When I Finally Realized That Less Is More


Yes I know, my last post was all about how much I was frustrated with and hated on this current home remodel.

And now I'm here to tell you that it's the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I've always loved the theory of minimalism. I always knew that less was more "in theory" yet I kept accumulating stuff. I needed more clothes, more home furnishings, more high tech objects, more photo albums to hold my more photos and more cabinets to hold my more dishes and more drawers to hold my more stuffs.

Just stuff!

It was all. just. stuff.

When we started the remodel on the top floor, we ended up tearing out a storage closet. We were going to make it a big open space but soon realized part of the closet was a load-bearing wall and we would have to re-sheetrock a portion of it back in. Rob had put up a half wall and asked if I just wanted him to remake the storage closet back to it's original condition.

In the meantime, one week earlier, we had emptied that storage closet completely, taking everything that was in it downstairs. I had sorted through the contents and ended up throwing away 40 percent of the stuffs and giving away the other 60 percent to donation. I realized I hadn't even seen or used almost all of it, and getting rid of it felt good. Freeing

So when Rob asked if I wanted him to put the closet back together, I thought, "what for? So we can put more stuff in it that we don't need, won't see, and won't use?" 

Instead, I looked at the space with fresh eyes. I saw what it could be — a Lego nook for my kids, an art station or a blank wall to showcase our family photos. Why build yet another storage closet to just...store stuff? What is the point of "storing stuff" anyway? It's behind closed doors, out of sight and therefore almost always, out of mind. Don't we want our material and physical possessions to be seen and used? I mean, we spend our hard earned money on these things, yet we stuff it back into dark musty corners of our many storage closets and forget about its existence for months, weeks, decades...forever.

It's like that saying, "out of sight, out of mind," except no, it doesn't work that way! We always know when our closets are full of crap. It's why we don't want to open them and procrastinate cleaning them out. It's why we just shove stuff in there and then close it real fast like before everything comes tumbling out, moving on to something else entirely so we can stop thinking about it. It's a drag and a major inconvenience and a complete bewilderment and it absolutely messes with our mental happiness and propensity. 

So we push it aside, let it collect dust and try to forget about it all together. 

So now I beg to ask the question...are we talking about our stuffs or our sanity? 

My answer to my husband was no, I would not prefer him to rebuild the storage closet. The space held so many possibilities and besides, we still had two storage closets left. In a home of just over 3000 square feet, two storage closets were more than enough. And when I go to clean and sort those out? I have a good feeling I could consolidate it down to one. One storage closet in our entire home. Some may think that sounds absurd, but why? Again, why do we need so much stuff that just sits in darkness and collects dust? It's the theory of having nice china in the home, that only gets used on sparse occasions.

I have never understood that thinking and never will. For one, we don't own any china because we have children and children break things. For two, I'm an adult and I break things. Yes I like having nice dishware but I couldn't imagine spending a good chunk of change on an apparatus I will only use for eating off of. I would much rather spend that chunk on vacations or manicures or insurance policies or toilet paper...you know, things that actually have use. Things where I can see exactly where my money is going, and knowing that is it going to good use. (Or, semi-good use. Manicures are definitely not necessities but at least I can look at my nicely polished fingers every day as opposed to adoring my expensive china on Thanksgiving and Britney Spear's birthday only.)

Speaking of closets, Rob and I were discussing starting the downstairs phase of remodeling and he had an idea and ran it by me — he wanted to blow out our already walk-in closets to make them even larger walk-in closets. 

Now listen. I've seen the Real Housewives and their massive extremely over-indulgent preposterous closets. And every single time I see the enormous, outrageous square feet of those closets, I legit want to puke. Seriously, putting aside all the jokes and snide comments that can (and should) be made, it makes me physically ill. Because every time I see all that excess, I can't help but take my mind to those in need. WHAT is the purpose of having a room that big (a room that in many, many circumstances, is the size of a great deal of peoples actual homes) and moreso, who can wear that many clothes? Who needs that many shoes? Why in all that is holy do you have so many handbags?!

And I ask sincerely.


Why? Is it filling a void, an insecurity, a need to prove something? I don't know. What I do know is that I personally do not need a bigger walk-in closet. The only purpose for a bigger closet is to fill it with more stuffs. More stuffs that I won't wear, don't need and most definitely won't make me a better person because of.

It's no secret that having a cluttered home makes for a cluttered mind. It literally has been proven that having a home in disarray physically and mentally affects a persons wellbeing. I know that for me personally, when my house is in chaos, it affects my entire mood. I have been known to just leave my house when it's at it's worst just to seek out open spaces. 

But why can't my home — my safe place, my sanctuary, my haven — be full of open spaces? During this remodel, I've found myself craving more space. And not just space for more stuff...more space for just space! More space for a clear mind and a clear body and a clear soul. More space for less clutter, less disorder, less stress.

More space for just

more space.

A less cluttered and chaotic home results in a less cluttered and chaotic mind.

and Soul.

Forgoing that butt-ugly Louis Vuitton is worth the peace of mind, don't ya think?

Remodeling A Home Is For The Birds


...and not for this one. 

I heard a lot of couples don't make it through moving, and on the same token, a lot don't make it through home remodels. 

Money, sex, sheetrock dust covering your entire home...something like a deep fried recipe for disaster.


I was at my sister's house the other day, ignoring my responsibilities and procrastinating going home (because a torn apart home + an overworked husband does not a marriage make) when my husband called me and said he had fallen through the roof and thought he had broken his leg.

He then sent me this photo... 

I can just imagine myself sitting at my kitchen bar enjoying my breakfast and seeing Rob's leg come through the roof.

Oh hey Rob, what's up. Eggs?

Anyway. My point is, remodeling a home whilst living in one is crap. (My sister says I am a complete B for complaining so much. She likes to point out that I have nagged my husband for years to remodel our home and now that he's finally doing it, I can't seem to stop saying how much I hate the process. I fail to see her point.)

At any rate, see all that brown? That's the ultimate goal of our remodel. To remove/replace it all. Basically, we are building our dream home in the one we already live in. Which currently, our livable living space has dwindled down from 3000+SF to just under 350. The upstairs is stripped down to the nuts and bolts, so both kids, the dog, and the cat are sleeping in my room. The downstairs "play room/living room" is sitting empty waiting for new flooring to get in, so all the crap that was in there is now in the kitchen, which I have to squeeze through in order to make my kids bacon and eggs every morning before school.

There have been some setbacks along the way — a metal bar fell from the second floor onto my beloved piano perched below, and on a particularly windy day, the front door slammed into the newly sheet rocked and painted wall behind it, which left a big tennis ball sized hole, my husband fell through the roof, and because of all the construction noise, the cat apparently is forgoing her litter box and pissing all over the carpet.

So it's going great!

Why don't we just move? I've been asked. For one, if remodeling is this stressful, I can only imagine how disturbing full on moving would be. And two, we absolutely love where we live. The property and the view and our location is exactly what we want and where we want to be.

Even if it comes with black windows and rattlesnakes, notoriously.

I talked before about how Rob and the one which we don't talk about built this house together. Once him and I got married, there were only two options: either we move into an entirely different home, or we redo this one and make it our own. And 14 years ago, make it our own we did...we built on, extended the master suite and created a brand new living area as well as redoing the entire outside deck. 

And somewhere along the line, while making remodel selections, I decided on army green walls and brown shag carpet.

Seriously. Why tho.

Listen. Who in the world decides to paint their home dark green, and then on top of that, chooses muddled brown carpet for the majority of the living spaces?! This is not a rhetorical question. I want a serious answer. Who?!

*raises hand in shame.

We are in the process of choosing new carpet, new hardwoods, new paint, new cabinets, new lighting, new counters...top to bottom. Basically when it's all said and done, this home will look completely 100% different.

My tastes have changed so drastically since, so drastically, in fact, that it had me asking another question.

If someone's tastes can change so drastically in home preference, then why is it such a shocker when someone's tastes change in say, a spouse? I mean, divorce is more and more common, using that analogy, maybe it's easy to see why?

And then I had another thought. Rob and I aren't changing houses. We arent saying, "eh, screw it, burn it to the ground because we no longer like the green walls and brown carpet." No, we are keeping the same house, just improving it and making it better. Yes, our tastes have changed, but we are keeping the foundation of what we already have and making changes on it together. This is the home where we spent our first night as a married couple, the place where we brought our babies home from the hospital, the place where we laid with our dog as she took her last breath in our backyard...this home, the foundation that we have built together, holds so much love and history and soul...why throw it all away for some unsightly green walls and brown carpet?

The bare bones of our home is still study and worth saving. A new house won't fix our problems. And besides, a "new" house will eventually turn older and less exciting so what then, throw that one away and start over again with a "newer new" house? I think I would look back fondly on my original house and see how things weren't really so bad after all.

Just a little home remodel/marriage analogy I made there.

Anyway. It still sucks and I will still continue to complain. 

If you want to watch all the complaining, I'm documenting this process on my instagram stories username: ravenasmith.

K bye.

To Be Free


When I was in San Diego last month, Rob and I were at the beach, sitting in the sand, looking at the water and relaxing. I noticed out of the corner of my eye a guy whom had climbed up onto the stone wall separating the boardwalk from the beach and watched him close his eyes, raise his head to the sky and put his arms out as if praising the sea.

He stood there for a while, longer than it would have been normally acceptable — eyes closed, head up, arms out — and I watched as people who walked by gave him a double-take, presumably wondering what in the world he was doing.

And all I could think was, I feel you man, I feel you.

I'm a believer. In God, first and foremost, and in the wonderment of God's most magnificent creation, the paradise.

The Paradise: glittering water, shimmering sand and salty air.

A lot of people say they feel at home by the water, and maybe they do, I'm definitely not here to discount that. They know how they feel, and maybe it is a heart wrenching, gut tugging, spirit soaring experience.

But for me...

it's so much more than that.

I stop living one life — and I start living another — the second I step onto the beach. It literally transforms me and I can feel it to the very depths of my bones. More so, I feel it in my soul.

My husband and I were with a couple friend of ours and we were having dinner at a beach-side restaurant. I ate my food, delicious it was, and looked out at the ocean through the open air building. We had a few more drinks, some really good conversation and yet I felt the ocean calling me.

It sounds cheesy, I'm the first to admit. What, the ocean "called you?" On the phone? Internally? Spiritually? Yeah ok.

And yet, that's just exactly what it did.

I'm willing to admit some hard truths in my life. Such as... bras were created by the devil, common core math isn't actually so terrible, beauty fades and more wrinkles will arrive. But one hard truth that keeps pulling at the recesses of my heart is that my soul is not whole unless I am standing on The Paradise. The truth is, my soul wears half of a best friend necklace — you know the one, where a jagged line separates the words "best" and friend?" — and the ocean wears the other half.

My core being is jagged until I reach the sand.

Every time I think about it, I can physically put myself on that beach, waves lapping at my feet, soul literally soaring. It's a feeling I get when I think about delivering my firstborn in the hospital room, or the day I jumped out of a plane, or the moment I was almost positive that a 6'4" bouncer mama in Vegas named CoCo was going to kick my ass if I made just one.more.move.

Life changers, you know the ones.

It's why as a family, we always choose the place where the palm trees grow as our vacation destination. Sure, I could visit other landmarks such as the museums of Europe or the streets of Denmark...but life is short, and when you know what makes you happy, you tend to stray the way of that happiness.

Again, life is short, and the heart knows what it wants.

And my heart will always want to be with its other jagged half.

And together, we are free.

Things I Don't Understand As An Adult


 friends on boats...something I definitely understand as an adult

- Couples that sleep in Queen size beds together. Do you like each other like, a lot a lot? Or rather, do you hate each other? Because I can see no other explanation for a couple who dedicated their lives to be together forever to want to be that close in proximity during that sweet, sweet, dreaming period. It's bizarre. It makes no sense. You're weird and I hope you don't get divorced in the next five years but friend things are not looking good for you.

And if you sleep in a Full? He is definitely cheating on you with your sister.

- HGTV's show House Hunters. Did you know they are total liars!? I only discovered this recently, but every couple who appears on House Hunters has already chosen their home before they sign on to "look at different properties." As in, a couple can only be chosen to be on House Hunters if they are already in escrow for their home. Which might be ok, because entertainment is entertainment and I'm not naive to how TV is all #fakenews, but these people take it to a whole new level! Once the couples have seen all their "prospective homes," they then sit and "deliberate" on which one they will choose. They say things like, "this was a really hard decision" and "we thought long and hard before we came to this conclusion" and I want to be all "b*tch you lie! " How someone can go on TV and flat out fabricate like that in front of millions, I will never quite understand. I did not have sexual relations with that woman I only had one, officer Yes they're real

- Alcohol, or rather, the relationship with alcohol as we get older. Sure, when we are young, dumb and underage and ask some ninny to buy us a Mad Dog 20/20 from the Quikmart, we can feel on top of the world and like we can conquer anything. But what happens when we turn into, like, actual adults? The other day, someone mentioned to me my alcohol intake and commented on how well I seem to be doing in spite of it. Thanks? Regardless, it's hard for me to tell at times if booze if my friend or foe. Obvs, that time in high school when I ended up face down, bottoms up in the middle of a dairy with a fan as a pillow and a girl named Coco threatening to kick my ass proves without a shadow of a doubt that tequila is most definitely a foe, but then there was that time in Vegas where I was front and center in some cage on a rotating dance floor with everyone from Alaska to Jersey City cheering me on where the booze was without a doubt my friend. Color me confused.

-British people.

- Hotel gyms. I mentioned this on my Facebook page the other day and got all sorts of weird responses from people who actually work out while on vacation. Come again? Exercise? On vacation? I don't get it. When I scroll through potential online hotel photos, I want to see the beach, the pool, the bar...anything but the gym! It's called a vacation for a reason. The last thing I'm going to use my precious time doing while on a hard-earned tropical paradise is spending it in a sweaty, stinky gym. Yeah yeah, "working out is a lifestyle" as someone once said, but so is "sippin' cocktails, poppin' bottles and wearing see-through Amazon suits on the beach like dem models", am I right or am I right?!


- Snapchat and Instagram/facebook live. I admit, it took me a while to understand this. And by understand this, I mean understand what a cavalier, pretentious, smug, ego-inducing, vain thing it is to do. In other words, bizarre. I'm all for online blogging and facebook and instagram and using up all my precious time on all those other useless social media channels, but to actually take your phone, turn the camera to selfie mode, and record yourself talking or eating or grocery shopping or whatever the hell else it is you do...how important do you think you are?! And again, I did it for a hot second, back before I finally turned into an adult. But I have since deleted my Snapchat app and have yet to do one Facebook live. Whenever I'm browsing through instagram and I see the notification up top that so-and-so has started a live video, I quickly dismiss the notification with a little, "woop! Someone is feeling the need for social validation right about now." If you do this on the reg, good for you and I hope you get what you need out of it, just know that you are your own biggest fan.

- Other moms whose homes don't have major gouging divets in their drywalls. If I come over for a playdate and don't see Hot Wheel imprints in your hardwood floors, we can't be friends, because I don't understand your utter lack of parenting.

- Cat ears. Grow up you pussy.

Sh*t My Kid Says


::Talking to Gunner about the movie Zootopia and the theme of not letting anyone ever tell you that you can't do something::

me: so whenever someone says you can't do something, don't listen to them.

gunner: ok, so when you tell me I can't do something, I just won't listen to you.

me: no, that's different. nice try smartass. 


::After the boys got a haircut::

me: you boys look sharp!

gunner: what does that mean?

me: it means you look flyyyyyyy.

gunner: I don't understand anything you are saying.

me: I mean damn boy you be lookin' foine! 

gunner: what is wrong with you.


gunner: can I take my pocket knife to school?

me: no son, that is criminal.

gunner: what does criminal mean?

me: it means slow drivers, open mouth eaters, loud theater talkers, redheads. 

gunner: what are redheads?

me: criminals.


::As Rob and I were sitting together at the dinner table::

gunner: can we go open that package the UPS guy brought earlier?

me: {gives him my evil wide eye look that says he's in trouble}

gunner: what? you told me not to tell dad how many times he comes during the week and I didn't.

me: thanks for doing me a solid there.

rob: your mom told you not to tell me what?

me: rob stop it. inappropriate.


::we got chicks and are hoping for fresh eggs soon::

gunner: how do we know if the eggs they poop out are eating eggs or their babies?

me: um, I think we know by how many spots they have on them? like if a ladybug has odd number spots, it's a girl and if they have even number spots, it's a boy. or like how I once heard that you can tell if a bee is a boy or girl by how many stripes they have, or kinda like how you can tell if a llama is pregnant by how many lady lumps she has? That's how you can tell.

gunner: I'm asking dad.


And a few past conversations that I'm including here in the "hall of fame" of sh*t my kids say because it's been a while, and I like halls of fame. And I like to think I live there. With my crown and endless supply of Tito's.

me: I'm a homebody.

gunner: what does that mean?

me: it means I would rather be at home most of the time rather than any place else.

gunner: I'm a homebody too. I'm definitely not a schoolbody.


colt: mommy, I'm a kitty.

me: awww. I love kitties.

colt: mom, kitty wants a cookie.

me: son, mommy wants a Ferrari.


::When I was in a pinch to get Gunner dressed and out the door as we were way late for school::

gunner: I hate this shirt! this is a girl shirt.

me: no it's not, it's a unisex shirt.

gunner: what is a unisex shirt?

me: it means it's appropriate for both girls and boys.

gunner: but it has a princess on it.

me: that's not a princess. it's just a really pretty boy who grew his hair out long.

gunner: he has boobs.


colt: werkjdsf lfdv lzdfkgjubfdgh dkjebzx

me: what?

colt: oisdfb wiu fkjhsdbwe vkjzsd

me: what??

gunner: he said he wants some juice and a waffle.

me: oh. ok. thanks.


side note: how do you know if the eggs they poop out are eggs you fry up and make into a bacon sandwich or if they are fluffy feathery babies? I legit am confused. I can make the best vodka soda from scratch but honestly don't know how to answer this question for my 9 year old.