Joss & Main

How was everyone’s weekend? It is supposed to go from 30 degrees today up to 60 degrees for the rest of the week.  I can’t wait!!!

Anyway, I get a ton of “junk” email every day as I’m sure all of you do. I usually grumble about it but never bother to unsubscribe. Most of it I don’t pay attention to.

Daily I receive an email from online retailer Joss & Main.  I’m sure those of you who are familiar with the home decor blogland have heard of them. For those of you who don’t know, Joss & Main offers several collections daily to purchase home decor, accessories, furniture, kitchen items, etc.  These are typically high end items offered at major discounts.  Some stuff is still too spendy for me, but other stuff is an awesome deal!  But there are only a limited number of each item and the sales only last for 1-2 days and then it is gone.

I have been scouting their emails a little more closely the past few weeks and boy, I have had a hard time not whipping out the credit card!  Today’s email especially was chock full of fabulous items and I admit, for the 2nd time in two weeks, I made a TEENSY purchase!  But let me show you some of the other stuff that I am STILL pining away for……

The Amy Butler bedding collection has fabulous bright colors that are sure to bring spring to any dreary, drab bedroom! I absolutely fell in love with this pillow! It’s the Sari Blooms Square Pillow regularly $40, down to $26.95. I had a hard time saying no to this ruffled beauty!!

This duvet cover that is part of the Amy Butler collection is also gorgeous! I can’t decide which side of the cover is my favorite!

Today, the Maison Maison collection offered tons of chic home decor and furniture pieces. Two of my favorites are the white studded clover ottoman, reguarly $199 on sale for $88 (limited quantities left!)

and this gilded Hollister framed mirror which is SOLD OUT!! This mirror was regularly $256 on sale  for $89.95! Isn’t it pretty!?!?! I LOVE it!How about this Eco-Natural storage basket in gray…..$129.99 down to $56.95That basket would be awesome with cozy blankets or magazines in it for winter!

Joss & Main doesn’t just have accessories, occassionally there will be artwork or even wallpaper like this gorgeous, colorful wallpaper event from Amy Butler!

And a few things from this Home Essence office supply collection may or may not be ending up on my desk at work shortly!!!!Hey, for $6.95 that was too good to pass up!! And the matching pencil “cup” and business card holder may have been added as an impulse purchase!! I told you, I can’t resist!

To shop their events, you need to “join” Joss & Main, which just means signing up to receive their daily emails. There are no fees and you can choose how often you want to receive their emails!

I invite you to sign up today as my “friend”  for Joss & Main through the White Picket Bentz event here.   You can also refer your own friends once you join.  For any purchase that your friends make through each event, Joss & Main will credit your account toward your future purchases!!!  But I’m warning you…..joining may be dangerous for your financial health! But everyone deserves to treat themselves now and again dont’ they?!?

Take a look at today’s events! What are YOUR favorite items??? It is too hard for me to decide on one favorite, but that pillow is STILL calling me to come back!  Happy shopping!!!

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Squeeeeky clean!

So, a sudden weekend bout of sickness has kept this girl off of the project party bus.  The things I was hoping to have done this weekend did NOT get accomplished.  So while I am working on those things, I have something else for you.

Meet, my nemesis….

Yes that’s right….my shower!  From the time we moved in, the shower and I have had a hate/hate relationship!  Not only for its lack of space, especially for girl things like shaving ones’ legs (….I have hit my head one too many times on the walls!) but these glass windows are also a NIGHTMARE to clean!! Routine soap scum, coupled with our hard water, made cleaning the shower a chore to be fought over!!

I tried several different cleaning products and up until now, the only things that worked were squeegie-ing the windows daily after showering and using a product that claimed to be free of obnoxious fumes. So as to not give this company away, its name rhymes with HA-DOOM.  This spray worked OK in helping to remove the soap scum and hard water, but it did not get rid of ALL of the traces. Not fully satisfied.  Also, the fumes were HORRIBLE.  The lucky cleaner of the shower had to hold their breath when using the spray, hope it wasn’t too cold out to open the windows, and rush through the entire process.

Breathing this stuff in felt like a herd of elephants was sitting on your chest.  I knew there had to be something better out there that didn’t feel like it was asphyxiating me while cleaning! Cleaning should not be hazardous to my health! It should be the opposite….not cleaning is a health hazard!  In this case, it was a double edged sword!!

I did some research into natural or homemade solutions to clean shower stalls. I figured someone else out there has to have this same problem!  I came across this recipe from food.com…..

and decided to give it a try.  The recipe calls for 12 oz of each ingredient, but I only had a 12oz bottle available so I halved everything!

Ingredients:

12 oz white vinegar (I used 6)

12 ounces liquid, blue dawn dish detergent (i just filled my bottle halfway)

Directions:

1.  Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle.

2.  Add dawn soap.  Put lid on and gently shake to mix

Easy enough right??

I used it on my bathroom sinks, the tub, the tiles, and most importantly, the shower…..I am IN LOVE with this stuff!

It is a miracle cleaner!  This stuff is UH-MAAAA-ZING!! I first used it on my sinks…..(umm….so embarrassed to be showing you this! But hey, blogging is about being truthful right???)

Just a FEW squirts of the miracle cleaner and wiping with a damp cloth, the grimy sink and mirror were absolutely SPARKLING!

I was hoping the shower would be the same.  The instructions said that for tough areas, you could spray and let sit overnight.  I was too impatient and spraying this stuff onto the grimy shower, wiping a few minutes later……let me tell you…..the shower has not been that clean since the day we moved in!

It doesn’t photograph well, but take my “singing in the shower” word for it!! It is awesome! And it didn’t even require too much scrubbing!  Just a few spots needing more than others.  And you don’t need much of this magic cleaner.  The more you spray, the more you have to rinse because of the soap in it! A little goes a long way!

Even the tile surround on the soaking tub next to the shower practically glow in the dark. I’m not kidding!  I’m like a crazy woman smiling at my clean tiles, even in the dark!

I also gave it a try on the kitchen sink.  The house was built with a standard builder-grade sink.  Scratches easily and gets TONS of marks.  I would love to switch it out, but again, not our forever house, so I haven’t decided if its worth it or not!

Nasty sink before………(hanging my head in shame – although you can’t help it with this stinky sink!)

And after miracle cleaner…….

There is some difference but that’s about all you’re going to get with this sink!!  I typically used a scrub with bleach and it didn’t really do much. Again, I’ll be sticking to my new miracle cleaner!

I feel MUCH better cleaning my house with vinegar (edible) and soap that is safe enough to wash dishes with! No crazy bleach or fumes here anymore! Oh, one warning, the cleaner smells a bit like vinegar, but I would imagine adding a few drops of scented oil of your choice would help get rid of that! It was so much better than what I had before, I can deal with a little vinegar!!

HAPPY CLEANING!

I linked up at the Weekend Bloggy Reading party at Serenity Now!

 


New….

Just a warning….I’m going to get a bit serious in this post!!! And a bit wordy!  No decor here!

Alright, let’s continue…..

So, earlier this week during my normal blog surfing, I came across The Lettered Cottage’s Word of the Year link party.  In short, Layla teamed up with blogger/designer Ali Edwards who, yearly, selects a word for herself to represent the upcoming year and to focus on throughout the entire year.

Normally, when surprise ideas like this pop up, I typically shrug them off thinking “oh, it’s too late for me to start doing this” or “January is already half over, I should have started January 1st…too late” or “(SIGH) now I need to figure out something to work with.”

However, this time, I decided to embrace the challenge….who cares when I start….its my word and my year!

Source

If you haven’t guessed based on the title of this post, my word for 2012 is going to be….

Let me give you some details on how I chose such a simple word!  In looking at some of the links for inspiration, some people had words that really encompassed one thought, feeling or goal.  I started thinking deep and trying to find a deep, complex word to represent what I hoped the upcoming year would be.  However, just as Ali Edwards said in her advice over at The Lettered Cottage, I realized my word was exactly that…..MY word. It didn’t have to be complex. It could be as simple as I wanted and it only had to represent MY meaning. Not what everyone else thought it should be.  So, the word “NEW” kept popping up in my head.  Simple right?

For those of you that don’t know me personally, and for those of you that do, I have always been the “good kid” doing what everyone expected and what they thought I should be doing, living my life measured up against some set plan for how this “good kid” should live and how life “should” be.  I began this “expected” life right out of high school, through college, and continuing right out of college.  I had a life plan, and it was on course.  However, I learned an important lesson at the end of 2011.  There is no such thing as a set life plan. No matter what my personal life plan is/was, God has something bigger and better in store for me, even if I didn’t think so at the time. Just because I had a plan for my life and some 5 & 10 year goals, it didn’t matter. Sometimes God’s goals for my life aren’t the same as what I had chosen. I learned this the hard way, but can only rely on my Faith that God’s plan is bigger than mine.

This realization led to my NEW plan for 2012.  At the end of 2011, I started a new job, still in accounting, that I love a  bajillion times more than the job I had before. I am actually thinking I could MAYBE enjoy a lifetime career in accounting (ACK! Still trying to stomach that realization!!!) as this was something I didn’t think was going to happen, 4 years out of college.  This new job has brought me so many new experiences in 1.5 short months and I am learning so many new things, that for once, I am excited to get up and go to work every day!  This job change was not planned, however, and not part of my immediate life plan back in 2011!

Realizing that MY plan for life wasn’t really what God had in store for me, I am still going through a bit of a shock.  I am a bit of a control freak, not liking surprises, and like knowing what is coming up because I made the plan!  My life plan, and who I have been over the past 10 or so years, has defined who I was and who I thought I would be!  Now, due to life circumstances, having no set plan, I have almost lost my identity.  I need to create a NEW life plan.  However, this plan has to be something that is molded along the way. Not something I am going to come up with today, January 18, 2012, but something that evolves throughout the year and the years to come. Letting go and letting God help with my life plan is something I need to figure out.

This year, I am going to focus on this word NEW as I figure out who I am….the NEW me with a NEW life plan. This will involve NEW experiences, NEW activities (Saturday morning Zumba rather than sleeping late), NEW people and NEW friends, NEW decor projects (including some new skills…like sewing…that were things I could not do before!), NEW challenges, some NEW changes for the blog (hopefully) and visiting NEW places.

Admittedly, thinking grand scale, realizing that I am figuring out a new me……….scares me. So, to make it easier, I have determined that each month, I am going to do something NEW…..go somewhere NEW, meet someone NEW, try something NEW, etc.  This will force me out of my comfort zone (the comfort zone created by my former life plan). As I experience these NEW things, weeding out what I do and don’t like, the NEW me will evolve and God’s NEW plan for my life will start to take shape. Focusing on these little things will allow me to step back, release control of the overall plan, and let things fall into place.

LUCKILY the year has 12 whole months (well 11 1/2 at this point) giving me plenty of time to learn as I go.  Reading back over this, it all sounds like butterflies and rainbows! However, already 18 days into the year, this isn’t as easy as it sounds!  It will be a challenge, letting go of the past, my past that I created and shaped, and figuring out a NEW future.  But life is a challenge and going through challenges makes people stronger in the long run!  I am choosing to embrace this NEW challenge, with all of its inevitable ups and downs, to be a stronger, better person in the long run! I just have to remember to take it slow. I can’t figure it all out today.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the NEW me!

So…..I am embracing the One Word challenge for 2012.  Anyone else out there want to join me? No matter that it’s half way through January! Challenge yourself! And you don’t have to decide right away. It’s your word, on your time, let it come to you! Anyone want to share their word of the year???

Alright, enough with the serious….back to the projects at hand!! I have some projects in the works and on the list to start.  Hopefully I can get them done to share soon!


Low Cost Closet Expansion!

When I revealed my pop-up New Year’s resolution here, I shared this disgraceful mess with you….

…and mentioned that I was beginning a master bedroom closet expansion!!!

I already shared one piece with you, the installation of my new sparkly friend…..

Ah yes, one week later I am still stopping by the closet every time I pass to turn on the light to “ohhhh…ahhh…..” in admiration!

In the first picture above, you can see that the closet door opens in.  The closet is immediately behind the bedroom door, which opens toward the closet, creating an obstacle course just to get dressed or put clothes away.

This is just one of two doors to move to get to the shelves in the closet. It honestly made the closet feel smaller than a phone booth!

First step in my closet makeover…………REMOVE THE CLOSET DOOR!!

WOO! Doesn’t it already feel nice and spacious?? All it took was removing the pins in the hinges and lifting that puppy out of there!

Then comes the closet mess.  See all of that junk below my dresses, and the MESS of sweaters above the dresses?

That mess and junk HAD to be contained.  5 bags of clothes to donate and 1 bag for consignment later (yes, that’s 6 bags!!!), the mess was finally starting to be corralled!

The sweaters on the other hand, are another story.  When our house was built, it was blessed with standard Rubbermaid wire storage racks!  Awesome.  This is not our “forever” house, so at this point putting awesome closet storage in there, like these awesome closets……

Found here

Found here

is really unreasonable and out of the question.  A girl can dream though, right?

The problem with these wire racks is that any clothes that are folded and stacked on them end up with these awesome ribs!

Now for sweatshirts, tank tops and even jeans, these ribs go away easily with a nice shake.  However, sweaters aren’t so easy and I’m not a fan of having to iron ribs out of sweaters in the morning before work.  Temporarily, I laid a giant beach towel/blanket down on the shelf to protect my sweaters….

…but this new closet update needed something more permanent, and less insane looking!  I searched all of the major stores for some sort of closet storage solution, to no avail (hmmmm…..this might be a business opportunity for me!)  I cut a piece of ply-wood to the size of the shelf and covered (read: wrapped) it in an extra piece of linen fabric I had in my stash.

MUCH better. Now there is no chance of extra ribs in my already ribbed sweaters!

Note to self…..you wear a lot of brown (5 brown sweaters and 1 in the wash not included in this picture – spice up your wardrobe with some color!!!!)

So, let’s recap at this point…….

1.  Door removed from closet

2. Chandelier hung

3.  6 bags of clothes donated/consigned

4.  Sweaters corralled and rib-less!

I was loving the closet without a door, however, I felt it was a little naked and boring and needed some spice.  I saw this AWESOME curtain at Target and knew I had to have it!

I could have gotten fancy with its clip to hold it back, but I just used a 3M hook with removable sticky!

As you can see above, when I removed the hinges for the door, it left a nice mark in the molding.  They were natural wood color, but I painted them the same color as the trim so they would blend.  I could have filled them in with wood filler, but I figured at some point we will be moving and maybe this place’s next owners will want a closet door back, so really I’m doing them a favor!!! And it’s not too noticeable.  No need to get crazy!

Now, by this point I’m sure you have figured out that there was no real “expansion” going on in this here closet!  Not that I wouldn’t love to knock a wall down and get an even bigger closet, but let’s be reasonable! And giving away 6 bags of clothing, my clothes now fit in the closet!  Just a few little tweaks and the closet feels 10x bigger!!

I can actually move around in the closet and even dress in there!

Ahhhh, so spacious!  Clean, organized spaces can do wonders for the soul!  New Year’s resolution #2:  Keep closet neat and organized (and make the bed every day – let’s see how long that one lasts!!)


So Lady Like…

Is it just me or has every girl dreamed of having a fabulous closet for dressing….full of fabulous clothes/shoes/bags and topped off with a gorgeous chandelier?  Yes? No? Well for years I have dreamed of having this super girly space that I could call all mine….enter the master bedroom closet.  When our house was built, our walk-in closet came stocked with this standard “boob” light….

Not only was it SUPER ugly, it didn’t really give off great light, making the closet drab and dreary. Enter the Kristaller chandelier from the ever awesome IKEA….

It is so feminine and delicate, but not too old and stuffy…..and for only $40, it was perfect!  And it was SUPER easy to install!

The first step was to make sure the power was off to the closet/master bedroom……

= me getting nervous!!  Death by electrocution, falling from a ladder is really not how I want to be sent off to the Pearly Gates!!  I was like a MAD WOMAN running up the steps several times to make sure the power was off to the master bedroom closet.  Once I was sure it was off, I was ready to go.  HOWEVER, now that the power was off, this interior closet with no windows was DARK…….duh!  Slight roadblock, resolved with a work lamp plugged in down the hall!

After unscrewing and removing the old, ugly lamp (which was relatively easy), I installed the new mounting bracket that was supplied with the IKEA light.  This was the only real roadblock I encountered during the process.  I dropped one of the bracket screws from up on the ladder and could NOT find it in the closet…..

After trying several alternatives from the basement stash of extra screws, this blip on the radar was solved and the bracket was securely mounted.

Next came the scary part…..the electrical wiring.  I didn’t take any pictures of this process b/c I was too consumed with getting it right and not falling off the ladder!  HOWEVER, the smiling IKEA instruction guide was pretty on point with the uber easy process!

There was a black ground wire, a white “hot” wire and a fancy green/yellow additional ground wire.  I matched up the black and white wires with the wires in the ceiling….seriously, how hard is that??? Then the green/yellow wire got matched to the additional copper wire in the ceiling.  BAM! Done-zo!  I put the light bulbs in and ran back downstairs to turn on the power………imagine me yelling and singing a loud HALLELUJAH when I arrived back upstairs to find this!

Glorious, sparkling, pretty light.  HOWEVER……look how long that cord is!! Womp womp!  Luckily, IKEA realizes we don’t all have 50 foot ceilings and provided this handy “S” hook to hoist ‘er up!

Quick and simple clipping of the chain higher resulted in this glorious sight…….

Ahhhhhhhhh…….isn’t she a beauty?! Nothing but smiles coming from this girl!  Every time I walk past the closet I just stop and turn on the light, stand and smile for a few seconds, and move on!  I am officially in love!  It just screams “lady like!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t it FABULOUS?????  I can’t wait until all of my little touches are done on the closet!


Pop-Up Resolution (and project sneak peak!)

Happy FREEZING 4th day of 2012 everyone!   As I mentioned in my New Year’s Eve post, I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions.  If something comes up during the year, then great!  2012 started without any concrete resolutions other than working out regularly (which isn’t really a resolution…..more of a demand to my internal laziness!)  However, standing in the customer service return line at Target, generated a resolution for me!

source

As I was waiting in line to exchange a holiday gift I gave to my niece, an older woman in front of me just turned around and started talking to me…….about the high quality karaoke machine she bought for a friend’s grandson.  “IT JUST SO HAPPENED, he received TWO karaoke machines for Christmas and wanted to keep the other…….despite this one being higher quality.”

What could I possibly say to this woman about the karaoke machines??  Maybe….”I like singing too? Only in the car, the shower, around the house. No public karaoke for me?”  Instead, I just kindly smiled and said “oh no!”  At this point, I was intently staring at the Target customer service people thinking “Please hurry and call this woman next so she stops talking to me!!!”

She continued on about how she hopes they will accept her return without a receipt.  So……..feeling like Target should be paying me for handling customer service questions…..I kindly responded that if she “paid by credit card, they could look it up in their system.”  Seriously, if accounting doesn’t work out, I have a definite future in Target customer service!!!  The color red complements brown hair nicely!

Now…..I was not in a good place this day…..grumpy, overwhelmed, and just generally irritated at the world.  At this point in her conversation and my half-hearted attempt to listen to her, she turns to me and says, “Do you know you have absolutely beautiful teeth?”  In my grumpiness and irritation, this totally caught me off guard (one of those awkward movie moments where 3 seconds feels like eternity while I’m just staring at the woman trying to comprehend what she just said).  My irritation faded and I just smiled brightly, said thank you very much, and wished her luck with the karaoke machine issue as she was called next in line.

This woman’s kind comment was just what I needed to brighten my definitely sour mood. I brightened up and finished my Target trip with smiles for strangers rather than scowls!  This lady taught me a definite lesson that day.  Although I was irritated and annoyed with her, she didn’t realize that her kind comment was just what I needed to brighten my mood.  As I thought about it more, I realized maybe she was in a bad place too….lonely and needing someone to talk to, maybe she had troubles in her life…(not that I was going to become her therapist, but sometimes just a smiling face for a few seconds can help brighten someone’s day). I should have just been nice and listened to her without being completely irritated, realizing I had nothing better to do while standing in line at Target.

My spur-of-the-moment, pop-up resolution for 2012 is……..when these situations come up, where a stranger or even an acquaintance strikes up a brief conversation, if time allows, I will do my best to not be irritated and try to give them a few minutes of kindness. Remembering that everyone has things going on in their life….trials, heartache, sadness….and sometimes only a brief act of kindness or a smile can help brighten a little part of their life.  This really shouldn’t be a resolution, but really a way for everyone to live to help make little tiny bright spots in the world!

This year I have also resolved to put a serious dent in my project to-do list around the house (after slacking off for a few months!)

First up, EXPANDING THE MASTER BEDROOM CLOSET!! I started this on my New Year’s Monday off of work and can’t WAIT to finish it up and share the final reveal with you.  This is going to be a definite “low budge” project, but one that is definitely needed for my overall sanity!

For now, here is a sad, disgraceful before shot……..

I hang my head in shame even sharing this with you….but hopefully it will keep my motivation up to get ‘er finished and ready for sharing!

Anyone else have any spur of the moment resolutions? Any major decluttering/organization projects happening in these first few days of 2012??