Saturday, October 3, 2015

PSA for Deal Hunters - Hunter Boots on Sale!

Just a friendly weekend update to alert anyone in need of tiny rainboots, perhaps the entire East Coast?, Ashlynn's glossy red Hunter's are currently 25% Off.  Hunter Boots rarely even get marked down, so the time to buy is during Friends & Family or price matching events. 

(The classic red and navy are also included as well as women's original tall in raspberry and sky blue)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Five Reads Friday

Most of you know I kind of have a small obsession with children's book.  Reading them, hoarding them, gifting them, and probably worst offender of wishlisting them - can't own them all!

Since I come across so many great reads, I really love sharing them here - whether holiday themed, on sale, old classics, or even just by decorative power.  Instead of the usual Friday Five post, I thought I'd theme my Friday Five into Five Reads, and highlight some of the stories I've come across - whether purchased, checked out of library, or added to my Amazon wishlist. In hope it inspires you to check them out for your little ones.

This is Sadie - Sadie is a little girl with a big imagination and a love of books.  Will help children learn to be inspired by stories and create their own adventures.

Max the Brave - Currently 53% OFF it's listed price for a hardback!  Story about a brave little cat who likes to chase mice, but doesn't know what mice are.  Goes on a mission asking different creatures if they are mouse, and great for discussing bravery.

For Just One Day - Nine school children are asked if they could an animal for just one day, what would they be and why? Inspiring children to run wild with their imaginations.

Monster Trouble - New release currently over 45% OFF! "Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel - but she DOES need her sleep, and the neighborhood monsters WON'T let her be!  Every night they sneak in, growling and belching and making a ruckus.  Winifred constructs clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures.  What's a girl to do? (Hint: Monsters HATE kisses!)  The delightfully sweet ending will have every kid - and little monster-  begging for an encore." (via amazon)

Waiting -  Another new release that's also 45% OFF.  Adorable illustrations tell the story of five friends on the windowsill waiting for different things to happen.  Great for early preschool ages to learn about dreaming and waiting.  

What's your current favorite children's book?  I'd love to add it to my (enormous) list!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Random Recent-ish Buys Round Up

Just thought I'd share some of the random purchases I've made over the last few weeks.  I love seeing what everyone else scores (on sale) so I thought maybe some of you would like to see what's new too!

While I love Christmas jammies, especially these and these, I have a hard time actually using them past the holiday.  I love Gap pajamas, but I'm not crazy about the prices.  Thankfully the ones I purchased above were already marked down and I was able to get an additional 40%.  I picked up the two pairs from Old Navy for $8 a piece, which is more my style, they just don't hold up as well.  I'm always thinking about the hand me down factor - at least when buying for Ashlynn.

Right now Gap is offering 40% off for cardholders, code thanku, and 35% off, code love, on all regular priced items. Anddddd, Ebates is offering 8% cash back so don't forget to use that too!

Back in August, I ordered both these heels for $100 (total) to try for the wedding we had.  I had rented my dress through Rent the Runway for $30 and decided since I was saving so much money by not buying a dress, I'd finally get a new pair of dressy heels.  The black heels I typically wear were at least 8 years old and any others I have are just too uncomfortable to deal with - you guessed it, bridesmaid shoes!  I wasn't sure which color would look better with the dress so I ordered both the week before and plan to return the ones I didn't wear.  Turns out I loved them both so much and was blown away at how comfortable they were I kept them both.  Seriously, I had low expectations on comfort, but was just amazed.  5 stars for price, style, and comfort!

I also ordered a ficus pandurata bush, aka a fiddle leaf fig bush, because I saw they were back in stock on Home Depot when I was ordering the mirrors and fixtures for the girls' bathroom.  I figured for $16 if I can only keep it alive for a few months it won't hurt and if it somehow does live, then best $16 spent because we could really use some friendly house plants around here.

Even though I really liked bullet journaling for my planner this year, I still like to have monthly calendar to reference schedules, appointments and plans.  While I know the Emily Ley/Erin Condren thing isn't for me, I was having trouble deciding between the beautiful but still pricy Rifle Paper Co, Shop, and something like a Lilly Pulitzer or Kate Spade.  After trying to find out as many details as I could online and some price comparing, I ordered the Lilly Pulitzer planner for $22 on Amazon, and it's perfect.

Lastly, I ordered two cook books from Amazon as well, Everyday Detox and Sheet Pan Suppers.  I don't mind cooking, but I need easy recipes that don't require too much prep or attention.  I'm a big fan of my crockpot, but hopefully the sheet pan suppers will be a nice change up.  The Everyday Detox has a great premise behind it and how to truly eat naturally, but thankfully the other isn't encouraging that unless it's what you want, but just sharing great healthy recipes.

So tell me, what have you bought lately!

*affiliate links used

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Life Lately

Aside from painting vanities and kitchen cabinets, life has totally gotten back into the school year groove around here.  A is in preschool two days a week with gymnastics and soccer as her "extracurricular" activities and K is my carpool sidekick and we started our mommy and me gymnastics class.  We keep pretty busy between all the activities and general #momlife nonsense of target and wegmans runs.

Our weekends this month had been filled with fantasy drafts, family birthdays, and neighborhood parties.  We finally had time this weekend to have a family date at the apple orchard followed by a date night out with friends.

similar top | denim | sambas ||  top - gap last winter | denim | boots (ON SALE!)

And with the literal fruits of our labor we made these apple cinnamon muffins, so so good.  Definitely test out that recipe if you have some apples you need to use!  We still have a ton left so I'll probably do an apple pie, some apple cinnamon bread to give away, and maybe some baked apples for a treat.

After the apples, I finally had time to get dolled up for date night!  We met up with my best girl and her boyfriend who we hadn't gone out with since May.  We had to cancel the last plans we had in July, because the ladies of the house all came down with hand, foot, and mouth... and it was awful. So finally we found the time to make it happen.

Speaking of time (har har), JORD was kind enough to send me a handcrafted wooden watch.  It's the Cora style in zebrawood with a turquoise face.  I few years back I had a tortoise watch and while the color of this is a similar style, it's far and away more unique.  The wood is incredibly smooth and just looking at individual links I get put in awe at the detail.  I love the is a perfect watch to wear day to day, but that it can hang on date night too.  The gold detailing and swarovski crystal markers give it a smidge of flash.  The watch is self winding, which means no dead battery!   The men's watches are just as cool, especially if your guy isn't into "jewelry" like mine. 

Unique Watches

And now to schedule next month's venture to the pumpkin patch ;)

FTC Disclaimer:  JORD Watches was kind enough to send me a watch for my review, but all opinions shared are solely my own.  Affiliates links are used in this post.   Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cabinet Inspo...

So I've decided on a color, if I waffle for too long I'll never make a decision and just continue to second guess forever...   While I originally was sold on the two tone tuxedo style cabinets, but I'm now definitely moving in the direction of a dark rich navy which fits my coastal style a bit more.

Happy Weekend Friends!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Whiter and Brighter, Re-Painting Our Cabinets

I finally lit the fire under my ass and started painting cabinets.  I started with our guest bath vanity to test out the paint I wanted to use and my process.  I really didn't want to invest the time into doing the kitchen if it was going to easily chip, scratch, or peel.

I painted the vanity BM Black Iron.  I was so happy with the paint itself, Benjamin Moore Advance, and while we'd love to replace the vanity top, that's a someday project since it's not really a necessity.  We did buy new faucets since one is broken and both are nasty with crazy calcium and lime build up.  Which I know some CLR could take care of, but we just wanted to update the dated ones.  We also have two new mirrors ready to go, but that will also require removing the current giant one and patching the massive hole it's medicine cabinet will leave behind.  Overall, we are happy with the easy upgrades we did to the bathroom without having to do a full renovation.  It feels fresh compared to it's prior sloppy purple self.

I gave myself the deadline of having the kitchen cabinets completed by Christmas.  The husband told me from day one I was on my own repainting the already white cabinets, white.   Which really wasn't a problem aside from the two little rugrats that are attached to my ankles and interrupt even the quickest trip to the bathroom.  As long as they could be entertained or contained, I could get to work without having to stop ten times an hour.  I figured I would break the kitchen down in sections; cabinets closest to the slider, cabinets over the stove, cabinets next to fridge, and island.  I assumed I would only be able to get to one section each weekend, but turns out I caught the painting bug and banged it out in less than 10 days.   I'm pretty obsessed with the refresh and the husband actually admits it looks different and better.  I'm not saying someone who doesn't live here would notice, but we definitely do which is why it was worth it.

The cabinets were painted white by the previous owners, and while they looked nice in pictures, but in reality they were grimy, chipped and banged up.  And when we moved a cabinet from next to the sink to above the mounted microwave it, we had some touch ups to do (above).

I also decided I want to paint the lowers a dark color.  I originally was into the tuxedo black and white look, but I think going with a deep moody navy would be more my personal style and be a touch warmer for the space.  It will also hide all the dog and kid grim and inevitable toy crash chips.

So two weekends ago I started the uppers and finished up this afternoon.   I started by sanding the cabinet doors, with a palm sander, with 120 grit to rough them up a bit to make sure the paint had something to stick to.  I used a sanding block on the frames, which I kept attached to the wall, which didn't pose any issue for me.  After the rough sanding, I wiped the frames with water and vinegar and the doors with Krud Kutter deglosser.  I again used Benjamin Moore Advance paint straight from the shelf in un-tinted white semi gloss.  This alkyd paint acts like an oil based paint, but cleans up with water.  It's self leveling and when left to properly cure between it's not scratching off.  I used a foam roller and small brush to apply and then after drying sanded with a 320 grit sanding block in any areas that weren't even or needed some smoothing before applying the second.

Another step I took was painting our hinges.  We have exposed hinges that are brass, but over the years are more along the lines of "aged brass".  Not quite oil rubbed bronze and definitely dark enough to stick out like a sore thumb.  As much as I'd love to put in hidden hinges, it would be really expensive at $5+ a pop and time consuming drilling all the new holes.  Our pulls and hardware are brushed nickel, so we considered switching to matching hinges, but honestly I just rather not see them at all.  I figured it couldn't hurt painting them, though I'm sure they will eventually chip.  I cleaned the hinges and screws and gave them a few sprays of Rustoleum white gloss paint.  It definitely helps make the cabinets look a bit more seamless.

And a before and after shot...

And the before and after you have to see.... picture from the house listing and picture now.

The kitchen (and house) has definitely been a slow labor of love.  Once I pick a color for the bottom, I'm going to try to get that wrapped up along with finally putting the new pulls on the drawers.  A couple pie shelves for the cabinet next to the window and a DIY roman shade.  Hang with me here!

Insta-spired... Photo Dump #8

It's camera roll round up time!  Aside from all the shots of interiors, all of which completely define my coastal clean esthetic, my favorites include the amazing naked bunny cake - so simple and so adorable, the peanut butter cookie recipe posted along with the picture, and the slip and slide kickball, total genius! 

What have been your favorite IG feeds lately?  Any great ideas you credit to someone else's snaps?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Stitch Fix #8

It's been a while since my last fix, three months.  I usually have my Stitch Fixes scheduled for every 8 weeks, but I decided to push it further and request some Fall and cooler weather items after Labor Day.   In my note to my stylist, I requested mostly casual and washable tops I could wear day to day carting the kids around, errands, cleaning, playdates, etc.  I asked for no more blouses at the moment since I don't get too many chances to really wear the ones I have and I asked specifically for a pair of DL1961 denim.  I haven't bought designer denim since my maternity jeans when I was pregnant with Ashlynn or prior to that.  I've heard good stuff about DL1961 and their patented 4 way stretch denim so I had been wanting to give them a try. 
Over Labor Day weekend I saw on Refinery29 that DL1961's website was offering 40% off.  Since my Fix wasn't scheduled to arrive until after the weekend I decided to order a pair incase a pair wasn't available or I didn't like what they sent me.

So on to my fix....

First up was the Tampa Knit Top by Loveappella ($48). Honestly, I loved this.  A classic gray and white stripe long sleeve basic, the fit and length were great, but I had major beef with the price. While the shirt did have a nice stretch component and bit a boatneck collar, I could easily find a comparable long sleeve tee at J.Crew, Gap, or hell, Target, for cheaper.  I can't justify $50 on a tee. 

Styling Tools

Next was the Bret Raglan Knit Top by Papermoon ($48).  This reminded me immediately of my beloved and overworn Market and Spruce Corinna Sweater.  Heathered blue and gray stripes, 3/4 dolman sleeves, with a high low hem.  I just was too worried about the material.  It was polyblend (yuck) and just felt really cheap. I can imagine it snagging or not washing well, especially since it was handwash only, which doesn't work for me.  Not going to spend the money on something that won't last or I'll regret.

The last top was the Market and Spruce Queensland Dolman Jersey Top ($48).  Apparently this is a big seller because I saw it all over pinterest in a bunch of different colors.  My mother in law actually had it on when we went over for Sunday dinner.   I knew immediately I wouldn't be keeping it.  The jersey knit is really soft and comfortable, but the biggest drawbacks are the color - I rarely wear black because I feel it makes me look ghostly pale, and two it's not my style.  Something about the tight ruching waistline makes it seem like 'clubwear' even though I know it's meant to be worn so the top blouses out.  I do think it would be a cute with boots/booties and a scarf or long pendant necklaces, but just isn't for me.  I'd most likely never touch it.

(For the record, I'd never wear it as pictured in the second photo, only did that so you could see the length and amount of tight fabric since the crummy iphone pictures don't really show detail in a black top)

After the tops I had two pairs of skinny jeans.  My requested DL1961s and a pair about the half the price by Just Black.  I'm glad I two options and two different price points since the DL1961s were at their full retail value. 

Just Black Jimmy Ankle Length Skinny Jean ($88) was just about the perfect length to require zero hemming or folding under. They were soft and very comfortable, a perfect fit size wise, but between to the two pairs I was afraid these would stretch out as they were already a little baggy and loose at the knees.   I really do have a closet full of denim so I'm really trying to make sure I only add pairs that fit well and fill a style void. 

And finally the DL1961 Amanda Skinny Jean in Moscow ($168).  I was hoping the jeans would be a bit cheaper through Stitch Fix,  but they were priced the same as they are in the department stores.  These are a perfect dark rinse wash and fit and feel like a jegging.  They are super stretchy, but don't loose their shape.  In comparison to the pair I ordered from the site, I had sized down as I usually run between two sizes depending on the brand.  They were a bit tighter than I had hoped, but wasn't sure if they would stretch.  I didn't want to exchange or return until I knew if I was getting a pair through Stitch Fix and they sent me the bigger size and they fit like a glove.  They are longer than the pair I ordered from the site a 31" inseam vs a 29", But I'll either cuff them under and just take them to be hemmed since I don't want the extra bulk when cuffing to wear with booties.  In the end, I decided to keep both pairs since I did get such a great deal on the the first and was able to put some of my referral credit towards the Stitch Fix pair.  

I'm glad that I was able to spend the money on something I needed to replace in my closet as opposed to just another top.  I think I'm going to be very specific with my Stitch Fix requests going forward.  If you'd like to sign up and try it for yourself, feel free to use my referral link!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Rodan + Fields Reverse Review

A few weeks ago I shared on instagram that I was starting the Rodan + Fields Reverse regimen.   I've mentioned in the past my hesitancy to purchase products from 'direct marketing' style companies.  However, I really do love my doTERRA oils and when one of my good friends decided to get involved with selling the skincare products, I was all ears in learning a bit more.  I had already seen a handful of bloggers share their experiences and seen lots of insta and facebook posts from those who sell with the before and after transformations.

As a beach baby who wasn't very smart with my skin, I'm already showing sun damage at 32.  It's definitely my skin's trouble area.  On top of that, the evenness of my skin tone really experienced some changes during pregnancy.  It would scar very easily, even the smallest blemish would leave a nasty mark -most of which still haven't completely faded away.  I also noticed for the very first time a sun damage spot literally in Ashlynn's birth photos.  Holding her after labor and noticing, what's the spot on my cheek?  I've always wanted to try a 'serious' strength dark spot corrector product, but I avoided anything like that through nursing, my immediate second pregnancy, and second round of nursing.  Last winter, finally free of sharing my body, I picked up a Burt Bee's Dark Spot Corrector, but after months and months I still saw no difference.

I asked Dena about the Reverse regimen because it's focused on reversing the appearance of brown spots, dullness, and discoloration.  I was skeptical about needing the whole regimen instead of just the dual active brightening complex, but since buying the whole kit is $179 and buying the products individually adds up to $222, I thought I'd just get the most bang for my buck and try them all since I really wanted to see if they lived up to the hype.  It's been a long time since I spent so much on skincare, but perhaps that's why I was looking less then fresh.  While I occasionally mix and match drugstore brands with high end lines, my go to has always been Philosophy, which turns out, getting four comparable products from them is just over $200. Thankfully, Dena was able to hook me up with some extra discounts which was awesome.

I showed a sneak peak a few weeks back at the difference after 2 weeks of use.  My initial reactions, like as in the first three days, was that I felt my skin was glowing and noticeably softer.

(2 weeks of use)

The regimen is made up of four products.  The exfoliating wash is nice, it doesn't lather like crazy, but is fine enough that it doesn't feel like you are scrubbing your face with sand either.  It definitely feels good for using twice a day.  The toner is typically a product I always skip, though I know it's crucial in prepping your skin to absorb any treatments and moisturizers after or balancing your skin's PH level.  The dual active brightening complex is made of up of two separate items, vitamin c and retinol.  A pea size amount mixed together to activate and it will diminish wrinkles and lessen the appearance of uneven skin tone. A few days into using the products, I was thinking they should make a hand cream to help the aging on the back of my hands, but then realized why don't I mix the two on the back of my hand instead of my palm.  There is definitely a difference in texture and appearance between my left and right hands. The final step is a SPF 50+ sunscreen that goes on like a moisturizer and protects my skin especially when using the brightening complex.  It's lightweight and non-greasy, I usually am able to put my make up on immediately after.

So on to the final 8 week face shots.  Again, my apologies for so much face.  It's really the last thing I want plastered on the web, but the before and afters are definitely what piqued my interest in the products in the first place.

While the changes aren't insane, I definitely notice less freckles/dark spots and reduction in the wrinkles and fine lines.  Which considering I did this during the summer while still getting sun exposure, is pretty good.  I still have plenty of product left.  The two tube third step (dual action brightening complex) is the only item I notice getting low, but still far from empty.  I'm assuming I'll get a solid three months of twice daily use on all the products.

I'm considering trying the Redefine regimen next to work a bit more on some of my wrinkles and I'm definitely pouncing on the multi function eye cream.  Seriously, check out this before and after!

If anyone is interested in learning more about the products or would like to place an order, please feel free to reach to my girl Dena or check out the Solution Tool for a quick way to see which products would be best for you.  Anyone who signs up as a preferred customer receives 10% off and free shipping and she has some other promotions going on as well.  She can definitely explain more about that!

So there you have it, a satisfied customer who now understands the hype.  I'll be sure to keep up with any other products I try to show any changes with them.