Thursday, October 2, 2014

One Room Challenge- Week 1

So I am really excited to announce I am going to join in so many talented bloggers and designers, and tackle designing a room in six weeks! I will be linking up each week to the One Room Challenge, sharing my progress {fingers crossed} and I am thrilled and oh-so-nervous at the same time. I've got some ideas in my head and I can't wait to get started.

For anyone new that might be reading, this past Spring we found an old house we loved in a location that we loved even more, and pretty quickly decided to move and buy a new {old} house. As with most old homes, they have their fair share of work. The room that I selected for the ORC is maybe my favorite room in the house. In fact, it was my favorite when we first viewed the house. I saw so much character, and so much potential. Since we moved in, it has become "that room". And when I say "that room" I mean its the room all the odd belongings and mismatched pieces go into.



Everything you see that is white has been recently painted...I spent the better half of the summer laying on coats of paint to cover the wood tones. I know some people do not care for wood paneling, and I get that. I really love it though and I think it's so much more durable for babies and dogs. The TV box is not my favorite shape but we have looked into getting that redesigned and I think I would rather spend my money elsewhere.


The stairs have been stripped of their former heinous carpet {plus 1.5 million staples} and are a beautiful pine. However, that pine is not in good shape. There are markings all over the treads that the carpenters used back in 1973. Also, the banister is not legit. Those spindles are not ok and I have witnessed my puggle try to fly from the top opening down below a few times. The stairs are a major project themselves, and I'm not sure how much money we are willing to pour into preserving the pine/replacing...we will see as we do more research. In fact, the stairs might be their own mini room project, but I sure would love to improve them in some way during the next several weeks.


This is the opposite view. You can see on the far right where I started testing paint colors. I would like to paint the walls a dark charcoal, to pop against all the white. We have a long bookcase spanning the wall, and then a seating area with wingbacks and a loveseat. The furniture is in excellent condition, passed down to us from Stephen's parents. I am looking to recover or slipcover all three pieces.




I love bookcases but ours needs some work. Overall, I would like it to have a more cohesive look.


We have this sideboard on the exposed brick wall. The brick wall has recently been primed, but not painted yet. It's on the list. 



I love the wood beams but I am not crazy about the color! It is a really dark stained wood and closes in the room, even more so in these pictures. I would love suggestions on those :) And the ceiling fan and fireplace spotlight will be exiting the room asap! 


The fireplace used to have a wood burning stove which we removed. We don't plan on using it as a working fireplace, so I am enjoying the idea of decor in it instead. 


I know this room is reallllly hodge podge and cluttered. Don't doubt me just yet. I did want to keep it real and not edit it to make it look much better than it is though. What you see is what you get!


I hope y'all will follow along the next 6 weeks as we pull this room together just in time for the holidays. A big thanks to Linda for organizing it and allowing people like me to join in! I have been a huge fan for a long time and I am so excited to finally take part! Oh, and a big thanks to the hubs for agreeing to help me in the craziness!! Now go check out some other rooms that are being made over! Go ahead, its addictive! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Welcome October- Fall in the Living Room


I'm keeping most of my decorations for fall in the living room this year. I like to keep it on the simpler side for fall and Halloween because I know what is right around the corner- Christmas. And I never want to be burnt out on Christmas decorations! I am using mostly things that I already had, keeping  #the20dollarchallenge in mind. 

I bought these velvet pumpkins a few years ago and mixed them in with a few new Hobby Lobby pumpkins that I brightened up with some white and gold paint. 


I also painted these polka dot pumpkins several years ago. Truth, nothing that you love ever goes out of style. People that know me know I am gold and white obsessed. 



I haven't gotten a chance to show you the living room, now have I?!? We painted the walls a gorgeous blue that changes shades throughout the day, and I love it. It ranges from a minty blue to grey blue and is a true chameleon. The pictures really don't even do it justice. The drapes are from our old bedroom and I love that they are serving a new purpose. They almost got put up for sale because I couldn't reinvent them in our room. The pillows are just a mix for now until I make more decisions.


On the other side of the room is our pretty mantel. I love that we now have a fireplace and mantel that doesn't have a television over it. It's fun to decorate. 



I have had the blue and white jars with cotton for a while and I am not tiring of them anytime soon. I added the cotton and other green vines for filler. Both jars I found at TJ Maxx or Ross {truely, a hidden gem for finding cheap blue and white!} I had the foam pumpkins left over from last year and painted them hot pink and gold. The mercury glass pumpkins were also from TJ Maxx last year, placed on top of gold candlesticks.





I feel like I have just enough fall decor inside now. I have a few Halloween decorations I will add in during the next few weeks. I wasn't into Halloween last year, but with a new space it is always fun to experiment and see how things look! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Freshen Up


I was so excited to have the afternoon yesterday to get some things done in the yard. We still haven't adjusted to the size difference from our last yard, and this one needs quite a bit of maintenance. Once life gets in the way, it's hard to keep it in tip top shape- but Stephen and I both are lovers a nicely kept yard, so it drives us crazy. I bought some fall flowers and a few new evergreen plants for replacing some foundation plants. 


 It makes me so happy to walk out the door and see these bright and happy plants! I'm crossing my fingers these mums will bloom and not be toast in 2 days. And I'm loving the zinnias for fresh cut flowers, my fave! 




Potting the new plants was easy, I spent most of my time pulling weeds and deciding where things would go. This bed {seen below} also holds a rock pond that we are working on getting rid of. Too much maintenance and I don't like the added bonus of frogs, lizards, etc. No thank you! 


I also repotted several plants- an Autumn Fern and this ivy topiary that is still going strong from our rehearsal dinner in 2010! {It was a lot smaller back then} I worry every year it's not going to survive me forgetting to water it or a bug getting on it and taking over. The heart topiaries were on the tables, isn't that best idea? I love that we still have it!


This is another bed that you see when you pull in the driveway, it's my little project. We immediately lined it with boxwoods as a border, and filled in with a few hydrangeas and other old timey plants.


I also get to see it from our kitchen window. Love the view.


I cleaned up the potting bench and kept it real simple with some coleus for now. We are notorious for cluttering it up with yard tools and grilling tools, but I guess that's kinda what its for. 



 And I also added some new plants for the pots on our driveway-snapdragons, violas and dusty miller.


And last but not least, some baby pumpkins for the steps! 


 Three of them, to be exact ;)


It feels SO good to have things freshened up in the yard, before the leaves start falling. We are also looking at replacing more foundation shrubs with plants more our style- boxwoods, some pretty ligustrum etc. We took down some scraggly looking rose vines yesterday and it already is looking so much better! Little by little....

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, September 26, 2014

An Honest to Goodness Review

As most of you know, a very popular company, the Honest Company, is huge among young moms, savvy with environmental and health minded decisions. I have to admit, for a long time I was not convinced and not interested. After Weeks was born, I became curious about "green" lines and what exactly was different from their products vs. what I usually bought. This is not sponsored in any way, just my personal review. Please just view this post as me sharing my opinions and experience.


First up, being a new Mom I just had to buy those adorable little diapers that had anchors printed on them. I mean...anchors! Are you kidding me. It really does not get much cuter, plus, we live at the beach. They were perfect. I bought them after Weeks was a few months old. Up until then, he had been a strictly Pampers Baby, with no issues and we were happy parents. I just bought them for fun, and to compare. However, I found myself not trusting the durability of the diaper itself. I would only put the cute little anchor diapers on when we were either going to be around people, or after he had a major blowout (ensuring that another blowout wasn't surely to follow in the new diaper brand). I also knew that the Honest diapers were a bit more expensive than Pampers...and this is something they literally "poop" on. I quickly realized this was oh-so-silly. I love the idea of the diaper, but on the other hand I am pretty happy with our little Elmo Pampers. Weeks doesn't have skin irritations from his diaper, which is a very important part of your decision. And if I did have a little more in our budget for diapers, I might change my mind. I know plenty of Moms who love and trust Honest Diapers, and I respect that.


 Next up, Honest sunscreen. I felt like a lotion being rubbed and absorbed into Weeks' skin should be as safe as possible. I really wanted to love this stuff. After several uses (last summer) I just couldn't do it anymore. It was SO thick. And while I was thrilled it was safe for his new, sweet, baby skin, I literally had to scrub it off. I would put him in the bath and wipe and scrub those sweet little cheeks as long as he would let me. I just couldn't do it anymore. This summer, I experimented with several other sunscreens, and I really utilized sun-safe hats as well. If you have a favorite baby sunscreen I would love to know.


Recently, I purchased the Honest Laundry Detergent. I had read it was great for babies with eczema, which Weeks tends to have on his legs. I was a little sad to push the Dreft aside. Because nothing smells better than Dreft...in the entire world. But anyway, I haven't noticed a HUGE change in his eczema, but I think it is slightly better. On another note, I had a few towels that had started to have that mildew smell. Embarrassing. I have never had mildewy towels before! Ew. I credit it to our new front load washer and dryer. I have always heard they have issues, but they are supposed to be designed better now. I have learned, you simply cannot leave things in a front load washer for very long at all. I did one load with the Honest Detergent and it was gone!! I was this close to trying a Pinterest trick for removing the smell, but the Honest worked awesome. I was impressed. Also, semi-unrelated but...I learned in textiles class (in college) that fabric softener leaves a huge buildup (actually wax)  on your clothing and towels. If you think about the texture of a dryer sheet, that gets distributed on to your laundry. I use dryer sheets sparingly and never do a full dryer cycle with a dryer sheet in. Fabric softener also causes your towels to stop absorbing as well...because they are covered in wax. Just some food for thought!


My last Honest purchase is the Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner. I have really enjoyed using it as my daily countertop cleaner. It isn't filled with toxins on my countertops where food may land or be prepared. It has a fresh grapefruit smell and works really well to remove grease and food grime. But also, I am a stickler for thoroughly cleaning anything that comes in contact with raw meat- so anytime I have raw chicken, beef, fish etc, I always spray everything down with Clorox. I am just paranoid about that. Other than those times, I love using this spray as my cleaner! I wipe down Weeks' toys and high chairs with it as well. Once we enter flu season I am wondering if I need something stronger as well. Would love advice!

I would love to hear your reviews on Honest products, or other green lines. I am not saying I am converting all of my daily products into the green versions, but I am open to the idea of welcoming more into our home. So far, I have been really pleased with green cleaning products. It feels good and I like that I am being proactive in being careful what enters these walls :)

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Awesome Southern Meal

We had this for dinner last night and it was simply, delicious. My Mom had made the BBQ chicken recipe a few weeks ago, and I knew right away I would be making it at home. Since we are entering prime time crock pot season, I figured I would go ahead and get it warmed up :) I put this together in a few minutes over my lunch break, and it was ready after work. I served it on small Hawaiian rolls, with boiled corn and some simple baked beans.



CROCKPOT BBQ CHICKEN 
(slightly adapted from, see for more details)

2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Kens Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Place chicken in crock pot and lightly season with salt.
In a small bowl, combine BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Pour over chicken, cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours (I cooked for 4 and then switched to warm) Shred chicken, and re-cover crockpot and cook in sauce for about 10-15 more minutes to absorb the flavor and liquid. 
My Notes: After 4 hours, it seemed like it had a lot of liquid remaining and I halfway shredded it, and switched it to warm until it was close to dinner time. Once we were 15 minutes out from dinner being served, I finished shredding and switched the heat back on. This allowed the chicken to absorb lots of the remaining liquid and thicken.

Here is another idea from our meal...this is truely the easiest and such a tasty way to make boiled corn. Bring a pot of water to boiling, add your corn (with the husks removed) and boil for 5 minutes. Remove and serve as desired with butter/salt/pepper. (Also- we love Brummel and Brown as a butter substitute- made with yogurt and I cannot tell the difference for toppings on veggies/toast/bread etc) So quick and easy, and there is no reason to cook it longer! It is perfect like this.

I kept it simple with canned baked beans. I'm trying to keep at least one part of our weeknight meals really simple with one veggie or bean just plain and not overthought.

Let's all be real, there are way too many recipes on pinterest boasting they are the best of whatever, and I know I have been dissapointed from time to time. This one did not. It is the best crockpot bbq chicken I have tried, and it couldn't be simpler! However, an even better part of this meal is the leftovers! I reserved one container for Weeks in the freezer for quick meals, and we also have one container in the fridge for a meal or two this week. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Few New Purchases Lately



I popped into Ann Taylor last week when I was out running some last minute errands to get ready for my brother-in-laws wedding. I really lucked out with some awesome deals. I thought these would be perfect for this time of the year and I don't have any in this pretty tan color. Guess how much they set me back? $17.99. Everything was additional 40% off and is right now too! 



I scored these for $26.99 with my additional 40% off in store. They are cheaper in store than online. I think they are perfect for transitioning into fall. The longer I look at them, the more I love them! I bought the taupe, but they are so pretty in black too!

I haven't bought a pair of Sevens in a long time. I just felt like they were all looking the same, feeling the same. However, I am in love with these Slim Illusions. Not only do they look good, they feel even more amazing. Nothing is worse than a pair of jeans that aren't comfortable and you are stuck in them all day. My favorite pair in a while!


But since most sizes are sold out, I think these would be just as fabulous. I think they might be next on my list! They look amazing with those heels too.

Happy Tuesday and Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Little Inspiration

It's been a while since I've done one of these. But they always speak to my heart! I've always been drawn to quotes- even reading them once can make an impact. When I was little I used to cut them out of magazines or write them down for later. Now, thank goodness, I have dear old pinterest for that. Just a little thought for your day. And if you have an inspirational board on pinterest I'd love to know about it! XO.

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