feel like they secretly launched this blog for me since I am so desperately in need of advice on all things life and home related (you can feel free to think it was for you as well, for various other reasons).

I have a secret to tell you: I am secret best friends with Elizabeth Anne Designs. You might not believe it now, but I’ll prove the deepness of our friendship soon (well, the proving will probably happen on That Bride since it is wedding related).

Why should you hop over and then subscribe? (Please, anyone let me know if you are not understanding the concept of subscribing to RSS feeds using a subscription service like google reader yet, I would love to convert more people like my friend Megan!)

Because you can learn about artists like David Berkeley. I’ve already added one of his albums to my itunes shopping cart.

And you can start dreaming of collecting china to hang on your wall. I do have the perfect wall for this concept.

Are there any other “nesting” blogs like this I should know about?

*All images from EAD living

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