“What should we watch tonight?” Bear asked.

“There’s a documentary on minimalism I’ve wanted to watch,” I said.

“Want to watch it in our room?”

“No. There’s a big pile of stuff in front of the TV.”

And that, friends, is how we knew we might have a problem.

We are really fortunate. Among the many Americans living with debt, we don’t have any. And yet, we have other things dragging our family down. I could blame it on having a baby in the last year, but really, I have always been an accumulator of stuff. Stuff which has become overwhelming. That stuff takes time to manage, which I’d rather spend on other things, and it drive my “could camp in the woods for months with nothing but a toothbrush and tent” husband absolutely crazy.

So, we watched “Minimalism“. Afterwards, I turned to Bear and said, “I think we’re on a journey towards minimalism.” He played it cool, but I know him well enough that he was screaming for joy. And as a result, I’ve been listening to “The Minimalists” and “The Purposeful Home“podcast.

Over the next few days, I’ll share how we’re already working towards the goal of accumulating less stuff and minimizing what we already have. Stay tuned…


Oh hey, there.

It’s been a while. Sorry about that. Last time I blogged was almost a year ago. Since then, we had our beautiful, spunky, busy daughter, Naomi Carolyne. I struggled with postpartum anxiety (for lots of reasons, which I’m almost ready to blog about). I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and learned to slow down, but also got really disciplined when it came to housework and other things. (Wunderlist may literally have saved my life!) Bear started a new job at the University. He now supervises a staff of about 30 full- and part-time employees. I started back at the University, with an eye towards finishing my undergrad degree and then working towards a Master’s in Counseling.

This past Fall was hard. I was waking up to study at 5 a.m. a lot of mornings, then taking care of our daughter when she woke at 6 a.m. The days were full. Bear felt a lot of pressure in his new position to do well, and worked a lot of evenings and weekends. There was no margin and we didn’t get the time together that we needed to thrive.

So we made some changes. Naomi started school at a Montessori half-days, so I can study while she’s there. I switched to an online program at the University so I could have greater flexibility with classwork/schedule. The weeks will still be full full full, but my hope is that Bear and I can reclaim our evenings and weekends for family time, social lives and ministry again.

My hope is to blog more regularly about some things that have changed for the Klenda family. You know that part of “The Holiday” where Jack Black talks about the Santa Ana winds bringing change? (“All bets are off…anything can happen,” he says.) It’s felt like that around here, in a good way. We are shedding the old things that didn’t work and seeing some newness come forth. It’s going to be so good.

This Week

IMG_4497 2

I’m still going strong on making dinner with eMeals! I don’t always follow the recipe exactly, but have started substituting when it makes sense. The other night, I used some leftover pork tenderloin and tomato sauce and added some sweet potato, onion, kale and chicken broth to make a soup perfect for a cold night!IMG_4499 2 Every morning, while I wait for my Keurig to make coffee, I add a word. Here’s the completed board!IMG_4504 2 On Wednesday, it was sunny for the first time in DAYS, so I took Halle for a walk downtown to see the ducks.

IMG_4505 2 Our town is just too cute for words some times. IMG_4506 2 Wednesday night, I lit a candle and it caught the tablecloth on fire! Thankfully, several glasses of water were nearby and I was able to put it out, but it definitely got my heart racing. Thankfully, the Nativity somehow made it unscathed. (This was the second time I’d almost burnt down the house, as I’d left a pot simmering on the stove all night with cinnamon and oranges in it.) I’m staying away from fire for a bit.

IMG_4515 2Even Baby Jesus seemed a bit freaked out by his brush with death. IMG_4508 2 Our guest room is ready for any holiday guests! Yes, that wonky curtain is taped to the wall, but it gets the job done for now. IMG_4513 2I took the time this morning to finish organizing our some of our books in the living room. This is just a fraction of what we own, but I’ll put the rest in the office. Our house is starting to really feel like home.

5 Years

Black Friday. The day of crazy shoppers, and the start to the holiday season.

For The Klendas, though, it’s the day we started dating. Five years seems like so long, and yet, like a short time. It’s definitely not enough.

We started out as friends, and still are. Here’s some photos from the Fall we started hanging out and realized we “like liked” each other. We look like such babies!

DSC_0653 DSC_0657 DSC_0709 DSC_0731Love you, husbear! Hoping for 75 more years.


Our New House!

Back in August, Bear told me he had applied for a job at our alma mater. It was the perfect job for him, letting him do what he loves full-time. But I wasn’t ready to move. We’d just bought our previous house about a year and half ago, and I really liked our life in Conway. Moving was just not my plan.

But of course you know what happened. Given time to think about it, it just made sense to move right now. We’re both moving back to a place we lived for 4 years, my husband gets work at a job that’s fulfilling, in an environment that’s encouraging and will offer room to grow. It makes it worth it when your husband loves his job. And it doesn’t hurt that we’re now about an hour from our families, versus the 250 miles it was before.

We looked at some older homes in our new town, but because there’s been such an influx of people moving in, most of the older homes needed more work than they’d be worth. Going with a new build made sense for us, even though it’s (frankly) totally against everything I like! I was adamant that I wouldn’t move into a house with granite counters and stainless steel appliances. But, well, that’s what happened. And I couldn’t be happier about it. Funny how that works, huh?

So here’s our new house! We moved in Monday, and my hope is to put up tours of each room soon. Today, I thought I’d share what the house looked like during the building process, so you can see what we’re working with.

Front: 16796_10154734001220580_4031467819629344163_n

1457591_10154734001390580_3371546692211660347_nThe front porch is just waiting for our chairs. The colors are a bit off in the photo, but the door is Sherwin-Williams “Vogue Green” and the shutters are black. (And there really are two of them.)

Living Room:

10690061_10154628749195580_5286834988388583887_n 10590405_10154628749315580_3399938493933945086_n 10429218_10154571252820580_1912280420831787294_n 10354873_10154593467150580_7238774158378341662_nBecause we have dogs, and have learned the hard way that carpet is the worst when you have dogs, we’re trying out stained concrete. All the main living areas are concrete, including the hallways. I’m afraid it will be cold, but that’s always better than stained, stinky carpet. The walls are painted Sherwin-Williams “Wool Skein”, which was the same color as our old living room. It’s a perfect taupe-y pearl color that has more depth than white, but isn’t the tan I despise so much.

Master Bedroom:

10553471_10154734002475580_4150037134249219841_n 10354733_10154734002625580_1770662606708148318_nI’ve always wanted a dark bedroom, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The room is a bit small at 11′ by 12′, so my hope is that the dark color makes it appear a bit bigger. The floors are the same throughout the 3 bedrooms, and are a bamboo we ordered from Lumbar Liquidators.

Master Bathroom:

10639647_10154573536695580_4341945399552102907_n  10687043_10154628749530580_2231348602059757546_n 10710961_10154713332575580_4618013598238264828_nOur bathroom was supposed to be the same as the living room/hallways, but once the granite was installed, it just didn’t go. I’m not sure I love the purple, but at least it carries over from the Master Bedroom. I may change it to a gray, but that might be too much gray with the floor tile, counters and our gray shower curtain, so we’re going to live with it for a bit and see what happens.

Guest Bedroom:

10647139_10154571252785580_3579355121916947850_n 1506408_10154734001465580_2397956523287767928_nThis is another room where the lack of lighting really throws the color. In real life, this blue is much softer. I have this bedding, and hope that it will give the room a modern beach vibe without being too obvious.

Guest Bath:

10671448_10154573536610580_4480377744778568983_n 10356313_10154713332610580_3014611615950106393_nThis bathroom has the same tile as the Master Bath, but a different countertop. The photo didn’t pick it up, but the granite is black with beautiful blue tones. (And I’m PUMPED about all our undermount sinks!) The walls are painted “Wool Skein”.

Office/Music Room:



65583_10154734001925580_3547450248897365379_nThis room gets the best light in the afternoons. Bear’s antique desk will go in here, as well as the piano and all of our musical instruments. The wall color is Sherwin-Williams “Panda White”.


10357834_10154713332485580_3880430437958205218_n 10557372_10154713332430580_3243495247009677970_n 10711011_10154734002105580_913584815656561748_n 10641082_10154713332530580_1364826297460332808_nThis room is going to be my favorite. I had hoped for white cabinets, but the cabinetmaker was going to charge an additional $4k. I told him dark wood was fine. The counters look a bit gray in the photos, but the granite looks very close to marble in person. Marble’s look without the maintenance sounded good to me. We coupled it with a basic white subway tile for a classic look. The wall color is Sherwin-Williams “Popular Gray”.

Back Porch:



We picked out a ceiling fan for this space, and will put the grill on the left. For now, we’ll use a table and chairs we inherited, but eventually I’d like to get conversation seating and mount a flatscreen to the left of the back door.






Hair Care

It’s taken me most of my adult life to figure out exactly how to work with my hair. It’s thick, full, and a little bit curly, so it’s always felt like it has a life of it’s own. But lately, it’s felt as though my hair feels *just right*. Maybe that’s because styles now incorporate natural texture better, or maybe it’s because I’ve figured out how to best work with my hair.

I had shied away from shorter cuts before, mostly because I was afraid that my texture would need constant straightening in order to be cute, but I was able to take some of what I used with longer hair, and now my hair feels and looks pretty damn good, no straightening required. (In fact, I’m not even sure where it is!)


1/ Hot Tools 1″ Curling Iron | This is my secret. I blow my hair out to get it mostly smooth, then go back in with the curling iron to randomly curl sections for a beachy wave. I know it doesn’t really make sense to smooth out texture in order to add texture back in, but trust me, this is better.

2/ Round Boar Bristle Brush | I had always heard that boar bristles boost shine and it is 100% true! This brush makes my hair bouncy and deeply shiny.

3/ Teasing Brush | Sometimes I add just a little bit of lift to the crown of my hair. The secret I discovered is to do small sections at a time and hairspray as you go.

4/ Shampoo | At first, I balked at Aveda’s prices, but I only need a little bit. I think one bottle has lasted me over a year? Which seems crazy, but it’s true. The minty scent also makes me feel like my hair is super clean.

5/ Conditioner | This conditioner’s lightness takes out tangles without adding weight.

6/ Style Extender | Because it really is better for curly hair to not be washed every day, I try to wash my hair every 2-3 days instead. This product helps my style “lock in” on the first day it’s styled, so all I have to do on days 2 and 3 is a quick 5 minute touch-up with the curling iron.

7/ Hairdryer | This is just a basic dryer, but I like that the cord retracts quickly and that it’s got a “cool shot” button, which I use once my hair is about 90% dry. Supposedly it seals the hair cuticle, and I have no idea if that’s true, but can’t hurt, right?

8/ Volumizing Hairspray | This hairspray has a medium hold, and does its job well, without making my hair sticky. I spray my hair, then lightly tousle it upwards after curling.

9/ Dry Shampoo | Since I only wash my hair every 3 days (unless I work out), dry shampoo is a must. I have tried them all, and this is my favorite. Tip: Apply before you go to bed and you’ll wake up with perfect bedhead and no white residue at all.

10/ Volumizing Foam | If I’m planning on teasing my hair, I’ll use this prior lightly and on damp hair before I dry it.