Hello! My name is Kara. I’m a blogger living in a quaint town in Wisconsin. I write about my hobby as an interior designer, various trips I take as inspiration, and other thoughts on my mind. I hope my creative side brings people closer to experiencing harmony within their heart, home, and life.

Hope after Divorce

I’m very excited to be starting a new topic in my blog about my experience as a single mom and single/co-parent to my two boys. Divorce and separation is not easy, but when it happened to me, I felt I must try to make the best of it and continue being a good, stable parent to my kids. During the first six months of my separation, I wanted to hide under a rock. I live in a small community and I was worried it would be the talk of the town. I busied myself with exercising, taking care of my boys, working, and decorating and taking care of my new home, which I had bought to make sure my boys felt comfortable in their new reality. 

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I contemplated letting go of my blog for a while until things settle down. Part of me thinks that blogs about my kitchen renovation project aren’t very important right now! Blogs about traveling seem like they’re just teasing me about a life now past. Maybe this will be a better time for a series of parenting/single parenting blogs. I’ll probably start those next week. Could be more relevant now that we’re all trying to parent our kids from home 24/7. Being a teacher and a parent to my kids now is challenging. I think we might all do well with a few thoughts on that.

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Coronavirus and Me

Friday, 12:32pm, 2 days until trip

I receive an email from my kids’ school district. They say they will still be open after spring break. They said they discourage travel to Washington State, California, and New York. If anyone travels there, or to any other state that develops sustained community transmission while visiting, that they will be subject to a 14 day quarantine. I check CDC’s map and Texas is one shade lighter than California. That means they are close to the number of coronavirus cases and, in my opinion, could see sustained community transmission within days.

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Coronavirus and Traveling

Saturday, 8:19pm, 8 days to trip to Houston

So, my sister texts me. She says, “How are you? Are you still going to Houston?” To which I reply, “Why wouldn’t I be?” And she proceeds to tell me that her rather large company in Milwaukee does not want any of their employees traveling even domestically unless “operationally essential.” She says planes are about 50% capacity as of recent. 

A Little Background

I hate flying. I have to fly to see my dad, who lives 1200 miles away in Houston, Texas. So when I have to fly, I take drugs. Yep. Not afraid to admit that. I have anxiety. And going 500 miles per hour at 30,000 feet is enough to put me over the edge. So, being worried about catching a deathly virus does not help things in the slightest. Up until Saturday at 8:19, I thought this was only a big deal if you were traveling to China. I thought that people were being irrational because I figured influenza was just as bad or worse and my son and my ex have already gotten that this year and gotten over it in three days. Other than saying goodbye to my sick days, it wasn’t too big of a deal. (And yes, we all got the flu shot.) 

Saturday, 8:25pm

So, what does a person who has anxiety and is prone to thinking slightly irrationally because of it, do when her sister tells her she needs to be worried about catching a deadly virus while doing the scariest thing on earth…flying? She calls the most rational people she knows to calm her down. These two people for me are my kids’ dad and my own dad. Oh, and my kids’ dad just happens to be flying the week I get back with my own two children to Denver. He’ll know what to do. So, I text him first. And guess what? He’s concerned. Even thinking about cancelling his trip. Now I’m freaking out. I text my dad next. He travels all over the world for work and works with a company that does business in China. He’ll know what to do.

Sunday, 7:14am, 7 days until trip to Houston

My dad says, “I will call you later today to discuss.” Not a good sign. I wait all day. I go to church. I go for a walk. I have a coffee date. My dad finally calls. He says it’s up to me. He says he understands my concern and would understand if I cancelled the trip. He said he would fly, but he doesn’t have young kids. He says I could be quarantined for 14 days if I’m exposed. I tell him I’ll talk to my principal to ask him what we’d do if I got quarantined for 14 days. Dad and I will talk later this week.

I do a little research on the CDC’s website and realize I need a few supplies. I head to Walmart for some hand sanitizer, gloves, and Lysol wipes. They are out. I go to Walgreens. Clean out of hand sanitizer. I go to CVS. Out again. I ask the pharmacist what to do. He says use Hydrogen Peroxide wipes on my hands instead.

Monday, 11:02am, 6 days until trip

I email my principal. Tell him my plans. He gets back to me one hour and 17 minutes later. Tells me it’s my choice to make, but he would be concerned about it as I am. He says the board is approving a pandemic plan this evening. He’ll send me the plan tomorrow. So no one is making me feel any better. I tell my dad. He says to wait to decide until we see the board’s plan.

The good news is that in my desk I find some hand sanitizer. It’s got 65% alcohol, which is what the CDC recommends. See how happy I am below.

Hand Sanitizer
Hand Sanitizer

And here is the stash of supplies I will now carry on the plane with me (if I go):

My supplies while traveling
My supplies while traveling

Tuesday, 12:39pm, 5 days until trip

I get the board’s plan. There is nothing in it that would impact my travel plans. It is geared at parents and kids. Thirteen reported cases of coronavirus in Texas. Twelve in Colorado where the boys plan to be. So far only one in Wisconsin. Six hundred forty seven cases nationwide with 25 deaths recorded. Eighty-three cases are travel related. Tomorrow I happen to be visiting our pediatrician for my son’s annual physical. I plan on asking him for his advice. 

Wednesday, 3:16pm, 4 days until trip

I ask my pediatrician if I should travel and if the boys should travel. He’s another very rational person. He says absolutely. No problem, have a great trip. Finally! Some good news! He said he thinks way more people have the coronavirus but because it’s so mild in most people, they think they just have a cold. He said it’s not affecting children much at all. He said if you were over 60 and had a lung infection, you’d have to be careful. I’m still a little concerned, but I’m doing better. I’m doing extra meditation to calm myself down. I’ve got my drugs, but now I’m concerned that I’ll touch my eyes without realizing because, well, I do a lot of things without realizing it when I take my drugs. (Don’t worry, I have a legitimate prescription). 

Fifteen reported cases in Texas. Seventeen in Colorado. Total cases: 938 with 29 total deaths. Ninety-two cases related to travel. I’m going to wait another day to make my decision final.

The bad news? I guess Houston cancelled the rodeo. I was actually a little bit hoping I could go to that this year.

Thursday, 8:48pm, 3 days until trip

Last night Trump banned travel for Europeans coming into the US. The NBA has been suspended. March Madness will be played in empty arenas. My ex and I talked last night and he is still very, very concerned. I’m not really sure what to do still. I’ve talked with other frequent travelers and they say things are looking pretty normal in airports still. If you shut off your TV, all seems normal in the outside world. I may have a chance to witness this on my own on Sunday. As of now, the trip is still on. I’m going to post this now, as it’s my day to post. Stay tuned for next week’s post to see how things have gone! In the meantime, post a comment below. Tell me what you would do if you were me!

Open Shelving

Open shelving has been popular for a while. I’ve seen all kinds of shelves used from modern styles to reclaimed wood. Edges can be straight and clean or raw. Brackets can be black, bronze, or not exposed at all. There are endless possibilities. See my Pinterest board for some great photos and ideas.

Open shelves give a kitchen more space because it’s not weighed down with heavy cabinetry. I think a mix of cabinetry, open shelving, and cabinetry with glass faces looks nice. It adds variety and excitement to a kitchen that may seem a bit boring if there are just all the same cabinets. 

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Traveling Healthy

If you’re like me, it’s easy to slip into bad eating and exercise habits while being on vacation. Then, when you return home, you just stick with the unhealthy patterns and before you know it, you’ve gained ten pounds. 

However, when we go on vacation, we want to be rejuvenated. We want to be refreshed. So, why not use your vacation as a reset for positive, healthy behavior instead? There are ways to do this. Here are a few:

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New Materials for Old Houses

If you own an old house like I do, you want to maintain the charm and character, but you may want to do some updating at the same time. So, what new materials could you use that don’t upset the charm you’re trying to preserve?

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Travel on a Budget

Every month I save a little money into my budget for travel. I usually travel on spring break and during the summer. So when summer comes around, I have enough for a week long trip with my boys. However, I can’t save a lot, so I have to make sure to stick to a budget. Here are some ways I have great, yet economical, trips.

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What to do with the Walls

When deciding what to do with your walls, you need to think about all the materials first. Put them all together like a designer would. Put your countertops, flooring, cabinet, hardware, backsplash, and paint samples all together to make sure they all blend. Notice I didn’t say match. They don’t have to completely match to look great. But they should be similar styles…all modern, all contemporary, all traditional. The colors should look good together. Don’t have all one color or all bold colors. Ground things with some neutrals or wood tones. Don’t just use color to add variety, use texture. Think about what mood your colors will invoke. See my blog on being your own designer for what moods different colors will bring out.

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Finding Lodging

When I’m staying somewhere longer than one night, I prefer to find lodging through www.vrbo.com or www.airbnb.com. I’ve had great experiences with these sites. I prefer to have more features like kitchenettes and multiple bedrooms. I like how you can search for places by price, location, travel dates, or number of bedrooms. You can also view pictures of the rental. I wanted to make sure the rental had a kitchenette (I wanted to eat my breakfasts and lunches at the rental so I didn’t have to spend money buying every meal.) and slept at least three people. I also wanted to see if the place was clean and decorated nicely. The sites are great because you can view the reviews too, which can put your heart at rest when trying to select a rental. The site also lists items available like linens, kitchen appliances, air conditioning, number of people the rental sleeps, and whether or not it has wifi. Read all of the information provided before choosing a rental.

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