Friday, March 27, 2015

Life, Thoughts, and Stuff

I'm running somewhere between a list of ten things I want to post about and equally parts lack of inspiration, writer's block.

- I want to do another Sister/Sister post since it's been a good 3+ months since my last and that's typically how far they've been spaced.  Although, I've really slacked in picking up my DSLR since the holidays and yesterday my iPhoto crashed and I can't pull the pics from there until I restore it or rebuild it, fun, can't wait!  (pray I didn't lose photos, I back everything up, but I still freak out since I'm not that great with that side of tech stuff)

- I have Kenley's 16 Month update to prepare for next week.  I can't believe she's 16 months, Ashlynn was 19 months when Kenley was born and seemed like such a person.  Although I do remember she wasn't speaking in simple sentences, or barely two words together, she was totally able to communicate and "help" me with the baby.

- Giving up cable has been amazing.  We technically still have a box in our room, but it's going back most likely in a week or two.  Usually we binge watch shows together on the weekend, but it's always been shows we both want to watch.  Not shows, I want to watch.  So now that I'm almost caught back up on The Mindy Project, through The Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt, I've started Scandal - yeah, I know I'm behind and hopefully will throw in some Downton Abbey next.   This may also be why blogging motivation has been down.

- I should probably catch up and document the never-forgetful paint spill scenario, it has "story to be retold" all over it.  I know it's going to be one of those "... and my sister sabotaged my brand new room with a full can of paint" or "hide the paint,  Kenley is coming!".  But really, do they sell toddler insurance??


- We ordered a Pottery Barn sofa for the living/play room back in January, they were having a big sale 20%-25% depending on how much you spend event. We were able to get the Cameron Sofa for an amazing deal. We ordered the everyday velvet in carbon.  While I love a light colored couch, it's just not realistic with two dogs and two kids.  We are trying to train the dogs to say off this one, but still, being that we spend most of the day in the living room, it's going to get it's share of abuse.  It's so soft and comfortable.


- Finally, the winners of the BoomBoom Prints giveaway!  Congratulations to... 
  • Becca Ramsey
  • LaTanya Thornhill 
  • Kim Bauer 

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, we'll be dying some eggs tonight and spending time with our nieces over the weekend. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Insta-spired... Photo Dump

Back for Round 4 of cleaning out my camera roll.  In case you missed previous posts, basically I have a habit of snapping a screen shot of instagrams that inspire me, make me laugh, or something I later want to reference.  Since I need all the gigabytes I can can get for random videos of the girls shakin' it to Iggy, I share my finds here.


@metalmarvels | @houseofjadeinteriors | @juliaryancreates


Have you found any new favorite accounts lately?  Please share them with me!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Girls' Bathroom Update and Giveaway!

Yay! Ashlynn's new room is officially painted, but so is her carpet.  Apparently Kenley wanted to help out and while I was vacuuming up the dust before bedtime, she snuck up behind me and pulled the (almost full) gallon of white trim paint over.  All over herself, my beloved Zella leggings, and naturally the carpet.   I'm still recovering from all that, so today we'll talk about a different room.



A few weekends ago we painted the girls' bathroom.   It was a bit spontaneous, but we didn't have enough time to take on the bedroom, so we just grabbed some leftover paint from our master and got it done in day, taking turns watching the kids.

It was previously the color of eggplant and before that, it was teal.  We know since you could still see areas that weren't painted or that had chipped. However, a good majority of the white tile was covered in purple, so there's that.  Oh and the windowsill was randomly asparagus green.  We primed, painted, and scrubbed the tile floor and had ourselves an almost new bathroom for free.

We still would like to make some thrifty updates to complete the space and have it be a bit special for the girls, without being obnoxious for guests.


I was recently introduced to BoomBoom Prints, a new start up that's connecting parents with graphic designers and other artists.  The site allows independent artists to simply upload artwork, then BoomBoom Prints turns their work into family-oriented products like onesies, baby bibs, and wall art.  The wall art comes in a variety of sizes, canvases, or even matted and framed.   While I have a tendency to avoid things that are overly of the moment, I completely fell for this Stella Flamingo print.  Ashlynn loves "Feen-go-gos" and of course, the pop of pink is perfect for a girls bath.  The orange accents and splatter style print keep it from making the space feeling overly juvenile, which is nice for when guests are staying over.  






We still plan on painting the existing double vanity either charcoal or black, attempting a DIY roman shade, getting a runner for in front of the sinks, and finding a brighter shower curtain.  I'm hoping that the biggest expense comes in the form of taking down the current mirror and replacing it with a more modern option. 



Ordering my BoomBoom Print was super easy, I searched through tons of different prints before making my decision and once I did, my order was printed on high quality 100lb matte stock paper, shipped for free, and it arrived in just a few days.  Now that it's framed it's hard to tell that it's even a print and not an original work - the husband actually thought I painted it at first!

BoomBoom Prints would like to giveaway three $10 coupon codes to their site to Strawberry Swing and Other Things readers who would like to enter the giveaway below!  Good luck and Happy Monday!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five

Just a little Five Things "Currently" style...



Watching

I just finished binging on the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Any 30 Rock, or just general Tina Fey, fans will love this show. It totally fills the comedic void 30 Rock left behind.  Ellie Kemper is perfect as the bubbly fish out of water and Jane Krakowski basically is still playing Jenna Maroney.  The quotable jokes are right on point totally recommend the Netflix binge.


Reading

A few months back I went a 'coffee table book' spree and stocked up on a bunch of books I wanted to read, but also wanted to keep.  As in, not download on to my kindle.  Through some Camel Camel Camel price watching and resale buying, I have quite the stack on my nightstand.  I most recently finished The Perfectly Imperfect Home.  It's written by the founding editor of Domino Magazine and has some really great styling tips, a lot of which I realized I see all the time on some of my favorite design sites, but never realized them as a 'rule'.  The book also has the greatest watercolor interior illustrations and also a lot of history and education on interior design.  The Nesting Place is next on my list.

Moving

My rear.  I'm using the YouTube app on our Roku to watch Tone It Up videos. I'm actually doing them too, not just watching.  Of course, Kenley is usually sitting on me and Ashlynn is trying to keep up, but Malibooty or bust.



Painting

Ashlynn's room.  I picked up the paint today, Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore, and plan on clearing out as much as I can from the guest room tomorrow.  We will have this room painted this weekend, March Madness be damned!



Debating

We just got a quote for our kitchen reno, and while we aren't surprised, we aren't sure if we want to dive into another large renovation so soon after doing the bathroom.  The kitchen is a major eyesore, but it does function without any issue.  The husband just wants to go ahead, but I'm thinking we spend less and try to make some moves on the living and dining rooms.  We want to finish laying hardwoods in there and, hello, we still don't have a dining table.  I'd love to get this one, it's extremely affordable for an extendable farmhouse style dining table, and even if the quality is lower - though it has good reviews - I know the little ones will put it through hell so I'm not really looking to invest in a nice piece right now any way.  Chalk that one up to lessons learned.  We ordered a couch for the living back in January and it's scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, so I'd love to keep with the momentum and have those two spaces finished so to speak since that'd be a bit easier to swallow financially than the kitchen renovation.  Plus, we could take our time so it wouldn't be a giant hit all at once.

Happy weekend, friends!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bunny Hop


Yesterday was the St. Patty's Day that wasn't.  Kenley wasn't even in green, save her tiny little bow she ripped out.  We celebrated with store bought (yet delicious) soda bread and some green beans at dinner.   Ashlynn was at least shamrock ready for school, but overall, this was the first St. Patrick's Day in a long time that we didn't do much, that's okay.   We still enjoyed reading Green Eggs and Ham at bed.


I was able to get all our sale items dropped off after I dropped A off at school.  I scored some awesome chinoiserie ginger jars at a local thrift shop.  Can't wait to get them up, after I get the St.Patty's decor taken down.

The weather is supposed to turn this weekend, but it's been so nice the past few days.  I can't wait for Spring to really arrive. Blue skies and warm sunshine is definitely what is needed around here.

Ashlynn's headboard, bedding, and sheets arrived, just need to get the mattress ordered and room painted.  She's going to love all the bunny stuff I've been collecting.

Speaking of bunnies, I'm dying over these shoes!





Guess it's time to tell the Easter Bunny to get the Easter baskets in order!



Monday, March 16, 2015

Alive!

Wooo-weeee.  It's been a week around here.  Kenley had an ear infection, which Ashlynn trumped by having her sniffles turn into her random night time high fevers. Doctor couldn't find a cause so we just did a lot rest, fluid, tylenol, peppermint oil, and cold wash cloths to the head.   And a lot of skipped sleep from mom.

This is the second month she's gotten random fevers at night and then been almost fine during the day, and the fevers are actually scary high.  Thankfully that ended, but my bout with the flu began.  Down and out Friday and Saturday, hard.

Ashlynn had a full weekend of birthday parties, only the second I attend, which might have wiped me out as much as her.  Today I volunteered at my local Just Between Friends sale helping with set up and then finishing tagging all my items that I'll run back tomorrow.  This is my first time selling with Just Between Friends, and while I haven't shopped at an event and don't plan to attend ours, if you are looking to buy or sell baby or children's items definitely check one out if they are in your area.  I have been really impressed with how ours has been put on and how smoothly it all runs.

So that's where I've been - purging our storage space of all things brightly colored and plastic and not moving from my bed.  I'm hoping I have enough time to make some Irish Potatoes in the morning to take in to A's class when I pick her up, but it's not looking good from a motivation stand point.

Hopefully, I'll be back with some redeemable content soon.





*** And while I remember, a reader had previously asked me about consigning hemmed jeans to ThredUp, and I wanted to let them know (and anyone else interested) they did accept mine!***

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

[Review] BOON SUDS - Caution Ahead: Men Doing Housework

A few weeks back I was contacted by my friends at Boon asking if we'd like to test their newest product, a bottle washer.   As I was reading the email, I was already writing out my reply email in my head, regretfully declining the opportunity as we are out of the bottle washing phase.  Of course, as I continued reading I saw that it was designed with the contraption at bar sinks in mind.. and that it would wash sippy cups and even stemware just as great as baby bottles.


The Boon SUDS bottle washer is marketed as follows:


And then, it hit me!  Almost every night, I have to listen to my husband bitch about the insane amount of sippy cups piled up for him to wash at the edge of the sink.  It's usually four, a water and milk cup for each girl, give or take if I found any floaters in the car or playroom from the previous day.  Considering I'm the one filling them up all day, washing their plates, bowls, and tiny spoons, as well as wiping butts (totally playing that card), he can pitch in by rinsing and washing a few cups when he gets home.  And that's when I realized this product was the perfect for him!  Something to make his nightly cup washing a bit easier, and therefore, here is his review!



My wife can attest to the fact that I'm a world class complainer, and one of the things I used to complain about most was coming home after a long day at the office to a sink full of dirty cups and bottles.  That is my only chore during the week and I admit that it was not one of my favorite things.  I could never understand how two kids could use more than 3-4 cups in a single day.  Well one night my wife looked up from her laptop (a surprise in itself) and said, I just made your life so much easier.  I said, tell me more about that.  And she told me about this awesome product that Boon recently came out with that makes washing cups and bottles easy.  I was excited to try something that would make shoving my average sized man hands into a tiny plastic cup to scrub easier, and more importantly, faster.  


I have sports stats to catch up on.



We've been purchasing Boon products since the girls were little, so I know they come out with items that look modern and actually work well.  Once I got my hands on this SUDS product, I was convinced that my days of coming home and complaining about my only chore were over.  It really is as simple as it's marketed.  Put some soapy water in the basin and cup on the pump, and get to cleaning.  Water shoots up into the cup while the bristles scrub the sides.  



The more you wash, the more suds are created.  Which is a nice place to corral all the ridiculous amount of pieces that sippy cups come with.   I'm also told it's quick and easy to put together and store away, as well as dishwasher safe.  

This is a great product and it is incredibly easy and effective.  Thank you Boon for making my life better and easier!




A big thanks to the husband for always cleaning the sippies, reading the bedtime stories, and writing this review.  Now excuse me, I'm off to pour my man a glass of wine!

Thanks Boon for my the husband's surprise!


Additionally, I think I have discovered a new marketing angle to promote.... if models can sell cheeseburgers by rolling around on wet cars in bikinis, I think Boon might spike in sales if they advertise men washing sippy cups in business attire?  Amiright?!  ;)


*****
Boon graciously sent us the SUDS bottle washer for our review, all opinions and experiences are solely our own. Boon SUDS can be found exclusively at Target and Target.com.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Master Bath Renovation

Our master bath renovation started back in early December and like most jobs, it didn't finish until close to the end of January. Either way, it turned out pretty damn close to planned.  

We ended up keeping our previous (and a bit dated) soaking tub mostly to save money.  Everything else was demo'd, even the beadboard wainscoting.  We have a vaulted ceiling so painting it ourselves would have been nearly impossible, without renting scaffolding.  And since the back wall was faux finished with navy blue paint, we didn't really want to deal with getting the coverage right, so we called in a pro to paint this room. Money well spent, he did a fantastic job.

Our vanity and mirror were a combination item we got from Home Depot on sale.  I found the same vanity on Wayfair (for way more) without the mirror, here.  We used Mohawk porcelain tile in Whiskey Oak for the floor and we love the wood look, with tile practically.  We replaced shower and tub surround with H-Line 3x6 subway style ceramic tile with a gray grout for contrast.  (I think it's Silverado, but I'd have to double check!)  We had the shower glass custom fit and while we loved our frameless glass doors in our last house's master bath, we couldn't stomach the cost.  We just went with brushed nickel framed glass, easy and fairly cheap all things considered. 

We finished it off with a light fixture is from Shades of Light, bamboo roman blind, and behind the door towel hooks.  I still want to add in some art and decorative pieces, basket or ladder for clean towels, but it's functional and no longer an eye sore.






I couldn't find a before, but this was before the room was painted.  Such a difference!




Friday, March 6, 2015

Five Things

Happy Friday.  Somehow over the course of the week we've gone from dealing with Ashlynn's sniffles, finding out Kenley has an ear infection, and then me catching germs somewhere along the way of not sleeping and becoming a human tissue, I finally got my first cold of the winter.  I had plans for more posts this week, but naps won out.

Granted, there is probably somewhere in the ballpark of fresh 8" of snow outside, but Ashlynn is finally fitting in 3T sizes and we have no spring or warm weather clothing waiting for her.  I mean, who knows when she'll actually be able to wear them.  Trying hard over here to resist the current Gap Sale, 40% for card members with code SPRING and 30% with code BLOOM.    


We are planning on painting the guest room/Ashlynn's new room this weekend.   I am so excited for her room to come together.  I am about 99% certain we'll be using Benjamin Moore Classic Gray... I'm sure my parents and in-laws will be so surprised.  This room is my point of inspiration.  



The white and gray Ashlynn requested, true story.  The purple she loves, just add bunnies. 
We still need to order the mattress, but we did order the headboard this week.  
I also decided since we are spending (more than) our budget on the bed and basically trying to figure out the rest with as spending as little as possible.  So in the DIY spirit, I attempted to paint a canvas for her room.  I really should take some classes to learn real technique, but it was still fun to play around.  As if I don't have enough hobbies...


Why can I never think of a fifth??  Off to take Happy Spring Forward Weekend, looking forward to "spring" like temps nearing the 50s.  Hope everyone enjoys the (hopeful) last hurrah of winter!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kenley Drew - 15 Months





Well, 15 months have come and gone.  We have quite the independent and curious toddler on our hands who just longs to be like her big sister.    She had her 15m check up on Monday and clocked in at 20lb 15oz (44%), 30.25" (35%), and not sure the head, but 25%, which is basically the exact curve she's been on, so growing steadily along.  She also has a surprise ear infection.  She has been cutting her molars, so she's been a bit clingy this past week, but she really hasn't had any other symptoms.  She had a day or two of a low grade fever, 100 and less, and no cold symptoms.  I just assumed the attachment to mama was because of her teeth not her ears.  Of course today her nose was a faucet, but she's on antibiotics, hopefully she'll feel better soon.



Says:
Not going to keep up with the list now that her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds.  Still lots of pointing and grunting/mumbling, and most words are probably only distinguishable to me, but I can completely make out her requests for yogurt (gurt/go-gurt... while trying her hardest to open the fridge), blueberries (boo, boo), or bananas (ban... while trying to climb the kitchen chairs to get them from the bowl on the table).  She also correctly and enthusiastically nods her head 'yes' and shakes her head 'no' to communicate her needs.  Speaking of communication, while she doesn't enjoy diaper changes, she does like being my helper.  She'll reach for the wipes packet and I'll ask her to open it, give me one, and close it and she obliges.    It's probably more of a routine than actually counting, but it's cute and helps her lay still.

Does:
She's starting to enter the phase where she likes sorting shapes and attempting puzzles with a bit more effort.  I always try to get Ashlynn to "help" her, but naming the colors or shapes since it's good for both of them and Kenley just wants to be with A at all times.   She's a climber, constantly climbing on stools, chairs, sitting on her play table, dancing on the coffee table (too soon!).  Going down the slide backwards, on her tummy, or any other daredevil activities.  Also learning to go down the stairs, the problem is she just wants to back up when at the bottom.


Loves:  Basically everything from last month still applies. Music. Loves dancing.. specifically swirling her hips like she has a hula hoop.   She also spins in circles and loves getting dizzy, she'll also drop it low to "Black Widow".   Still obsessed with brushing her teeth.  When we are upstairs, as soon as I turn my back she's making a mad dash for her bathroom and climbing up the stool reaching for the toothbrushes.  She also likes to brush her hair.  Dress up, even though she trips over most of the princess dresses.  Still loves Mickey, teddy bears, and people in general. 

She also LOVES books.  She'll sit snuggled in my lap for long stretches of time if I keep reading to her.  She also loves bathtime.

Sleeps:
Hit or miss.  On average, I still have to go in once or twice either just for a paci grab or a few minute cuddle.  But occasionally she wake more, or even sleep through the night.  Naps are in transition still.  Depending on the previous night's sleep, she'll take one or two. 



Eats:
Loves blueberries and bananas.  Turkey (ground or deli), peas, green beans, and peanut butter.  Also bean quesadillas, waffles, egg salad, pizza, mac and cheese.  And yogurt.


Does not like American cheese, is seriously offended if you offer it to her, not a fan of pasta either. Who are you?




The girls really have started playing together more recently.  Of course, there is still plenty of crying, grabbing, and occasional pushing, but they really seem to enjoy each other's company even if just sitting side by side playing with princesses, puzzles, or making a mess together of the dress up bin.  Kenley is never too far behind Ashlynn, and the sweet hugs and kisses they'll give each (when playing nice) melts me every time.

Love these girls.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Master Makeover

What a weekend.

We had a Friday date night, just in the knick of time to keep us two for two with getting out once a month.  Saturday I met my friend for lunch and shopping at Nordstrom Cafe, my favorite mall spot.  Food is so good and it's usually never packed like rest of the restaurants on weekends.  And Sunday we finally painted the girls bathroom.  I don't even know where to start describing that mess, but let's just say the primer was a big improvement.  It's fully painted and deep cleaned (hallelujah) so now all we need to do is paint the vanity.

The only room left to pain in the whole house is the guest room that's about to be Ashlynn's new room.  Only took two years, but feels good to have that accomplished.  

Anyway,  as promised, here are some shots of the master bedroom.  Of course I'll start with some pictures from the house listing so you can see the before and after, ridiculous right? You can check this post for more shots, prior to painting.  And I'm also including the "unfinished" areas (or eyesores) to keep it real.


The After....

headboard | duvet | throw | ottoman (similar)

lamp and frames - Target sold out


gold frame - Home Goods






We still need to hang this mirror up, found at Home Goods.


I want to hang some picture ledges in that corner, maybe a small plant. 


And now, the 'problem area'... woof.  This spot prob needs it's own post.  But trust, it's going.




And there you have it.  An almost makeover.  I hope everyone had a great weekend!