Category: Year of Intention

A Lease to Decorate

Over eight years ago, we found ourselves in Lawton, Oklahoma. During our brief 18-month tenure in the Sooner State, we called three separate places home – an apartment, a rental house, and the home we bought a handful of months before receiving surprise orders. Oops (read about how we became accidental landlords). It was during 6 months or so we lived in the rental house that I created a blog called A Lease to Decorate. I chronicled my attempt to turn a rental house into our home and shared the struggles that often accompany such a task. Such as – white walls (or worse – walls with color that doesn’t match your design aesthetic), layouts that don’t accommodate your furniture, and the list goes on. After a feature on Apartment Therapy and some other fun exposure, the blog fizzled quickly once we purchased a house. I wrote one post when we moved into our rental townhome last time we were stationed here but I ultimately decided to tell A Lease to Decorate that I was heading out to the grocery store – only to never return.

a lease to decorate

Not that I’ve stopped sharing about home-related topics all together. One of my most popular posts from the old And Then We Laughed is the tour of our on-post Infantry Barracks ‘apartment’ we lived in during our 11 months at Fort Leavenworth. And earlier this year I wrote about What Living in 10 Homes Has Taught Us About How We Want to Live. While I don’t claim to be an interior designer nor a particularly skilled decorator, I do enjoy decorating each and every one of our houses and appreciate the challenge of doing so without breaking the bank and not sacrificing comfort and that warm feeling of being home.

military family house

I am not a design or decor blogger but I do hope to highlight the somewhat unique struggles many military face when trying to turn a rental house into a home. We’re rarely in a place longer than a few years and we often do not have the luxury of taking our time to find the perfect home. In my last post, I wrote about how our time here will end up being longer than we originally planned. In the past few weeks, we’ve started to make changes to our rental home in order to make it work for us better because we no longer have the attitude of eh – it’ll work for a year. Therefore, on this blog, I hope to chronicle our adventures of decorating this 1966 northern Virginia house and making it meet the needs for our family – after all, it will be our home for the next couple of years.

What I’m Watching, Reading, and Listening

It’s Monday – a new day, a new dawn, and I am finally feeling good after spending the past week sick and lethargic trapped in a thick physical and mental fog. It’s raining here in the national capital region – the remnants of the storm. The widespread devastation in North and South Carolina caused by Hurricane Florence is difficult to watch from afar. Our family and friends in the area are safe but the dangerous flood waters will ensure that it will be sometime before life returns to normal. If you’re looking for a way to help, I recommend….

I thought it’d be fun to highlight what I am watching, reading, and listening over the past few weeks.

What I’m Watching

Pasta Grannies on YouTube. The host of this weekly YouTube series, Vicky, travels around Italy collecting pasta-making techniques and traditions passed down through generations. There is something magical in the simplicity of watching Italian grandmothers making traditional dishes that are typical of their region.

Making It. Most people who know me are aware that my all-time favorite show is Parks & Recreation. I also really enjoy art and the processes of creating. The combination of Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, and arts and crafts doesn’t disappoint. And boy in today’s climate – it sure is nice to watch a ‘reality’ show that showcases artists supporting each other.

 What I’m Reading

Girl, Wash Your Face. Like pretty much every woman my age, I am reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I don’t read her blog but recently discovered her podcast. I like her message and I enjoyed the book. Is it groundbreaking? No. But is it motivating? Heck yes!


The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder. Clay (a geography buff) recommended this book to me. Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical strategist who argues that geography still matters when looking at the United States’ relationship with other superpowers.

What I’m Listening

The Piano Guys Station on Amazon Music Unlimted. The Piano Guys have an interesting beginning – originally created as a social media marketing strategy for a piano store in Utah, the Piano Guys gained popularity on YouTube (Piano Guys YouTube Channel) as they uploaded videos of various piano and cello compositions. Their channel on Amazon Music Unlimted is a mix of their performances and other classical crossover, orchestral pop, and cello rock pieces.

The Bechdel Cast. For those unfamiliar, in order for a movie to pass the Bechdel test, it must have (1) at least two named women in it (2) who talk to each other (3) about something other than a man. The Bechdel Cast is a podcast about women in film. Hosts Jamie Loftus and Caitlin Durante discuss the misrepresentation of women in Hollywood movies and each podcast puts an iconic movie against the Bechdel test. Spoiler – not a lot films pass. The podcast is super entertaining. And empowering.

What have you been watching, reading, and listening to lately?