wallsburg IV

Since our last update, Russ has started and nearly completed sheetrock for the house! It’s been a solid month of full days of hanging, but he’s really close to finishing. Frame BuildWe spent a lot of time up there on this particular day and it was the most peaceful, spiritual experience for me. It is so quiet up there the only thing I could hear was Russ’ music, the boys playing, the occasional screw driver and Raleigh playing with his truck down a ramp. I can’t describe how lucky I feel to be able to create this life with my family. Let’s move already, right?! (His shirt is from this cute shop Worthy Threads!)Frame BuildThere have been some pretty dark days and I know he is so grateful to be nearly done with this part of the build. I am too because my anxiety over his set-up and some of the sketchy stories he brings home have got to stop!Frame Build

The most common question is why the heck he’s doing this alone, so I thought I’d share a bit more about it. He’s had different teams there helping him for the insulation, framing and the structural beam work, which has been great and kept us on schedule. Otherwise he’s done the rest either alone or with 1-2 guys with him. And that is for a few reasons!Frame Build

  1. Finding skilled laborers is SO hard right now! It seems since the Fall things have gotten just insane. You used to be able to go to the parking lot of Home Depot and grab several laborers in the morning out of 100 guys and take them to a job, the last few times Russ went there have been only a handful total.
  2. The demand is so high for new builds that prices have either gone up 50% or doubled. Cost of materials has gone up, too! So for people in the middle of a build where our budget was already determined with the bank it’s been so tricky to try and make it all work. If the bids come in too high Russ basically refuses and does it himself. He had a guy working with him on the earlier stages of the house, but he said he was slowing him way down for the sheetrock part so he hasn’t had him come all month! Ha.
  3. On top of the demand being so high, Wallsburg is off the beaten path and if a sub contractor has the option to do our house or a house 2 minutes from the highway and an In-n-out what do you think they’ll choose? Our location isn’t anyone’s first choice and we totally get that. So that’s why Russ is alone most days!

Frame BuildOnce he finishes the hanging he does have a subcontractor team on tap to tape and mud the sheetrock so that will be amazing. Then Russ can go back in and paint with his sprayer and things will start to cruise again! To then come to a screeching halt when it’s time to lay the floor. Tile takes forever, no getting around that.

Side note: this is the most terrifying spot of the whole house. Russ somehow got out of doing temporary stair cases so there’s just a 30 foot drop. Have mercy!! You can also ee the structural beams in this shot, we debated leaving them out in the open, but eventually chose to cover them. The seams were not pretty and the metal was already so rusted, it made the whole space look too industrial. It was bittersweet for sure.For the exterior we have an amazing small team out there, so luckily we didn’t have to choose between one or the other, we can have both progressing!

Here’s the rendering so you can see the placement for the exterior elements.Frame Build We have the stone and stucco underway, but we haven’t been able to find the wood exterior we want yet, so fingers crossed on that! There’s cedar galore (too warm / knotty for the look we’re going for) but I hope to find something with that English Timber Cladding look. The difference being the cladding is typically a skinnier slat and lighter wood.

We saw this cladding everywhere taking the train from London to Southhampton, I fell in love with it!Frame Build Our stone is Sunset Glacier Limestone which is a whitewashed grey so the cladding of course needs to look good side by side, too!Frame Build

My next most pressing decision was for the front entry overhang. It’s not in the rendering but structurally it has a covered porch with two posts coming down:Directly to the left will be stucco the actual door is looking like it’s going be dark black wood or iron, (unless we can match it perfectly to the cladding since the door will be surrounded by it.) Then right next to the black office window is the master fireplace which will be stone. This area is has the most exterior transitions of the whole house so I am mindful of trying not to over do it. I know for certain the cladding will go up and extend to the ceiling underneath the overhang (like this Ezra Lee shot below) but we have to decide what is going on the posts and that that small triangular faceplate-thing. So here are my thoughts and I’d love to hear yours!

  1. Stone on the faceplate and on the posts. Of course we would fatten the posts up and make them more substantial. We could also take the left post out and just keep the right one so we could make it extra fat. Since the left post doesn’t have as much space with the stucco wall right up on it.
  2. Metal on the faceplate and wrapped on the posts. I know this will look amazing at first but I am worried about how it will weather. Russ loves the look of rusted and patina’d metal but I really don’t. I want things to look as clean as possible. Not sure how long they would keep in the drastic Utah weather.
  3. Cement posts and faceplate. Lots of treatments we could do for this but I like it because the office window to the right of the door will be a formed concrete bench and the landing and stairs are concrete, too.
  4. Totally new idea I haven’t thought of. I am open! Any suggestions?

Exterior Shot Sources: One Two Three




Keep the Spark Alive

So excited to share with you guys something that has been a year in the making! Last year my schedule just wasn’t lining up so I couldn’t participate but I am so glad Kristel didn’t give up on me. And honestly, I feel like I have so much more to say on the topic this year than I ever would have in the past. And that’s saying a lot considering we’ve been together since high school!Kristel runs the site Wife Complex and then this yearly conference called Keep the Spark Alive. All for women and men who are striving to be their best selves in all their roles, specifically with their partners.

Kristel interviewed 20+ different women in business — truly juggling it all about how they Keep the Spark Alive. It’s a free conference and you can opt-in right here!

I won’t share all that we talked about there but I will tell you that this year has tested my relationship with my husband each and every day. He works 7 days a week. He comes home exhausted. His body is absolutely shot every single day. He goes to bed at 8 pm. He has never been so invested in his work: building our dream house. Building our life and wanting to make sure everything is perfect but also that it doesn’t take too long. The highs and lows of having subs bail on him, show up late, over charge, under deliver. And that’s just what’s on HIS plate.I’ve been solo parenting the better part of 7 months all while trying to run my own businesses and trying to maintain that sense of family and fun even if Russ can’t be there. The point of all this is that times of high stress, no free time, life decisions and changes, physical exhaustion, parenting, there has been one thing that has kept our relationship strong through it all. And it’s perhaps the least sexy thing I can think of. But it created a system that allows us to prioritize our relationship no matter how the odds stack against it. With that cliffhanger I’ll send you to my page to sign up! I hope it uplifts and helps you all, a great marriage is hard and challenging but so worth it. You deserve it, we all do!

Photos by Hayley Kaze.



weekend deals

Nordstrom mark downs are coming in clutch! My feet (and shins and let’s be honest, entire body cause I am old and worn) were killing after workouts so I asked the founder or High Fitness, Emily, which shoes she wears for the workouts and she suggested the Pegasus Zoom 34. I bought a pair and won’t wear anything else now. This pair is $75 right now! I love this color combo and snagged them fast. Urban Decay’s cult fave lipsticks are 50% off, the palette I hear MUA swearing by from Anastasia, these edgy rainbows, a prefect ruffle one piece, Zellas, and more!

Gap Kids and Baby is 50% off! Women’s is 40% Here’s a few favorites, the top row are for girls and they rest are women’s. I need those mules in every color. They also have the world’s perfect ankle strap heel in a bunch of colors on sale, too!

Old Navy’s new arrivals are in and my heart typically beats for their spring lines. They do such a good job and it just always seems to be what I want to wear in the moment. Their swim is looking real good too! All of these items are on sale but the price isn’t reflecting in the round up so be sure to click over to see the price this weekend!

My top picks: these navy trousers with the black tux stripe // this chambray jumper // this lace-up back swim top.

A few steals from Amazon like half off these palettes LEFT and RIGHT (they’re really highly rated!), and some of my favorite knock offs! These Manolo look alike $45, this bamboo bag that I’ve been pushing on you guys for two Summers but is only $40 now, my Susannah studded boot knock offs are on Prime too and real leather!

Alamo Chief Travel Guide #1

As a part of my yearlong partnership as an Alamo Chief Travel Guide, my very first post for them went live today! If you’ve ever wondered how to travel alone with your infant or toddler, I’ve shared all my best tips from trips past on their site today.Alamo Chief Travel Guide

Twelve ideas packed to make your travels smooth sailing with your baby. I am super excited to partner all year long and big thanks in advance for all your support! Check it out it here and tell me what you think: Traveling Alone with Baby ChecklistChief Travel Guide



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