about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Until It Sparkles…

We woke up to a very grey and dreary day.  It was wet from sun up to sun down.

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One of those days where you wake up and peek your head out the window, and then dive back into bed and pull the covers back over your head.

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Some of us did that longer than others.  Ahem.

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I had other plans on my agenda.  Ever since we got back from Cincinnati, the house has been driving me insane.  We both work from home, and subsequently spend a lot of time in the house.  When our space doesn’t feel good, I find myself less productive, more distracted, and constantly fidgety. 

The Christmas decorations are no longer feeling special, and they are honestly just getting in my way.

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The trash situation is out of control.

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The kitchen has definitely seen better days.

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I honestly don’t even know what’s going on in the office.  But I am guessing this has something to do with the fact that Casey has started working at the coffee table.

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Believe it or not, this was clean laundry that was dumped out with the intention to fold it, and ended up turning into a dog nest.

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And for whatever reason, two people who are home 80% of the time seem to be totally incapable of making the bed.  Maybe because it’s on the third floor and we are never up there?  Still – inexcusable.

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We won’t even talk about the bathroom.  Not gonna go there.

So I did what needed to be done.  I stayed in my pajamas until 5pm, I let my hair get totally out of control…

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And I scrubbed and vacuumed and mopped until every surface sparkled.  First things first – goodbye Christmas!  Until next year…

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I would estimate that about two hours of my day today were spent extracting pine needles from every crevice and surface in our house. 

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Even so, I still stand behind the fact that the smell and magic of a real Christmas tree is still totally worth it.

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Part of the reason I read Young House Love is that beyond the hilarious banter and gorgeous house photos, there is nothing I love more than a good “before and after.”  There is something so refreshing about seeing progress and concrete results!  I guess that’s why I am a math geek.

So here is the “before and after” of how I spent my Sunday.  Pardon the evening light of the “after” photos – it literally took me ALL day!

Living Room before…

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Living Room…after!

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Before…

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After!

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Desk in the Office – Before and After…

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Full Office before…

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Muuuuuuch better.

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Totally unnecessary bedroom mess before…

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Bedroom that grown ups live in – after!

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And of course I saved the worst for last. 

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But with a little elbow grease and a LOT of coffee, I had it sparkling by dinnertime.

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Just in time to mess it all up again!

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It was a very loooong and exhausting day.

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But totally worth it to be able to relax in a clean and organized house tonight!  Off to enjoy my spotless living room.  Hope you all had a relaxing and fun weekend!

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100 Comments so far
Leave a comment

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey     at 8:57 pm

Love this! I hate it when my house gets out of control. I make the Husband take the dog somewhere and GET TO WORK!

[Reply]

Elizabeth     at 8:58 pm

Strong work! I think I need to follow your lead tomorrow… UGH.

[Reply]

Kelly     at 8:58 pm

I love your crazy hair. I do my best house work in PJ’s too. :)

[Reply]

Katy (The Singing Runner)     at 8:58 pm

Whew! I wish I had your motivation. My kitchen REALLY needs to be cleaned. Yikes!

[Reply]

Casey     at 9:00 pm

Congrats on your very productive day! I spent most of today doing the same thing at my house! We did four huge loads of laundry (which is ridiculous for just two people). All the Christmas decorations are stored in the attic until next year.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

It is truly incredible to me how much laundry and how many dishes two people produce in my house.

[Reply]

Anne Marie     at 9:00 pm

LOVE this :) I should’ve done the same thing, but instead I ran copious amounts of errands and got lazy. Is vacation really over??

[Reply]

Stacy @ Every Little Thing     at 9:02 pm

The kitchen is the worst because by the time you’re done cleaning it, it’s time to cook again! Ugh, never ends. Everything looks great now though! :)

[Reply]

Valerie @ City|Life|Eats     at 9:03 pm

Wow – you got a ton done today :)

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Maggie     at 9:04 pm

Oh man…I was supposed to clean today and instead didn’t move from the couch. Now I feel so guilty! I live in Old Town too and thanks to this weather all I wanted to do was be lazy!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Fun that you live so close!!

[Reply]

katie     at 9:05 pm

Long time reader, but i have never commented before. Now I am, for a seemingly strange reason. Next year you should look into getting a ‘tree bag’ we get them at Sears or sometimes where they are selling the tree. basically, it goes around the tree stand, and can be covered with a tree skirt. then you just pull it up over the tree…it really keeps the mess to a minimum!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I have seen those before, and I have no idea why I’ve never bought one. Seems like such a no-brainer! Thanks for the comment. :)

[Reply]

Sarah @ The Strength of Faith     at 9:05 pm

I love how you kicked Casey out of the after photos :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

He protested for like 15 minutes. I sent him with both dogs to the office so I could wash the downstairs floors. :)

[Reply]

Vanessa     at 9:06 pm

You crack me up! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who stays in pj’s, has crazy hair and scrubs every surface of the home from time to time :-)

[Reply]

colleen     at 9:08 pm

This is something that is much needed in my house. I got a few things done but not enough. Can’t start the new year with a dirty house.

[Reply]

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)     at 9:12 pm

there is nothing better than cleaning your house and feeling super productive!!!! great work!!!

and please post more pics of yourself with your selfproclaimed wild hair…b/c you look adorable :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Haha we’ll see about that. :)

[Reply]

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)     at 9:12 pm

That was our day yesterday! Feels good when it is all done! Enjoy your clean house Emily!

[Reply]

Salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle)     at 9:12 pm

I need to clean all day tomorrow….I hope your motivation will catch on to me!

[Reply]

Amber K     at 9:16 pm

Before/Afters are the best. I love seeing everything all cleaned up! Eventually Christmas decorations just start to become more annoying than festive. We packed away Christmas yesterday.

And I stand behind my beautiful fake tree that I use every year that makes zero mess. Gingerbread, vanilla, and cinnamon smell better than real Christmas trees every year. ;)

[Reply]

Lisa @ Fit in the Midwest     at 9:18 pm

I did this a lot over the last couple of days, but still have more to tackle. It feels good to start 2011 with a more organized and clean house!

[Reply]

Amy     at 9:22 pm

Looks great. I love the feeling of a deep-cleaned house!

[Reply]

Liz     at 9:23 pm

I really like the chair in your living room. May I ask where you got it?

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

It’s actually from Target! We got it on our wedding registry. I believe it’s called the Club Chair, or something similar.

[Reply]

Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine     at 9:25 pm

Cleaning pictures make me happy. It’s the OCD in me :) Nice work!!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Meeeee too. The mess was literally making my skin crawl!

[Reply]

Victoria (District Chocoholic)     at 9:25 pm

Wow. Impressive. Though, I thought I saw a bit of sun around like 4:30 pm. Maybe it was my imagination.

[Reply]

grocery goddess jen     at 9:28 pm

Nothing feels as good as a freshly cleaned house! I wish my kitchen would stay clean longer, though, as the moment it’s fixed up I drop an onion on the floor or spill flour on the counter. Sigh.

[Reply]

Allison @ PickyEatingRD     at 9:30 pm

I absolutely love the feeling after everything gets cleaned. it lasts about 2 days but its always worth it!

[Reply]

kelly     at 9:43 pm

Good job! You are motivating me…

Question here…what do you use to clean your hardwood floors? I can’t find anything that doesn’t make them look so dull. Thanks much!

[Reply]

Sophie     at 9:44 pm

I did the same thing today. I got so sick of all my clutter and ended up organizing everything and a few bags of items for Goodwill.

[Reply]

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}     at 9:47 pm

It was a big cleaning day for me, too. It feels so good to have a clean house!

[Reply]

Heather     at 9:52 pm

I love a clean house and am a sucker for before and after photos! love it! you did a great job cleaning!

[Reply]

Emily     at 9:53 pm

I had the same kinda day yesterday, except sadly it was my boyfriends apartment and not my own living space. I decided if that is my escape from the craziness of my own house, then I want it to be neat and organized!! Such a long process but totally worth it in the end :) Enjoy the neat and clean place and a relaxing evening!

[Reply]

Deva (Voracious Vorilee)     at 9:54 pm

I love cleaning house. We tackled our post-holiday Christmas last weekend/early this past week. All I had to do today was eleven days worth of laundry (and it’s not done yet…) and give the kitchen a once-over. It’s so much nicer when it’s clean!

[Reply]

Anne     at 10:09 pm

What an adorable post! It totally inspires me to clean up my place too, we have all been there. Thanks for sharing!

[Reply]

Therese     at 10:13 pm

As much as sometimes cleaning makes me want to hide, I always feel so refreshed, mature (heh) and energetic after I clean the house! Great job!

[Reply]

Kristen @ Kristen, Sweetly     at 10:18 pm

Beautiful!! I love that the kitchen was more coffee than elbow grease. :-) My kind of cleaning mission. And I love the wall behind your couch. So funky and minimal.

[Reply]

Kim     at 10:37 pm

Great job Emily with the before and after photos! Your house looks great. I also love the fact that I’m not the only one who stays in my pj’s/sweat pants with crazy bed head all day cleaning and doing laundry ; – )
Keep up the good work on your blog! I look forward to reading it every evening!

[Reply]

Kelly     at 10:43 pm

love before and after pictures and this post has inspired me to go do some cleaning of my own! :)

[Reply]

Brittany     at 10:44 pm

I will give you “kudos” on getting rid of your Christmas decorations! I am still at the point where I still want them up, but I know they must go sometime!
By the way, I am new to the blog, and I am a bit of a “younger” reader (14) but I must say I love it and it motivates me to be healthier and more active!

[Reply]

Em     at 10:53 pm

You have such a cute house. And I still can’t get myself to take down our tree, it’s still sparkling right next to me right now haha!

[Reply]

Erin     at 11:10 pm

I LOVE your final picture! I felt that way today too. I was reorganizing the kitchen and it almost got the better of me!

[Reply]

Christin@purplebirdblog     at 11:18 pm

Hell to the yeah, girlfriend! Way to tear it up! The sense of accomplishment from a job well done can’t be beat. Last weekend I put up before and after pictures of our once dastardly garage turned into pretty much pure awesomeness! :)

[Reply]

Gabrielle     at 11:21 pm

Wow, you’re an inspiration! Wish I could do all that. ;)

I like your hair “natural” too.

[Reply]

kath     at 11:21 pm

I LOVE THIS POST!!! mostly because I love cleaning and before and afters. The house looks great!

And I love how Case is just sitting there ignoring the photos. Totally husbandly reaction.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

He protested when I kicked him out for the “afters” but it had to be done!

[Reply]

Erin     at 11:32 pm

I LOVE this post!! Unfortunately, I was only about 30% as productive as you with cleaning my casa today. If it makes a difference I actually left the house and went to the grocery store, busy busy day! ;)

http://www.bishella.blogspot.com

[Reply]

Sana     at 11:33 pm

Your house is SPOTLESSS! You are going to be be so productive this week :)

[Reply]

Stacy     at 11:43 pm

I did the exact same thing today and I’m rocking the same hair-do because of it! You made way more progress though, your house is looking sparkling clean!

[Reply]

courtney     at 12:02 am

So good to know my house isn’t the only one that looks like that sometimes… I’m taking before and after pics next time so I can be even MORE proud of the hard work! Good job :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

The pictures made the cleaning a LOT more fun. :)

[Reply]

Maryann     at 1:05 am

Cleaning brings so much satisfaction right?! I love the honesty in this post– Ive got some cleaning to do as well!

[Reply]

Jess @JessCantCook     at 1:24 am

wow that’s a ton of work! I should try taking before and after pictures all the time, maybe that would motivate me to clean more :) we just got back from 7 days in California on vacation so tomorrow I’ll be spending the day doing the same thing.

[Reply]

Red Deception     at 2:22 am

How do you still look so cute after doing all that cleaning!? I would balk at having to do all that cleaning – my least favorite thing! I’m lucky that M is type A and cleans, so big messes can be cleaned up by him if he’s around!

[Reply]

erica     at 3:36 am

WOW. i need to do one of those all day cleaning benders! my place could definitely use it! good job!!!

[Reply]

Nellie     at 5:01 am

absolutely nothing is better than a clean house. It looks great!

[Reply]

Melissa     at 5:07 am

I feel so much better when my place is clean too:-) On an unrelated note, Would share what skin care & make up products you use?

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

ALL of my makeup is Bare Minerals – it is my absolute favorite!! As far as skin care goes, I’m embarrassed to admit that I do little to none. I don’t even wash my face before bed (horrible) and I usually sleep in my makeup (even worse). I just use apricot scrub type stuff in the shower, and a cheap face lotion when I get out. I was very lucky to be blessed with good skin!

[Reply]

Lauren     at 7:02 am

Sometimes, spending an entire day in your pjs to clean is totally necessary! :)

[Reply]

Emilie     at 8:04 am

seeing your clean house almost inspires me to de-christmas clean mine…. almost…..

[Reply]

Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life)     at 9:09 am

there is nothing I love more than a good before and after! :)

my tree was a mess, too, but I agree- totally worth it!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Agreed. And I FINALLY used your TJ’s gift card last night! I have no idea why that took me so long – I kept forgetting it was there. So thank you again! :)

[Reply]

Kelly     at 9:10 am

The pictures of you in this post are the cutest you’ve posted yet! The place looks great, too. Happy New Year. :)

[Reply]

Colleen     at 9:13 am

Emily, you’ve inspired me to get my butt moving today! thank you!

[Reply]

Tricia @ Saving room for dessert     at 9:33 am

Wow you were inspired! Looks terrific. Hope 2011 is the best year yet! Best wishes always and Happy New Year.

[Reply]

Renee     at 9:57 am

I took my Christmas down Dec. 26th, but I haven’t really ‘cleaned’ yet. (I did get my kitchen done.) I have hardwood floors and I need to use my Shark on them (greatest tool ever!) and then go back over them with a hardwood floor cleaner. Instead….I spent yesterday in a TV coma watching a marathon of David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding….lol

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

It happens to the best of us. :) Casey cut me off after I did nothing but watch House Hunters on New Year’s Day!

[Reply]

alana (at) the food     at 10:34 am

people always think my house is so clean, but really…it’s just tidy…there is dust and dirt EVERYWHERE!!! it stares at me all day long!

[Reply]

Shannon @ A Better Me     at 11:07 am

Precious puppies.

I’m the same way with my house. I can handle a certain amount of disorganization but when it tips beyond that it aggravates me. More, I think, because I let it get that far and have to spend hours cleaning it.

P.S. We don’t make our bed most of the time either :D

[Reply]

Chase     at 11:47 am

The clean laundry dog-nest is the story of my life!

I also tackled the Christmas decorations and the mess in the kitchen yesterday. Feels good to start the week off right!

[Reply]

Nichole (Flirting with Food, Fitness & Fashion)     at 12:45 pm

I did this exact samething yesterday. Got rid of every Christmas decoration and cleaned cleaned cleaned until I couldn’t clean anymore. haha

[Reply]

Mollie     at 2:07 pm

I live in Alexandria too and did the same thing yesterday(weather was a perfect for it)! That last picture preeetty much sums it up… :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I actually enjoyed the rainy weather. Gave me the excuse to clean all day! Fun that we live near each other!

[Reply]

Jen     at 2:30 pm

There is something about a clean house that makes everything better!!! Especially a clean kitchen :)

Jen

[Reply]

Haley     at 3:19 pm

Oh my gosh I LOVE LOVE LOVE your self portraits! hehe. It made my morning.

I wish I worked from home with my hub!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Haha I will make sure to take more ugly photos from now on. I spent plenty of time in my pajamas looking scary :)

[Reply]

Katty Lea     at 3:54 pm

Whoa–I think this post seeped into my subconscious: I read it early this morning and am just swinging back around to let you know that I am on the tail-end of a MASSIVE kitchen clean-up. Thanks girl! Very motivating :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Yay! Feels so good when it’s all done :)

[Reply]

Carin     at 4:05 pm

Ha ha. I hate to clean. But when I do, I’m like you — devoting a whole day to it and getting everything done until I love my house again. But have you ever noticed how cleaning one thing — like a smudge on the door or streak on a window — leads to cleaning the thing that’s next to it?! (Btw: Love the dogs, as always.)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

YES. I ended up also getting half-way through organizing our crawl space when I went to retrieve the xmas boxes. I forced myself to stop half-way or I would have lost my entire day!

[Reply]

Allison @ Happy Tales     at 8:48 pm

Hi Emily! I’ve been reading your blog and just have to share how much I love it! I’m actually from Cincinnati as well (born and raised!) but I currently live in Charlotte. So crazy that you used to live here! Anywho, I just wanted to say that your blog has inspired me to create one of my own! I really, really have enjoyed reading back on all of your adventures in the Johnson and Whales culinary school. I knew a girl a few years back who went there and she just raved about it. Also, your posts about Flying Pig have made me really want to sign up for it!! It’d be my first marathon ever… but I feel like I know the area pretty well where it runs through (I went to Mariemont HS) so it’d be neat to run through my old stomping grounds for my first marathon! Do you think you’ll be recovered from your accident enough to run it this year? Do you recommend it for a first-timer? Can’t wait to read more of your blog! Thanks for being such an inspiration to me :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Hi Allison – thanks!! I did the Flying Pig as MY first marathon, so I can definitely recommend it for first timers. The Mariemont section is ironically, where I always struggle, but I think that’s because it’s so late in the course and it’s the section I trained less often. It is a GREAT marathon, and I’m hoping to be there this year too!!

[Reply]

Allison @ Happy Tales Reply:

Ohh that is so exciting to hear! Yes, I think it’s around mile 16 that it goes through Mariemont, so my thinking is that running through my hometown may help give me a boost of energy! I really hope to do it, do you recommend any certain training plans?

[Reply]

Nathalie     at 8:09 am

As always, very cute pup pics :-)

Love the ‘crazy’ Doc Brown look ;-)

I really enjoy a good before/after pic…so fun! You are quite the domestic goddess!

[Reply]

Jess     at 8:14 am

I agree, when my house is messy, I cant focus on anything else until it is clean and de-cluttered!

[Reply]

Gena     at 8:47 am

My lord y’all have a beautiful kitchen! And the chowder, above, looks amazing.

[Reply]

Rachael     at 9:02 am

That last photo is my favorite, hands down! A clean house is worth the crazy hair.. pretty sure we are hair twins haha

[Reply]

Leanne (For Health's Sake)     at 11:33 am

Love this post!

I heard a quote a long time ago that said “Messy Bed, Messy Head.” which more or less means, if your place/home is a mess, your head will be as well. If I’m feeling down or stressed.. I can almost guarantee that my house is a mess and cluttered… by cleaning I instantly feel better and in control of my life!

This past weekend I tackled cleaning the main floor of our house…. This weekend coming up I will take on the top floor!

[Reply]

claire     at 12:08 pm

Ah I love a good “before” and “after” along with YHL too! Great post :) Love seeing rooms in people’s houses…as stalkerific as that sounds.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I do too!!

[Reply]

Aarika     at 11:15 am

Where did you get that lovely mason jar/shelving contraption in your kitchen? I’ve been dreaming up something similar but don’t know where to start!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Ikea!!

[Reply]

A Vegan Foodie Vacation. | Daily Garnish     at 5:04 pm

[...] same way I feel more productive and focused when my house is clean, I also feel a lot better about myself and a lot more professional when I look nice.  So I set [...]

carrie     at 10:08 am

there is nothing like a clean home!

[Reply]

Toni     at 1:32 pm

Hey your kitchen is so cute! Where did you get those metal shelves you keep your jars on? :)

[Reply]

archipporizzo     at 4:06 am

Very nice Blog. I really like it. It is very interesting to read.

metal shelving

[Reply]

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