Friday, February 17, 2017

Calm and Coastal Dining Room with Minted Art

Our home is finally coming together and starting to feel like a cozy home with our personal touch on it.  For so long, we just had our belongings placed randomly here and there from our effort to unpack, but nothing felt like it was in place. Since the holidays are long over and all the decor is packed away, I've slowly been more thoughtful about what we need to finish off our spaces.   Of course, I'm still in the midst of finishing our kitchen cabinet paint job, but I finally got a hold on the dining room.  

This room is just immediately to your right when you walk in our home.  It's small, but serves it purpose even if we don't eat in there regularly.  We used our old kitchen table since the dimensions fit nicely and it would have been too big for our breakfast nook.  I dug out a mirror and some sconces that I had packed away since we moved from our townhouse four years ago.  I always wanted to use them in our previous dining room, but we never got a table for the room and it remained empty for the whole time we lived there...  which might be why I wanted to finish this one so bad!

We installed the new light fixture the weekend we moved in and it works perfectly with the vibe of the room.  You know I'm a sucker for all things coastal, bright, and textured.  I love mixing wood tones, greenery, and my classic blue and white porcelain.  We painted below the chair rail a bright white and still have framing out the wainscoting on our to-do list.  The paint above is BM Lily White, and it definitely is more of a light blue than white!  It feels bright and adds color without being too saturated or too blue. 

We ended up placing our industrial bookcase in the dining room since our buffet fit nicely in our kitchen and we already had a built in in our great room.  It was a little difficult to style, but we are getting there. I flanked each side with a black and white edited iPhone pic of the girls from our visits to the beach.  I love the personal touch of family photos without them being too family photoshoot. The black frames fit right in with the wrought iron light fixture, bookcase, and Pottery Barn sconces. I'm on the lookout for a plant stand and a fern to fill in the back corner.  And I would really love to find or build a bench for the front side of the dining table, if you spot a seagrass one let me know!  It would really help lighten it up.  Add some seating and move the two chairs to the head of the table. I also think it will make the table a bit more inviting from when you walk in the door or other direction from the kitchen.

Over by our window, we hung a set of breezy white curtains and placed our old wine bar.  This was one of our very first furniture purchases together and for an assemble yourself Crate & Barrel piece, it's held up quite nicely over the last nine years. It fits perfectly in the space and is a great way to keep our wine bottles, stemware, and bar tools nicely organized and stored in an accessible spot.  Let's just say the upper shelves of 42" cabinets are not a 5'2" girl's best friend.  It's also the perfect space for styling vignettes. 

A collection of items we've had on hand came together so nicely with our brand new art.  I have been selecting abstract art that evokes the sea on my inspiration boards for ages, I was so happy when I finally was able to pick a piece from Minted's Art Marketplace.  I love that Minted supports independent artists and is frequently adding new offerings.  In fact, the print I chose, Neptune by Julia Contacessi, is a limited edition which is always something special and unique.

I love the colors and movement in the print.  I wasn't sure if I wanted it matted or with a border, but I kind of love the full bleed paired with the thin matte brass frame. The mixed metal definitely keeps the room from all being all matchy and provides a bit of extra texture and color and pairs so lovely with the artwork itself.

Honestly, this print could have worked in so many spaces in our home since we are carrying the coastal vibe throughout, but I'm so happy I was able to finish off this space.  Especially since it's the first view guests see when stepping through the door.  The 24x24" size is perfect for the space and it was ready to hang when it arrived.  Easy peasy. Perfect.

Oh and because we all love a good before and after...

Do you have a space you are dying to finish off in your home?  Is there a certain style of art you'd love to own?  Check out Minted's fine art selection this weekend and take advantage of Free Shipping with code SHIPFREE.

**Disclosure: I received a credit to Minted to facilitate my personal experience and honest review**

Monday, February 13, 2017

BeautyCounter, Rodan +Fields, and Other Things Your Friends Try to Sell You

A few weeks ago I came across this article on Refinery29 and sent it to my friends.  You see, while I have some weird personal aversion to joining a MLM (multi level marketing) company and selling products to my friends, I do however purchase a lot of products from these companies and absolutely LOVE them.  I've gone over some in the past, but I thought I'd give another ringing endorsement for things I've found that I love - that in no way, shape or form, benefits me through sales, commissions, click throughs, etc.  These opinions and experiences are truly my own!

(last bit was tongue in cheek, friends... but seriously, this is an honest non-sponsored review.  I am however plugging my girlfriends who sell these lines, because if it wasn't for their persistence, I wouldn't have become a fan myself and they are my girls so I love to help them out.  If you are looking for more information feel free to reach out them, they are more than excited to help convert you into becoming a believer too.)

A new to me line that I've seen blogged about for a good year or so is Beautycounter.  I first noticed some of their makeup - the SkinTint and Lipsticks - popping up in some lifestyle/fashion bloggers haul posts, then I noticed a line carried at Target.  I didn't even realize this was a network marketing company until six months ago.  When I learned about the company's mission, I was hooked the same why I was and am with brands like Honest Company and SoCozy.  I will do anything to minimize my and my family's risk to cancer causing pollutants and nasty chemicals.  Beautycounter is 'committed to a health and safety standard that goes beyond the requirements of the U.S. law.  More than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals have been banned from their products offered, and yet the company ensures these products will perform and are as indulgent as any other beauty or skincare item in the market.'  That's a mission I'd love to support, and I'm a big believer in backing (buying) products from company's you believe in.

While, I have been using Rodan + Fields skincare for a few years now, more below, I have been really interested in Beautycounter's makeup line.  I don't wear too much make up to begin with, but it's something I would love to switch over to brands who use more natural ingredients. One of my closest friends, Sarah, sent me the beloved Skin Tint Foundation, in linen, to test drive when I told her I was interested after she signed up to be consultant.  I was a afraid the color would be a bit too dark for my winter skin, but it blended so nicely.  I'm not a liquid foundation lover, but this make up wears more like a BB Cream or tinted moisturizer.  It's not heavy and while it smoothed my complexion it wasn't cakey or thick at all.  Perfect for when I want a bit more coverage for a night out.

Sarah also sent me the charcoal mask to try.  I had tried one from Ulta and years ago won a MAC one through an old fashioned blog giveaway, so I knew I would love this one too. My skin feels clean, smooth, and exfoliated after 10 minutes of use.  And it's always fun to scare the kids ;)

Lastly, I've been using the Lip Conditioner in Peppermint, and am obsessed.  I keep it with me all the time and I've stopped using most of my chapsticks.  It gives my lips a nice gloss finish, and keeps them soft and moisturized.  I've been letting the girls use it too (with my help, because I refuse to let them steal it all), but considering they basically put on so much chapstick it could be considered a snack, I'm glad they are using something made naturally with safe ingredients.  And their lips are shiny like mommy's too!   If you are looking for more information about the line, check out the website or email Sarah!

I've had some readers/friends reach out in the past asking about my experience with Rodan + Fields and two and half years later I'm still going strong in using their products daily.  I will say the Rodan + Fields sellers, my friends, definitely fill up enough my facebook feed that I would consider hiding their posts, but it's true, the products work!  The Refinery29 article mentions the Redefine line, which I personally cared for a bit less than the Reverse line I'm currently using now for the third time, but I still enjoyed the products especially the PM face cream.  I just need a bit more help in skin tone evenness and dark spot control than I do wrinkles.

Earlier this year, they released a second reverse line. The original is the Reverse Brightening focused on evening and brightening complexions and the new one is a Lightening line focused on dark spots, age spots, and patches.  I already have my order ready to go when I run out of the products I am using now.  I'm so glad they altered the regimen to include these products because it's exactly what I need. You can see my first experience with Reverse, two years ago, in the picture and post linked above. Below is my progress from the last 4 weeks, since starting back up after taking a good six month break due to laziness -oops!   The change is minimal in photos, but what I notice most so far is less visible wrinkles and a more even skin tone.

I've also been using the Micro-dermabrasion Paste which is super comparable to Philosophy's Microdelivery Peel.  The R+F tub is about twice the price for non perks members, but it's at least twice the size (2oz vs 4.2oz).  I use it about twice a week and it really helps slough off any dead dry skin.  I purchased it back in June and still have close to half the jar left. I also use the Eye Cream and the SPF25 Lip Shield. The lip shield is a classic chapstick compared to Beautycounter's lip conditioner, tube vs pot, but for days at the playground or pool it's the best way to help protect my skin. With all the sun damage I inflicted in my teens, SPF is my bestest friend these days in my 30s.  The eye cream is thick and creamy, not greasy too light, and absorbs quickly.

Lastly, I love my DoTerra oils.  I have my own account set up and refill whatever it is I need when my supply gets low.  I'm not a crazy oil lady who diffuses every day in every room, but I do love using oils for health - I pop a OnGuard capsule as soon as I feel a tickle in my throat, and use the OnGuard oils on the girls when sickies are going around at school.  The peppermint has proven to me to be a fever reducer and I have used hand in hand with tylenol when the girls can't seem to shake a fever with meds alone.  Breathe blend is another savior for when the girls are congested and wake themselves from coughing fits or can't breathe through their stuffy noses.  And of course lavender is used almost nightly to help with a good night's sleep.  Whether rubbed on feet with a rollerball bottle or a few drops in body lotion after a bath.

I also love using the lavender rollerball to help soothe bug bites in the summer or even over scrapped knees and boo-boos to heal faster.  Lemon essential oil is my work horse in the kitchen keeping my counters and stovetop sparkling clean and neutralizing any stink coming from the garbage disposal or trash can.  I use a lot more, but those are definitely my go-to keep on hand oils and blends.

Overall, the side hustle game is strong in 2017.  Voodoo oils, skincare, stretchy pants, or protein shakes, smelly candles; you name it, you most likely have a facebook friend selling it!  For a long time I saw it as people looking to shill possibly questionable products as a way to line their own pockets, similar to students selling wrapping paper or chocolate bars to fundraise (ie, junk I don't need, but feel obligated to buy).  And when your friend is asking you to support their venture, it's sometimes really hard to say 'no thanks' and not think that they should just cut back on the Starbucks if they are looking for some extra income.  However, I now see these products and companies are more than a way make some side cash.  I've learned a lot of these products are worth the hype, and when you are going to buy a lipstick or sunscreen regardless, wouldn't you rather support a friend?  I can't say every network marketing product out there is a winner, but these are few I'm happy to throw my support behind.  I definitely suggest reaching out to your friends you see non-stop posting and ask them what it's all about!

Do you sell for a network marketing company?  I would love to hear about some lesser known products or experiences you might have had either using products or working for a company like this!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Life Lately

Just a little non staged, life as is, no filters here shot of the kitchen.  Cabinets are slowly coming along, need to get the last two cabinet doors up and get to work on the lowers.  It's amazing how much brighter the kitchen feels at night.  Almost as if we switched the light bulbs.

Today Ashlynn was her classroom's Mystery Reader.  We've been working hard on her reading skills and her class has really been preparing them for Kindergarten with their sight words, CVC patterns, rhyming words, and looking at context clues.  Ashlynn had switched classrooms less than a month ago (there was an opening in the pre-K program we weren't able to enroll in when we first moved down here), and she's come so far in just a few short weeks.  When she first switched over and I heard kids were reading, I was super impressed and a bit nervous she was behind.  A teacher had recommended the BOB Books working for her son, so I ordered one set and picked up another on a yard sale site and they really are amazing if you are working with a pre-reader.   Ashlynn is really starting to master them, as well as her daily reading at school, and today she was brave enough to read her book to the class.

Over the weekend the girls had their Winter Exhibition for gymnastics, they did awesome and now are super excited for Spring soccer.  I'm a little excited too, since I get to coach Kenley's team!  I can't promise I can coach U5 to a championship, but hopefully they'll all have some fun as the no doubt all chase the ball at the same time.  Wish me luck herding cats.