Nick, Don’t let the HOA win.

I live for Halloween.  I go to conferences in May while other people are planning their summers.  I dedicate ½ my attic to storing skulls. I’ve saved 20 years of Martha Stewart October issues. I scope Pinterest year round to fill my eight Halloween boards with inspiration.


So, Nick, I get you.

Someone said this to me yesterday on twitter.

I immediately knew it was you. (You also may have seen his house last year as it went viral online and received national coverage.)
Walkway Of Bones_edited-1

“Have you been over to the house on Conan Doyle?” is asked to me daily in October.  Last year when you got national coverage I was excited for you.  I even made it over one morning, and your neighbors may not even believe it, had the sidewalk to myself.

What you have going on is a huge heart coupled with passion and fun tradition for our community.

It’s really too bad the HOA doesn’t agree.

Now, I completely understand where you are coming from pledging to “go dark” this October.  You’re hurt, annoyed, and angry.

You have spent

HOURS and hours and hours

MONEY and money and money

All in the name of fun for kids in this community.

But, Nick? Don’t do it.

Don’t let the HOA win. Please?


Hear me out.

Now, I’m going only off of that article and it says that you can only cover 50% of your yard, and that excludes lights.

So your famous light show is safe! Lights are excluded! You can still cover your house with all the beasts! And if we want to get technical, the stuff on shepherd’s hooks are floating and not touching your yard. But I digress.

Here’s some real talk, Nick.


You have 4 Pods worth.  Let’s be honest. You have a lot a lot a lot.

Even paring down one or two leaves you with more than 99% of other houses, including mine and I’ve been doing this for 16 years.

And what do you do with the other part you aren’t using?

Here are 2 options (though C is my favorite):

A)    You have a Halloween garage sale! Keep your favorite stuff, the rest? Let someone else enjoy.

B)    You give it to *anyone* in your neighborhood who wants to spookify their house. This way even MORE houses in your neighborhood have decorations! Surely you have many supporters. What better way to show the HOA how much others enjoy it by letting them decorate IN SUPPORT of you!   More decorated houses in your subdivision = BETTER and WINNING!

C)    Give it to me. #CallMe

storytime yard Another thing, I’d really hate for your charity to lose out based on a bunch of HOA Halloween haters.  6 thousand dollars is a lot to donate, well done you!

Think of the kids, community and charities, Nick.

So I’m asking you to not go dark.  Doing 50% still leaves you plenty of opportunity to show off your collection, entrance little kids with the season, and give you an opportunity to still donate to your charity of choice.

Think about the kids.

Think about the community.

Think about the charity.

As my last nudge and plea, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to add a charity element to my display.

I’m going to collect for Gigi’s playhouse too.

Because us home haunters have to stick together.

I really hope you reconsider.



Top 10 ways you’re doing school drop off wrong

What is it about the drop off/pick up line at schools that makes for the worst parking lot experience next to a Trader Joe’s? Our district sends out emails, maps, phone calls, follow up emails, and more maps and people still get it wrong. We’re almost a month into school and I just can’t stay quiet anymore.

Is it you?

1)  You turn left into the parking lot when there is a sign that says “No Left Turn.”  It’s called the Kindergarten Word Wall. Check it out.

2) You decide that the crosswalks are just a suggestion. No really, cross wherever works for you. We can all stop and wait for you and princess and the pea.

3) You park in the pull through line. Like, you legit put your SUV into P as others dropping off their kid have to pull around you day after day after day at almost a month into school. Yeah, I honked at you today.

4) You wait in pull through lane until your child walks to their door 75 feet away. Cut-The-Cord.  ::hands over scissors::

5) You open your child’s door every day for them to get out of the car and they’re 10. Just stop.

6) You speed through the school zone. No, really, your time is the MOST important of all so please forgive the rest of us and our same 24 allotted hours.

7) You don’t give children the right of way. This is so dangerous that I hope your car gets keyed by their bike pedals and it ends up magically spelling “yoou’re a jeeerrrk”

8) You ignore people directing school zone traffic. Do you really think those volunteers wear fluorescent yellow because it’s a great fall neutral? No. If they tell you to move, go, stop, turn, rollerskate. Do it.

9) You park in a no parking zone. Don’t worry. No one is telling the police to ticket you. Probably.

10)   You pull up unshowered, no bra on, mascara running down your face, open the door and let your wrinkled kids fall out into their merry way as you immediately drive off sipping your morning café. Oh wait. This is me.

**Bonus 11) You TEXT in a school drop off zone. Don’t deny it. I took a picture of you while I was parked.


Back to School, Time to Paint!

I love to paint.

Anyone who knows me knows that I often have a painting project in the works or in the very near future.

My trader joes cart inside the next door Sherwin Williams. I am the suburban mom stereotype.

A photo posted by Jen TheNextMartha (@thenextmartha) on

I’m down to fine detailing on the stairs project. What’s next? A photo posted by Jen TheNextMartha (@thenextmartha) on

Door: Watery SW 6478

This summer we had our house painted, our porch rebuilt, and put in a new front door!

June 15 109

House:  Retreat SW 6207

Trim: Alabaster SW 7008

Door: June Day SW 6682

Sherwin Williams loved the yellow door so much that they asked to feature it in their #SWColorLove campaign.  You should check that out to get some great ideas.

They also gave me a $100 gift card to give away to someone!

The kids are in school so let’s get our paintbrush on!  Check out Sherwin Williams on pinterest for inspiration and enter below to win.

Just leave a comment to be entered. Winner will be chosen Sept. 1.




I don’t work with companies much because they typically have very specific things they want YOU to do for THEM on your own site. I like my own words and this post reflects that. Sherwin Williams paint is the paint I already use so this was a no brainer for me to promote and I wasn’t paid for these words, but you will be so enter!