Happy Friday + Links 6/23/17 (I need your input!)

Happy Friday!  It’s officially summer (!!!), which means all my produce and lazy day dreams are about to come true.  The boys and I will be sampling raspberries off the vine and arugula fresh from the garden and we won’t be sorry about it.  Not one bit.  Someday the Farmhouse will have a well-placed hammock tucked back in the trees and an oversized swing on the porch, but for now, large blankets on the lawn covered in books and picnic fare will have to do!  What are your dreams for summer?

Before I get into the links today, I wanted to ask you a favor.  Tell me what you’d like to see more of on this blog.  I’m guessing that if you’re here, you like old homes and renovations – and I’m not planning to change any of that core content – but what else are you interested in?  Would you like to hear more about Garrett and my experiences as landlords, Airbnb hosts, or early ‘retirees‘?  Are you curious how we fill our days when we’re not flipping a house, wrangling our boys, or filming a pilot for HGTV?  Maybe you’d love more information and tips on the financial side of rentals and what it takes to retire young?  And what about our country lifestyle and wild kids.  Are you interested in any of that?  Or perhaps you’ve been hoping for something else entirely.  I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment here or reach out on Instagram or send me an email.  Thanks in advance for being awesome 🙂

There was so much good stuff on the internet this week, so let’s grab a cup of coffee and jump into it.

I changed my Instagram username to thegritandpolish.  I know, groundbreaking stuff.

What a great, honest podcast from Chris Loves Julia this week.  I love hearing about what goes on behind the scenes on blogs, and I’m not surprised in the least to hear that it takes two full-time people to keep a blog like CLJ running.

This Scandinavian home has all my heart eyes.

A moody picture of Wilder’s birthday cakes that didn’t make it into last week’s recipe post.  Sometimes I spend hours taking and editing photos only to realize that they don’t fit the feel of the blog.  Ugh.  Sidenote: I had a piece (or two) of each cake and they were delicious. Second sidenote: #eatingfortwo, at least that’s my excuse for another few weeks.

We have mosquitoes at the farmhouse.  So. Many. Mosquitoes!  So this cute candle just might be the ticket.

How a family of 4 eats for $150 a week in Waco Texas.  I ate up this food budget diary…no pun intended.  I’m strangely (or not so strangely…?) always interested with people’s spending habits, especially when it comes to grocery budgets.  Yeah, a little strange…


source (photos by Marili Forastieri; produced and styled by Zio & Sons)

A renovated 1700s farmhouse.  And it’s a stunner!

Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for being here.



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  1. I never comment, but YES to this: “more about Garrett and my experiences as landlords, Airbnb hosts, or early ‘retirees'”

  2. All of the above!! And a bug yes to Air BnB experiences… getting ready to turn our basement into a rental any day now!

  3. I started following your blog via Instagram and was intrigued by your farmhouse! Our family lives across the state from you & my husband wants to move east…but I love our rocky beaches and don’t think I could ever give them up. What I’d love to see on your blog: anything that you’re willing to share! I think every day happenings are interesting, recipes, home DIY tips & projects. I think your blog is awesome just the way it is 😉 Regarding mosquitoes – they hate lavender, so I would suggest planting some around the perimeter of you home. I just discovered “this scandinavian home” and oh. my. gosh. YES… that’s what my summer dreams are made of!

    • Thanks for the comment Nikki! And I really appreciate the lavender tip. It just so happens that I LOVE lavender and have dreaming of having some here at our Farmhouse, so your comment gave me the motivation to take action! Thanks 🙂

      • Lavender does well in eastern WA (I’m in Spokane) and I have a lot if it in my yard. All of my plants came from three that my mother gave me from her yard. If you can find someone in your neighborhood with a lot of lavender, or a community plant sale, you’ll make sure to get a variety that is hardy to your weather. I love the pretty spanish lavenders but it can’t survive the cold snowy winters.

        I don’t trim my lavender bushes right away and they reseed giving me the opportunity to transplant the babies to other parts of the yard, replace older bushes, or give them away. If I have too many new plants I just pull them up and throw them in the compost (I do the same with the purple coneflower).

  4. a peek into the real side of being landlords would be super fascinating to me!

  5. I’d love to see more of the day to day stuff, country lifestyle and wild kids!!
    I like to hear about everything you’re doing with flipping and rentals etc, but for me the connection and interest to those posts becomes much greater with the snippets of your everyday lives which I’d love to see more of. Seeing more about your family lifestyle, what you get up to day to day with kids, dog, house would be great. That provides the connection and motivation on my end and fuels my interest in your not as personal posts. If that makes sense!!

    • Thanks for this comment Hannah! I’ve struggled with how much of me/my family to put into the posts, so this was good feedback. And now that I think about it, the personal connection is what draws me back to blogs too.

  6. I’d love to continue seeing the renovation and design work on this blog and Instagram because I LOVE your designs! Anything on your fabulous country lifestyle would be most welcome since it is what my bucolic dreams are made of.

  7. The Grit and Polish is perfect the way it is! If you were to add content, I would read every word you write on the behind the scenes of the blog, your family and lifestyle, and the business behind the rentals/what you do with your freshly renovated homes after you no longer live in them.

    Thanks for introducing me to the Chris Loves Julia podcast. What an interesting ‘behind the scenes’ on running a big blog.

  8. I’d love to read more about running rentals (from choosing a tenant to collecting rent and making repairs), AirBnB experiences, and how you manage early retirement, especially if you feel like a fish out of water b/c that is not the norm for your peers, and how you handle health insurance needs. Actually early retirement might be a misnomer b/c you seem to work a lot! Perhaps you’ve moved to self-employment??

    • Ha! You noticed that too…yeah retirement is a little misleading considering all that we’re doing. Thanks very much for the feedback Ann!

  9. Allison says:

    Here to comment like the others- I’d love to hear about your personal experience with rentals, Air BNB, and “retired” life. And of course see you continue to renovate the farmhouse and other flips. Thanks for the consistent posting schedule and quality content. Oh, and the tip to have a floor bed! My three year old hasn’t used it much, but I think just knowing it’s an option has made bedtime and overnight wake-ups easier for her.

    • Thanks for the comment Allison. It’s great getting feedback on what content people are enjoying. And I’m so glad to hear the sleeping bag trick is a positive for you guys too!

  10. Without asking you to get too personal, in interested in how you managed the financial side of things. Specifically how you went from owning one home, renting it out and living in the cottage, to then buying the next…and next. Did you use traditional lending channels? What kind of history as landlords did you need to become “legitimate” in the eyes of a broker or bank? How does he business side of your business work now? Do you have to file taxes as a business since you have multiple properties? Hope those questions aren’t too personal, I’m also a Washingtonian (Bellingham) old-home owner and renovator and just really inspired by what you’ve done and would love to hear what may seem like boring details to others. I also love the reno stories and design stuff you do so keep that up too. If you have a minute to email me if those things aren’t deserving of a post I’d love to hear from you guys. Thanks! Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks Becky! I love talking about the financial side of this stuff but have worried it’s too technical for most people. Perhaps I’ll write more about it anyway! Thanks for the feedback. And feel free to email me with any specific questions you have in the meantime!

  11. AlisonG says:

    There is more to life than renovation and design, and people behind it all. I say post whatever comes to your mind. I will probably skip the wild kid posts, but that’s o.k.
    If you take photos of something and it is something you are passionate about post it.

  12. Late to the commenting here,
    I enjoy this blog because it’s not super fast paced, not everything is 100% sponsored (but I understand you have to make this work for you financially), the consistent posting is great too. You all put in a lot of effort to make the spaces fit with the house and the era, maybe give some of your thoughts on why you chose this colour/lighting/fabric for the space. (Do you look back at old pictures/ historical research?? or do you do what you like and call it a day).
    Managing rentals is a great aspect to touch on as well, the good and the bad. Because sometimes the experiences can be “interesting”.

    • Thanks so much Jackie! I’d never really thought about diving deeper into the design process but sounds like a fun topic. Thanks for the suggestion

  13. I’m a new-ish reader, but I’d love to hear more about your experiences as landlords/Airbnb hosts/early ‘retirees‘ and the financial side of rentals and what it takes to retire young. I love your style and would be interested in more posts about how you make the decisions and choose what things you choose.You’re the best!

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