Twenty Eleven Resolutions

Every year we publicly proclaim a few of our resolutions in the hope that it’ll light a fire under our arse (arses?) and help us “get there.” So without further ado (except for this gratuitous Clara picture) here they are…

Resolution #1. To be more bold with our decorating & renovating choices. We want to embrace color and contrast and just have fun without worrying that we’ll mess up. Mistakes are always when we learn the most about a project or our style, so we’re going to welcome them with open arms. And we hope to do our best to resist always going with the “safest” decisions in favor of taking a few chances and diving in with both feet. Wait that doesn’t make sense. Jumping in with both feet? How about cannonballing? Sounds good to us. It probably means there will also be the occasional belly flop, but we’re ok with that too.

Resolution #2. To find balance. We’re going to try our darndest not to fall into the trap of putting all of our time, money, and energy into the house to the point that we have no life, no savings, and Clara is trapped in our casa for her entire childhood. We’d love to remember to plan family trips (we haven’t been on a big vacation since our honeymoon three and a half years ago other than some low key road trips and family beach weeks) and just take time to enjoy visits to the park and the zoo and the occasional meal out. Since the internet is 24/7, sometimes it’s hard to resist working nights, weekends, and even on vacation so we hope to get a handle on that. Now that we have a wee one, some healthy family-friendly balance seems like a good idea.

Resolution #3. To save more money. We’re already pretty frugal (ok, we’re total tightwads) as you can see here, but we’d like to learn more ways to squirrel away cash for a rainy day (or retirement, or the college fund…). For example, we have no idea how to coupon. In fact we only recently learned that it could be used as a verb after watching this crazy show on TLC. But now we’d like to learn the act of couponing (but by no means will we take it as far as the people on that TLC special). Yesterday we gave it a whirl and ended up saving $19 at the grocery store. Not bad for two people who had no idea what they were doing. So we’re ready to learn more. From virtually loading our Kroger card with online coupons to buying the Sunday paper for the insert and even printing out online coupons when they’re something we actually buy, we’ll give it a try. And we’ll share how it goes if we happen to get the hang of it.

Resolution #4. To take the people-pleasing thing down a notch. As we mentioned during our blogiversary, “after three years we’ve learned that it’s impossible to please 100% of the people 100% of the time.” Gone are the days when we could write about whatever was happening at our house without someone (usually in the nicest way possible) telling us what to change. Like that we should post less or more, do bigger or smaller projects, share more or less family stuff, do more or fewer mood boards, etc. Basically, if we listened to everyone who told us how to alter YHL for the better, we’d pretty much have to scrap everything. And we might be crazy, but we like how we blog! It has gotten us to where we are today. Over two million hits a month is crazy (ok, mind-blowingly insane) to us.

We actually really enjoy sharing real-time diary-style entries about what’s going on as it occurs (the good, the bad, the ugly, and the average day-in-the-life stuff) along with whatever inspires us – just like we did back in 2007 when this whole adventure started. One week we might be flying along and the next week we may be as slow as molasses – but hey, that’s real life (with real budget constraints, snafus, & timeline challenges). There’s always HGTV for those 30 minute makeovers, so we’re all about the stuff in the middle. In the end, we know that as our blog continues to grow and evolve, some people will like it less while others may enjoy it more. Which is completely ok. It has to be! So this Bill Compton Cosby gem is our new mantra: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Here’s hoping we can trust ourselves to share our lives in a way that feels the most authentic to us.

Resolution #5. To teach Clara a few key home improvement and decorating terms. Like “phillips head screwdriver.” And “cohesive.” Can you image how cute a toddler who says things like “keep it cohesive” would be?

Or is that just my sick fantasy? My dad taught me the word “dehydrated” when I was a tiny tot and I’d walk around saying “I’m dehydrated” instead of requesting water or juice like the other kids in daycare. So dramatic. And I can just picture Clara pointing around the room and saying “drywall,” “hardwoods,” and “baseboard” instead of “wall” and “floor.” Could be funny…

Pssst- Check out our weekly photo project featuring the beanette here.

Pssssst- Peep one more (kid related) resolution over on BabyCenter. Any good faux curse suggestions?


  1. Becky says

    Happy New Year to you and your family!! One of my New Years resolution comes from reading your blog….to love my house more. It may not be in great shape…yet But, I’m learning to realize that it is a work in progress and it’s not going to be perfect for a while. But, I should still love it in the meantime because it’s mine. So, thank you for showing me how much you love your current home and former home!

  2. Arlene says

    This is exactly how I thought Clara’s weekly picture would look like, noise maker and all. Do you have something else planned for her?

    Your blog is perfect just the way it is, very inspiring. I check twice a day to see your posts!

  3. Cathie says

    Regarding your decorating resolution–I’d love to hear some thoughts on decorating/color choices related to the climate one lives in. For example a beachy scheme wouldn’t really feel appropriate in the mountains. What about color schemes in cold climates vs. warm climates?

    • says

      Hey Cathie,

      That’s an interesting thought! We really believe in decorating your house with what you love! So even if you’re in the mountains, if airy and beachy is your thing, we say go for it! We also don’t think people with homes of a certain style (like Victorian) need all of their furniture to “match” the house type. We’ve seen so many mixes of modern and classic and antique furniture that feel so fresh without sticking too stringently to the house or where it’s located. Hope it helps!


  4. Amy says

    I love your blog and even did my own version of your DIY Reed Diffuser for Christmas Dinner at my house. I like your New Year’s Resolutions as well and am excited to hear all about them this upcoming year! God Bless!

  5. says

    I love reading your blog, and I don’t care what you write about or if you do more projects or anything, cause it’s YOUR blog! I haven’t written in mine in months! :-( I enjoy reading everything you post, and I’m so excited to see all the changes you’re making in your new house! Can’t wait to see some bold colors and patterns here in the next few months… or years! :-)

    As for couponing, I love to use coupons at the store, but I watched that show and I thought those people were crazy. I do wholeheartedly agree with saving money though! I like to use the Kroger site (or whatever Kroger store you have around there) and to get coupons to load onto my store card. I get the Sunday paper to get coupons as well. It really does help save money if you can keep track of what you have and remember to bring them to the store. I keep my coupons in a binder with plastic sleeves that makes them easy to see and search through. My mom used to use a card box with the coupons divided by section of the store. I know you’ll find a system that works for you!

  6. Lindy says

    I love you guys! In fact, I think I love y’all more since you bought your new house. It’s made me realize that you guys were “real” and that your house wasn’t going to be perfect and magazine ready over night. It’s made me feel better about my whole house ranch renovation. By the way, check out . This lady is the absolute best at couponing!

  7. says

    Ah, saving money…that’s a tough one. Especially for our generation, methinks. Society is really geared toward a double income, and to make it work when one of you wants to care for the kids full-time (me) or works from home (also me), it can be really hard to have any extra cash to save. Hope you two are able to make it work!

  8. Lisa says

    When I was about 2, my dad replaced the paneling in their house with drywall. He tied a little tool belt (like the canvas painter ones) around my waist, handed me my wooden toy hammer, and I got to “help.” That will be Clara!

    (I don’t know if it’s a downside or and upside, but when you get your kids into DIY, you never get a break. When my water broke early and I was laid up in the hospital on bed rest, my whole family was at my house frantically finishing our flooring project! Now my ‘rents have their projects, mine, and my bro’s!)

  9. josie says

    great goals, youngsters! i teach coupon classes and my most favortist coupon blog is she does coupon match ups for all the drug stores and posts all sorts of great deals, both in brick and mortar stores and online. i’ve literally cut our grocery budget in half and i only spend about an hour a week to do so. i haven’t seen the TLC show yet, but i’ve heard it highlights the dark underbelly of couponer hoarding tendencies. :) i’m still looking forward to watching it, though. anywho, good luck on the whole list!

  10. says

    I like how you blog too! Especially the diary style :-) It always was my favorite. Im excited that you let us share in your home improvement adventures! Happy New Year!

  11. says

    OMG wasn’t the TLC show on couponing amazing! I could not believe the deals those people got! Very inspiring, much like your blog! keep it up, i love reading everyday! You give a poor-apartment-living-graduate-student like me ideas for decorating on a budget!

  12. Natalie says

    I’m sure Clara will pick up those terms naturally. My husband does neurobiology research and talks about work often. Our two year old recently came into the living room and said, “Mom, I have a hypothesis! I don’t know where my pockets is!”

    Yay for couponing! I refuse to spend even a dime on toothpaste anymore. Once you find out how easy it is to get things for free, it’s hard to imagine paying someone to take them home. Best of luck!

  13. says

    Those seem like fantastic goals! I especially like the balance-finding goal; we worked on that last year with our child (ren, #2 showed up in Nov.), and we have had absolutely no regrets. I don’t know anyone who reaches old age and says, “gee, I wish I had worked more.” What a blessing to be home with your sweet girl!

    Here’s a cost-saving suggestion: Buying a zoo membership was the best $80 we spent this year since we only live about 10 minutes from the zoo, and the per-trip cost is something like $30 if we were to go without the membership… so going a couple times a week (for no additional cost to the membership) works out to pennies a visit! Woot!

  14. says

    I love that quote from Bill Cosby! I’m sure it’s been said in the comments before, but just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re not twisting anyone’s arm to stop in and visit YHL so trust your gut and create a blog that you love! You two have gotten it to where it is today and I think where it is today is pretty freaking awesome. Happy New Year’s! See you in 2011.

  15. Rach says

    Haha- #5 hits home because my hubs and I were just talking about the same thing last week, except he was talking about how he hopes our daughter DOESN’T pick up too much of my work lingo. When this came up I may or may not have been wandering around Target talking (too loudly, apparently)on my cell to a client on about the details of how we are going to get her horse preggo in the spring (I’m a horse vet). John seems to be concerned that our tot will have a very, um, clinical vocabulary unless I get my act together :-)

    Thanks for sharing your resolutions, here is to a new year filled with peace, love and hilarity.

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