Amazon Home

When it comes to home decor that isn’t antique or thrifted, there are two retailers that I consistently purchase from, one of them being Amazon.  Maybe it isn’t the first place that comes to mind for you when shopping for decor but I have been pleasantly surprised.  Let’s not forget the fact that with Prime there are literally thousands of items that can be delivered to your door step in a few days.  If you are impatient like me it is perfect.  Mark knows that when a package is delivered there is a solid 88% chance it is from Amazon.

Below are a few of my recent Amazon finds for the home.  For comparison I’ve included my own picture (first) and a photo from the listing (second).

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

throw pillow covers

I was looking for pillow covers that were affordable, neutral and had a subtle pattern…these fit the bill for less than $10 each.  I have purchased 4 of these so far for a total cost that is less than one throw pillow would cost at some high-end home decor stores.  They have several sizes, colors and patterns available.  Swapping out covers is a great way to get a new look to do it without the cost or storage of additional pillows.

magnetic wood frame

I have purchased 2 of these, one is at our cottage and the one pictured below is in our hallway.  It is perfect for displaying vintage prints or paintings simply and beautifully without the fuss of a traditional glass frame.  There are 4 finishes available in a multitude of sizes.

LED pillar candles

I love the ambiance of candles but when it comes to pillar candles I can’t get past the mess or the fire hazard…so these are a great alternative for me, simple as that.

square bathroom rug

This size/shape is perfect for our hall/guest bathroom.  It was a debate between this and the circle option in the same color but ultimately the square won.  In addition to the two shape options, there are several color choices available.

I haven’t been brave enough yet to purchase any large items or furniture pieces from Amazon, only smaller home accents & accessories.  I’ll make sure to share if I ever take the leap.

Do you have any favorite home purchases from Amazon?


Cottage: 2019

Last week’s post was about the itch to switch and the projects we have planned for our house as we start the year, but I left out the cottage.  First and foremost, we plan to visit and enjoy our little cottage as much as possible! Even though we finished the interior last year, there are still some projects on the horizon.

On our agenda for 2019 is “finishing” the basement.  The basement is a good size; it is the exact same footprint as the upper level.  However, the ceiling is very low and without “jacking up” the entire cottage there is no way to change that.  Also, to access the basement you have to walk around the outside, there is no interior access.  We have no intentions of this ever being a living space,  so our version of “finishing” will be making it into a more pleasant storage and utility space.  This may may not seem like the most exciting or creative DIY to plan for but it will be an improvement nonetheless and therefore I am looking forward to it.

Here is our basement to-do list for this spring/summer:

  • apply masonry waterproofer to walls
  • apply epoxy coating on floors
  • add shelving/storage options
  • figure out replacement/alternative for entry door

We are also looking into the possibility of putting on a metal roof but that is a plan and a post for another day…maybe even another year.  It will be a few months before I have any basement progress updates to share but I wanted to let you know what’s to come for our little cottage in 2019.




Itch to Switch

My first blog post of 2019! We’re already 3/4 way into the first month and I’m already behind on my blogging…good thing I didn’t make that a resolution.   The  New Year always feels like a good time to start fresh and try something new in many areas of life…our homes are no different.  When it comes to our home, I am currently experiencing the “itch to switch“.  This is just another way of saying the urge to change things up but in the form of a rhyme.

I am going to blame this itch to switch on two things:

  • Post Christmas decor purge.  I believe this is a combination of mourning of the holidays being over, the desire for something different after the Christmas “clutter” and spending more time inside.
  • The cottage interior is done.  This consumed my decor planning/creativity for the better part of 2.5 years and now that it is finished I have become hyper-focused on our house again.

As soon as I started taking the Christmas decoration down all of these grand ideas started to pop up in my head.   I could feel myself getting carried away, maybe even spiraling if you ask my husband.  However, the reality is we do not have an unlimited budget, nor do we have unlimited time. I had to pump the brakes and take the time to pause, plan, and be patient…that last part is not an easy task for me.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith, also known as “The Nester,” was one of the items on my Christmas list. I was lucky enough that Mark knows me well and took the hint.  The tag line reads “More Style, Less Stuff.” As someone who loves to read and loves decor this seemed like a good place to start before “scratching the itch to switch”…sorry, I couldn’t resist.

“Cozy Minimalism isn’t about going without or achieving a particular new, modern style. Nope. It’s simply a mindset that helps you get whatever style YOU LOVE with the fewest possible items.You want a warm, cozy, inviting home, without using more resources, money, and stuff than needed. Why use more if you don’t have to?…A pretty home is nice, but a Cozy Minimalist home goes beyond pretty and sets the stage for connection, relationship, and rest.” quotes from cozyminimalist

This is applicable to any and all homes.  It doesn’t matter what your personal style is, or the size of your house or budget.  I don’t want to give too much away because I really recommend reading it for yourself.  This book helped give me the perspective and mindset I didn’t know I needed before diving into new projects around our house.  With that being said, this is what I have planned so far…

  • New couch is on order (our only big purchase)~It is something we have been considering for over a year and took time to find exactly what we wanted within our budget.
  • Guest bath refresh
  • Small gallery wall

As always, I’ll make sure to share our progress and appreciate you following along.

Best of luck with all of your projects in 2019!





Our Home for the Holidays

Topic of the day: CHRISTMAS IS ONE WEEK AWAY….then before we know it BOOM, 2019. I wish I could hit pause for a few days just to bake cookies, watch Elf on repeat and make a snowman…not that we have any snow, it is supposed to be in the 40’s all week 😦  Even though it doesn’t quite feel like winter outside, when I’m at home and I have the lights on and candles going (and the blinds closed) it feels perfectly Christmasy.

Since I did a little “tour” of My Fall Decor, I figured it would be fitting to do the same for Christmas.  Our decorations are pretty simple overall.  If I had to sum up the look I was going for in two words they would be: cozy & rustic.  I try to incorporate our seasonal with our year-round decor as much as possible.  This way I can leave out some stuff all winter instead of packing it all up after the Holidays.  Afterall, this is the time of year that our house feels the most comfortable and welcoming. I want to enjoy and share it as long as possible.

That being said, come on in…front door/entry

our beloved Christmas tree ( also refer to “tree selfie” below)

living area full of lots of throw pillows and blankets…because there is no such thing as “too many”

kitchen/eat-in dining…clearly I’m digging pine cones this year

I couldn’t resist adding some special touches to our guest room and hall bath before our friends’ visit a few weeks ago

Now here is the ironic part of this post, we won’t actually be spending Christmas at our house.  We’ll be heading North to Michigan on Christmas Eve (THANK YOU to our wonderful neighbors for watching over our house while we are gone).  This will be our first Christmas spent at our cottage and we are very excited.  I picked out a few things to bring with us that will add a little Christmas cheer and can also stay up through the winter months.


Maybe it seems crazy to you to go through the effort of decorating your house for Christmas and then leave.  Or maybe if you’re like me, you agree that it is totally worth it.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all!







Holiday Decor on a Budget

December is officially here.  I know that many of you have already started (and finished) decorating for the Holidays but there are some that abide by a rule of waiting until after December 1st.  Or maybe you had plans to start earlier and then life happened. Either way, we all know it can be an expensive and stressful part of the season, but it shouldn’t have to be.  Here are a few quick tips to hopefully make your Holiday decorating a little cheaper and easier.

Rearrange & Repurpose

This may seem obvious but I think it can be underutilized and is the best place to start. It is easy to get into a routine of putting the same decorations in the same spots from one year to the next.  This year I focused on changing things around and I was pleasantly surprised how much of a difference it made.   Also, don’t forget to incorporate your year-round decor into seasonal decor. I have a few small boxwood wreaths that I use all year long by blending them with seasonal accents. Getting creative with what you already have can be a rewarding (and money saving) challenge.

Keep it Natural

We are surrounded by all sorts of natural elements that can be perfect for Holiday decor…think pinecones & dried fruit. If you don’t happen to have a pine or fruit tree  you can offer to help a friend who does by helping clean up their yard, it’s a win-win. Or worst case scenario, you end up buying a few which is still cheaper than many other decorations. Also, a few extra clippings from your Christmas tree can look beautiful displayed in a vase.  If you don’t have a real tree, many tree farms/lots will allow you to take some of their clippings for no charge, but ask first.

Use Free Stuff

As that last example above shows, you may not have to spend a dime for new decorations.  Never underestimate the charm and whimsy of a classic popcorn garland…as long as you don’t have to worry about your kids or dogs eating it. Also, using frames you already have you can get cute free printables like this one from my friend Tammy as another great resource.

Shop Around

If you do decide you want to purchase a few new things, and your budget allows, there are some very affordable options.  The Target Dollar Spot is seriously awesome for cute & cheap seasonal decorations.  Dollar stores have also really upped their seasonal decor game after the last few years. Lastly, stores like Hobby Lobby & Michaels regularly offer 50% off their Holiday decorations.

Candles & More Candles

If all else fails just light a bunch of candles all over your house.  Nothing is cozier this time of year than candlelight. Please just make sure to exercise the normal caution to prevent injury or fires…nobody wants to spend the Holidays dealing with either of those things.

Happy Holiday Decorating!


Happy Shopping

I’m sure your inbox is overflowing today with Cyber Monday deals; it can be overwhelming  and maybe even slightly annoying. I’m also sure many of you, like myself, want to support small/local businesses and those with a greater purpose. I want to take a moment to share a couple of my favorites that are having some great Cyber Monday deals.

First, I want to start with Hello World Paper Co.  I was fortunate to connect with Kelly’s company through this blog and I’m so happy I did.  Not only do they have beautiful products, they support a beautiful mission.  A portion of their profits is currently helping to build a school in partnership with Pencils of Promise.   As if that wasn’t enough reason to support this business, they are fellow Midwesterners, based right next door to me in Illinois!

Now through November 27th, they are offering FREE  domestic shipping, FREE gift with purchase & 30% off ALL Holiday stamps. 

Also, you can use my coupon code BYTHEPOOLE for 10% off your purchase.

My own custom cutting board. I was able to select the style, design & finish

A small sampling of their other products including key tags, label pins, bookmarks, ornaments rubber stamps, stationery supplies  & gifts

I know some of you might already be familiar with this next one, but Antique Candle Works just happens to be located in the same city we live which is so cool.  Brittany, the owner, is an absolute sweetheart who is passionate about her business and her faith. Their soy candles are hand poured right here in Lafayette, IN. They are clean burning and smell AMAZING! Seriously.

For 36 hours only, buy 2 candles, get 1 FREE, no coupon code needed, discount reflected at checkout, $6 flat rate shipping for US orders

I am currently obsessed with Peppermint, but Fall Harvest, Back Roads & Southern Hospitality are my other favorites


They have a variety of  scents and sizes, including wax melts…stock up today and you can thank me later

I hope you enjoy whether you are shopping for Christmas gifts, or maybe a little something for yourself 🙂


Cottage Recap: Kitchen

Last but not least on our Cottage Recap “tour” is the kitchen.  We started the recaps with the exterior, next was the living/dining , then the bed/bath and now here we are.  Every time I look back through all of these photos I am still in awe of the transformation over the last 2.5 years.

here we go again…

a little bit of demo

new drywall, paint, cork floors, wood plank ceilings & cabinets

new appliances, sink & butcher block counters

simple (and affordable) fixtures

getting closer with floating shelves & hardware

a few finishing touches

and the final product


This isn’t the last you’ll see of our little cottage.  We have a few more projects in mind for the future, but in the meantime we’re going to focus on enjoying it to the fullest.

Thanks for following along with our progress!






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