Monday, October 20, 2014

moral of the story - use a tape measure

I mentioned recently that I found a couch that I just loved and had my heart set on, well - that dream was crushed. Ha! Tip of advice when purchasing a home - measure your room before looking at couches. Not only was my dream of the particular couch I wanted crushed, but my dream for a sectional in general was crushed. Sigh.  I totally had my heart set on a nice sectional, because I just love the comfort of them, especially when there is more than one person on the couch with you! So with that said, the hunt for a new set up began this weekend.
After sitting in my house on the floor measuring for about a half hour or more I came to the realization that pretty much the best option was to get a larger sofa and a side chair, because that's what would fit best with still allowing for an openness within the room. WAHHH. BUTTTT - don't worry, I'm okay with this now, even though I may have shed a tear. hahaha. A local furniture store helped me out to the point where I feel like I owe them dinner of some sort or at least an invitation to my housewarming party. We looked through tons of catalogs and pulled up various sofas on their computer for a closer look and I finally settled on one that I truly love.
So not only did I not get a sectional, but I also didn't purchase one in the color I originally planned for either. Without further ado .. my new sofa -

I love it. Truly. It's not at all what I had envisioned from the get-go but the tuft pillows and the slightly curved arms are totally my style and scream contemporary yet girly at the same time. Now the throw pillows those are absolutely hideous and will immediately go into some pillow covers I am purchasing, most likely through Etsy or even at IKEA!
Now the next piece I am absolutely dying over. I wasn't sure at first if it would be "too" much for the room, almost like I was trying too hard or if it would over power the sofa, but I really think once the pillows are changed to a more modern print and throwing this comfy, furry throw I just bought at IKEA over the top of it for "decor meets warmth" it will fit in so nicely.
I'm kind of really excited now! I intend to add in some more textures to the room to ensure a warm, cohesive look, like modern styled basket bins, printed pillows and possibly some sticks or something of the like. We shall see.
While on my furniture escapade I found the most adorable bed in the world for Blake and within a second of looking at it I added it to my list of items to purchase. I'm a sucker. Yep. She needed a larger bed to transition to, although we were going to use twin bunk beds a friend of mine was going to give us, I just decided a full bed might just be the way to go so we don't have to buy again in a few years. The picture below is of the twin version but we purchased a full. Heart it.
Needless to say this was quite the busy weekend. Furniture shopping, hardware shopping and painting galore. Things are coming along nicely - much nicer than I expected and I am so relieved. Next up, is the carpet change and the completion of the paint. Hoping and crossing my fingers for a move-in this weekend, but all will depend on the installation of the carpet. Just wait til I show you the before and after photos. What a difference already!


yep, we watch TV!

I am always looking for great TV shows for my daughter to watch that not only are enjoyable for her, but also have some sort of educational value as well. We don't watch a ton of TV or stream a lot of shows, simply because I like to keep her active, but when it's time to wind down at night or on rainy days we turn to some of her favorite shows (and that list is crazy long, btw!) at times.
Recently we were given the opportunity to view the new episodes of Creative Galaxy on Amazon Prime Instant Video and I'm so glad we did! Blake absolutely loved each and every episode! The characters are so full of life and really drew her in and had her talking to my laptop, truly interacting. From singing along to some of the music and wanting to create some of her own paintings after watching, I was and am extremely pleased with this series.
In short, Creative Galaxy is a make-along, create-along, interactive art adventure series for preschoolers. Characters Arty and Epiphany travel around the galaxy to solve problems with art, inspiring creative thinking through crafts, music and dance. To give kids and parents the real-life tools they need to re-create Arty’s experience, a live-action piece at the end of each animated episode will take viewers through the craft project that Arty showcased in the galaxy.
This series is designed to support a child’s natural inclination to use their imaginations, make and create. Art make life joyful. Everywhere one goes art is evident. And the skills utilized and learned through making art are vast and useful. In every episode, our characters will use "fix it with art" to model the pervasiveness and importance of art as a resource for life for our home viewers.
The programming features a star-studded cast, including the voices of Christian Distefano (PAW Patrol) as Arty and Kira Gelineau (Dear Viola) as Epiphany, with guest stars Samantha Bee (The Daily Show), Jason Jones (The Daily Show), Cloris Leachman (Malcolm In the Middle), Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills 90210) and Brooke Shields (Lipstick Jungle). Also, Creative Galaxy is specifically for preschool age groups (ages 3-5), and Angela Santomero, the creator of Blue's Clues, Super Why! and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is the creator and executive producer of Creative Galaxy as well! That right there won me probably before even watching the programming ;)

One of my favorite episodes Arty's mother completely forgot to create gift bags for Arty's party and instead of having his mother purchase them he decided to create his own. I thought this was such a cute concept to show kids that creativity can go a long way and you can have so much fun making things yourself. Blake's birthday is coming up on the first of January and we will now be creating our own goody bags for all the children that attend her party. She's excited to use some glitter and paint for these :) (pictures to come!!)
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

a fresh start

So although we've yet to close on our new home, I'm still avidly looking at paint colors, furniture, decor, you name it. What I've noticed is it's funny how when purchasing a new home, or maybe it's just your first home (idk), that you suddenly feel like you need to start over. I have furniture, of course it's all hand me down's, since after my divorce I didn't have any furniture, it's still furniture. Yes, not my style what so ever, but all working furniture. Yet - I've told everyone I will not be bringing one bit of it to the new house, I refuse. I would rather a room be empty than have a room full of furniture I absolutely despise.
Yes, that may sound snobbish, but you know what I'm okay with that. I want to be able to come home and look around feeling happy and in love with my home, not look around with a constant reminder that I have nothing of my "own". It may take time for me to buy the pieces that I want, but when I do, each piece will be "mine" and I will cherish them that much more.
Now, I'm sure as soon as I move in I will change my mind completely on the pieces I've selected, as that just always seems to happen, however, one piece I've found that I am pretty much dead set on is this couch from American Signature Furniture.

It's leather, which with my child I feel like is a must. She spills things left and right, she is 3! This will be a quick wipe off the couch vs a scrub down. There's a chase - which was a must. I love laying on a couch with a chase. For some reason they are just so much more comfortable to me, so when looking for a couch that was number one on my list. The leather thing was an a decision I wasn't sure of at first, because honestly, I've always thought leather couches weren't very comfortable, however, this couch proved me wrong - it's incredibly comfortable. When we went to the store, Blake even tested it out with fully diving onto the couch on her stomach :) Kid approved! The color isn't show very well here, but it's a darker grey color. I know it's just a couch, but I love it.
The demon of all of this has been paint. Ugh. Can we just talk for a minute about how many various shades of grey there are? A MILIION! I have purchased 3 different samples of grey paints, LOVING the color swatch on the card, but then paiting them on a sheet of drywall instantly knew they weren't the color. So now I have a list with about 10 different greys on it all found on Pinterest that I will be hunting down and trying out as well. The problem is the grey on the couch vs the grey on the walls need to fit nicely together. My goal is a lighter grey, but not with too much blue in it, so that the room doesn't seem dreary with the couch being quite so dark. We shall see!
Hopefully not too much longer for a closing date to be confirmed and stick. It keeps getting pushed back, thanks to it being a short sale. Soon enough it will be ours :)

Weeknight dinner made easy!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Manwich. All opinions are 100% mine.

I must admit there are time's when making dinner for my daughter and I is a bit tough, especially making something tasty and quick. Reason I say that is because I work full-time, so when I get home the last thing I want to do is slave away on dinner for us, I just want to spend time with my little one. So with that said finding Easy Weeknight Meals is a must for me!

One of Blake's favorite meals is Manwich, yep I said it, Manwich. :) With their tasty sauces ranging from Original, Bold and Thick and Chunky there are many different options to this sauce and I can create a quick and easy meal for us, that tastes great! My favorite is the Thick and Chunky! I love the added texture to the meal, and it gives the meat (we used ground turkey!) a more filling aspect as well :)

My favorite past time actually is my mom making these yummy sandwiches for us, and always been super excited for Manwich night - so now it's time to carry it on for my daughter, and it's definitely been a winner in the house for my picky eater!! Not to mention, she needs to two hands to eat a Manwich sandwich, which is kid-stopping power right there if I may say so myself!

Get inspired and next time try using Manwich Recipes for a fun, inexpensive, easy way to make a busy weeknight meal! Also, to find their products in a store near you, click here

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Visit Sponsor's Site

Halloween and Wendys team up for a GREAT cause!

Remember this guy?
The yellow cups :)
When you think of Wendy's what is the very first thing that comes to your mind? For me, it's a Wendy's Frosty! As far back as I can remember, I remember my mom and I visiting Wendy's for a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, Chicken Nuggets and ending it with a Frosty. This was always a dinner "treat" when my dad had to go out of town for work. It was almost like our little "date" night in a way.
I bring up Wendy's because right now they have an absolutely amazing "deal" going on that not only helps your pocket, but also help's others. In short - if you purchase a Wendy’s® Halloween Coupon Book for $1 at participating Wendy’s, 90 cents of each coupon book goes towards supporting foster care adoption. This Halloween Coupon Book is being sold between September 13 – October 31, 2014 and will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®. Coupons are valid for use: November 1, 2014 through February 1, 2015. This year, Wendy’s® aims to give $10 million to The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®.
So what's in these coupon books, huh? Well, it may contain coupons for 5 or 10 free Jr. Frosty treats! So for just $1.00 out of your pocket, you're not only treating yourself to some free Frosty's but you're also helping out a great cause. Win, Win!
Another idea, in which I will be doing - is purchasing a few of these coupon books, tearing out each coupon, and including them in my trick-or-treat candy bin at the door. Oh, and yes, I have my candy bowl already prepared. What can I say, I love Halloween!?
Visit your local Wendy’s® to purchase a Jr. Frosty™ Halloween Coupon Book* for $1, which benefits the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®!
*Coupon book may contain coupons for 5 or 10 free Jr. Frosty™ treats. Prices and participation may vary. Ninety cents to every $1 coupon booklet sold between 9/15/14 and 10/31/14 will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®. Coupons valid from 11/1/14 through 2/1/15. ©2014 Oldemark LLC”

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

a new venture on the rise!

Exciting news! We (me and Blake) are buying a house. Yep, I will officially be a homeowner, for the first time in a matter of days. After looking at quite a few different properties I decided on a townhouse that sits in a combined neighborhood of townhomes and single-family homes. It's the perfect little starter property for us with zero yard maintenance (HOA takes care of it).
The home itself needs a little bit of work, not a lot but definitely some. Here are a few pictures of the house currently that I jacked from the listing:

What I intend to change:
Paint - Looking for more neutrals colors to brighten up the space and make it appear larger. I'm thinking a lighter rich grey color, which will look great with the white trim.
Carpet - The carpet throughout the entire home needs to be ripped out and installed with a fresh pad and new carpet. The downstairs as you can see has this design berber carpet in the dining room and living room and that same carpet goes up the stairs and throughout the upstairs hallways, yet the bedrooms have builder grade carpet in them. It looks ridiculous. Eventually I'd like to change the downstairs to being LVT throughout.
Kitchen - Adding a back splash and granite counter tops, as well as changing out the sink and faucet.
Bathrooms - Changing out the faucets.
Backyard - Fence in the entire yard and plant a garden, as well as make a really lush oasis back there. I've always wanted a pretty outdoor area with a fire pit, etc.
There you have it. The list isn't crazy long, but some of the items are rather expensive and will have to wait. I'll be starting with the painting, re-keying the doors and the bathroom faucets. Next on the agenda will be changing out the carpet most likely. Most of these things I will be doing myself or with the assistance of my dad and/or friends. Seriously excited and ready to bring on the DIY stuff and make this house "mine" or more like "ours". Pictures to come!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Get Your Grill On!

I would have to say on average I grill out on my grill at home around 3 times a week and that's really a minimum. There is just nothing like a grilled piece of meat or even grilled corn or veggies. The taste is just unbeatable! Being a fitness competitor I have to eat a bunch of protein, I mean you'd think I was a carnivore if you saw my refrigerator - seriously! So with that I always prepare my meals in advance and cook in mass quantity due to having to be so precise with my meals and weighing everything out. On average you can catch me cooking about 3 large packs of chicken and a pack of steak on the grill on any given day!

Since I prepare such a vast amount of food that food has to stay fresh, because let's be honest, eating meat that hasn't been properly stored and isn't fresh - really isn't that tasty. Am I right? Burgers and hot dogs are great, but there's more you can throw on the grill, like my chicken and steak I mentioned, and Reynolds® can make grilling and clean-up easy with their Bakeware Pans, Parchment Paper and classic Aluminum Foil, and that's just what I use to keep my food fresh! Also, when you’re done with your grill, just roll some foil sheets together and scrub the grill grates clean of any leftover grease and build-up. Did you know that? Kinda an awesome trick for you there! :)
My chicken with salt free taco seasoning, garlic and pepper (kinda the most delicious healthy meal you could possibly make! ha!) is one of the few things I utilize Reynolds® Aluminum Foil for. My meat stays juicy and fresh and helps keep the Tupperware container washing down to a minimum for me, which is about the best thing ever!
Here’s some inspiration for what you can prepare for your next cookout, whether it’s a night for enjoying a classic burger or having a fun clam bake for your seafood-loving friends.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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