Monday, August 22, 2016

On Minimalism

There are two very opposite trends going on in the world today. Consumerism is totally the norm, but there has been such a push toward Minimalism lately as well. I find myself stuck in the middle of both lifestyles and it's been confusing.
What I Like 
On the one hand I hate being wasteful. And as a part-time housekeeper, clutter gives me the chills! We all have been conditioned to think we need things that we really don't. I watched a Youtube video the other day about how most people have 2 shower curtains-one to actually function as a water barrier and the other as a decoration. You really only need the clear one, but we've come accustomed to thinking that both are standard. That started such a brainstorm for me. How many other things are there like that? 

I personally have SO many clothes, yet most days I feel like I don't have anything to wear, or I reach for the same things. I love the approach to minimalist wardrobes that stick to a color scheme so everything coordinates and matches. There are so many benefits to that. Less time staring at your closet deciding, less clutter...

Then there is the whole money-saving aspect of minimalism. If you don't buy as many things, you don't spend as much money. Your purchases are less impulsive, and you invest in quality. 

Functionality has always been a priority for me. That's my approach to organization: Is it functional? Am I going to be able to keep up with it? The less stuff you accumulate the easier it is to organize and to implement systems for your family's benefit. 

What I Don't Like
I like pretty things! I like my home to be filled with pretty things! I really don't like the idea of bare white walls and a white couch with a single side table, etc...I love homes that are warm and inviting and cozy- with pictures on the wall and a variety of colors. 

From what I've read on the minimalist lifestyle, so far, it seems like there are some extreme cases where the person only wears black and their home has 1 plate and 1 cup. Just thinking about that makes me uncomfortable! To me that doesn't seem like an enjoyable life. We were created with the ability to appreciate beauty and variety. 

My Approach
-My Wardrobe
This is something I can definitely work on. I LOVE the idea of a color scheme. 80% of my clothes are navy blue anyway, so I think this is something I can easily start. I'd like to cut my closet down by at least 1/3. 

I spend way too much money on clothing anyway. I've been pretty good about only buying used items from consignment shops or ebay, but I'd still like to cut back on the amount. It's pretty sad when you flip through your hangers and realize you forgot you owned something. I also have a huge problem with buying workout clothes. I own way too many and that drawer is overflowing. 

-My Home
I have a list of a few things that I'd like to buy for our house. In the past, as soon as it popped into my head, I'd run to Target and buy whatever it was that I thought I needed. Now I want to plan ahead for these purchases, shop around and only buy them when our budget easily allows. Ideally, I'd like to buy these new things with the money that I get from selling old things. 

I really love having nice things in our house, but I think we've gotten accustomed to a lifestyle that isn't really necessary. Buying decor just for the fall season is actually really frivolous, but it's something Pinterest makes us feel necessary. 

So here is my take-away from all of this: I want to have a little bit of both lifestyles. I think less is more, and there are so many benefits to living simply! But, I don't want to live a deprived life either. If I want something I don't see the need to withhold it from myself just because it's not a live sustaining need. 

Leave me a comment: Have you ever tried to reevaluate your lifestyle? What do you think of minimalism? Is it too extreme or too boring for you? 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pinned It: Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches

In my Pinned It series, I like to share with you recipes that I've pinned on Pinterest and tried! Pinterest is such an amazing tool, and we've found lots of really good recipes to add to our rotation. 

This time is a recipe from Skinny Mom for copy-cat Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. I used to get the nuggets at Chick-Fil-a, but recently I've been obsessed with their chicken sandwich! This recipe gets bonus points for being a slimmed down version too.


Here's what you do:

Pound 2 8 ounce boneless chicken breasts until they are about 1/2 inch thick. (Chicken cutlets work great for this recipe!) Then, marinate chicken breasts in 1/2 cup dill pickle juice for atleast 30 minutes. 

Add 1 large egg and 1/2 cup milk into a bowl and whisk. 

Combine the following into a separate bowl: 
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp basil
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup flour

Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture and then coat with the flour mixture on both sides. 

Heat 2 tsp coconut oil in a skillet. Fry each chicken breast until golden brown and cooked through. 
Dry on a paper towel. 

Serve chicken on a toasted bun with pickle slices


Overall this was a great dupe! It's definitely not as good as the real thing, but I will be making it again. Let me know if you try it out! 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Five

one// Puppy pic of the week! I've taken nearly a million photos, but this week I've really tried to take more videos of the puppies. Videos just highlight the cuteness so much better. I love the wobbly legs! Winston and Fred are doing great this week and have even started playing with each other. They still sleep like 90% of the time, but their awake moments are so precious. One of them barked this week!
Here is a hilarious video I took on Wednesday. Bailey, poor thing, has vision problems and is constantly running into the pups. 


two// We had an absolutely amazing vacation last week! Every year we stay at Marriott's Oceana Palms in South Florida with Blake's family. It's a perfect week every year. This time we hardly left the resort, and it was the most relaxed vacation I think I've ever had. We came home truly refreshed and ready to get back at real life. Sometimes vacations leave you more tired than before you left. 





three// I'm like super late to this game, but I just watched The Hills 10 year special on my dvr. I was so into The Hills in High School! I can't believe that was 10 years ago. The special was so funny to watch. It brought back a lot of memories, but it was also really interesting to see what was going on behind the scenes. Even after seeing how the producers staged it and forced certain situations, I still feel like a lot of it was genuine. 



four// I was so excited to hit publish on our bathroom reveal this week! In case you missed it:


five// College Prepster was probably the first blog I ever read, and it's probably the one that even made me think about starting one myself! I love that she is doing videos now. Youtube is such a guilty pleasure of mine. I love vlogs and home tours! I think it's because I'm so nosey. Although, I think that's why the blog universe exists in the first place-we're all really nosey and interested in what other people are doing! Anyway, Carly did an apartment tour, and I love it. She has described exactly what I am trying to do with my house. Coastal but not like beach house cheesy. 



Happy Friday guys! Have an awesome weekend.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Guest Bathroom Remodel - The After!

This project took much longer to accomplish than I ever imagined. As I mentioned in the Before post, Blake's parents spent a week with us working, non stop, on the bathroom. Still, at the end of the week we weren't even close to finished. 

Not only was this a cosmetic update, but it was also meant to improve the structure of the room. In fact, it's probably the most square, plumb and level room in our entire home at this point! Everything in this bathroom is new, minus the roof over it. 

I can't wait to share these photos with you. All of the details are below. Don't look too closely, we still haven't painted our trim...=]


Our style is very coastal, but we also don't really want our house to look like a beach house either.  I love the nautical look, but it can get tacky if you aren't careful. That influenced a lot of our choices. And honestly, sale prices influenced those choices the most! 

I had hoped to retain a window, even though we'd be removing the old one. I love natural light, and I was really sad when we had to make the decision against it. However, with the new overhead light and vanity fixture, it's very bright and I'm really happy with how it turned out. 

I knew way ahead of time that I wanted subway tile in the shower, because that's so timeless and the look is great. We did a white subway tile with gray grout in our kitchen, and I still love it-so I knew that's what I wanted in the shower. The floor tile was also something I had been eyeing for awhile. How cool is tile that looks like wood? It's the best of both worlds > the wood look, but no warping in a wet environment. This tile is so great and I think the weathered color adds so much to this room.

I originally bought this shower curtain, but it ended up being hilariously too short! I loved it so much I put it in our master bathroom instead. 

The paint color was truly difficult to decide on. I came home with 5 sample sheets that I could easily have chosen them all. They were all in the same seafoam green family, but ranging in shades. Finally I bit the bullet and made my decision. I have to admit, I wasn't sure I liked it! It was so saturated on bare walls. Once all of the fixtures and artwork was up, though, I really grew to love it!

We bought the majority of our fixtures during Memorial day and 4th of July sales. That saved us literally hundreds of dollars on this project. I've been collecting the other pieces over the last few months as I've found things I liked. 

We did the work ourselves, while taking full advantage of our amazing family members and friends with practical skills. We seriously owe them big time! I'm so excited to have this project behind us, although I can't lie-I've already started thinking about the next thing I want to tackle. 

Links to what we used:

Leave me a comment: What do you think?! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Our Bathroom Remodel - The Before

Boy, oh boy, have I been waiting for this day! Our guest bathroom has always gotten snickers after our friends would use it. Like everything else in our older home, the bathroom didn't make any sense. There were a few issues, but the one thing everyone commented on was how close the sink was to the toilet. You could sit and wash your hands at the same time! 











It was a pretty typical 1950's bathroom, with it's toothbrush holder and singular color scheme. They come in many colors, but ours was yellow! I found it really difficult to decorate, and just put some random things in there. 

The main reason we finally bit the bullet and started this renovation is pictured in the middle. There was a window in the shower. Like, a full sized window! It wasn't even fogged - I had to use some spray paint to get some kind of privacy. The water from the shower was clearly rotting the windowsill away, and we were getting really worried it went much deeper than the surface. 

To fix the window, we'd have to tear out the shower, and if you are going to do that you have to tear out the wall tiles...and then you might as well do the floor. So, basically it just made sense to start over! And, trust me, I wasn't going to complain about that. There wasn't an exhaust fan, or a ceiling light, so I was eager to add a few new features to the room.

I will do a full recap on all of our new design decisions in The After post. We really did a complete gut and redesign. It doesn't even look like the same house anymore. 

I have to say, I thought I'd really enjoy the demolition. I love the idea, and watching them on HGTV is so motivating. However, when it came down to it, I was so anxious. I did an honorary swing, but I mostly left the work to Blake and my brother in law Bryan. I just didn't want to be the one to find termites, or a dead body, or find out that our house was actually falling down and...well you get the picture. 

Originally we planned to hire a contractor to do all of the work for us. We even had one over to give us a quote, but after almost a year of waiting to get on his schedule, I ended up calling about 4 other local construction companies. Unfortunately for us, the market has changed and contractors are busy! I'm so happy for them, because I know many went hungry for work for a number of years. 

After failing to find a local company, Blake and I finally caved in and asked his dad for help. Blake's dad is a very handy guy. He has such a brain and is a truly a master at anything he does. We felt guilty asking him for help since they live in North Carolina and this wouldn't be a weekend project. He, however, was eager to help, and both of his parents came and stayed with us for over a week to get it done. 




So, I will leave you with a few demo pictures. The guys really worked their butts off to get it all cleaned out before Blake's parents arrived. It's been a crazy journey, and it definitely took longer than I was expecting. But, I could not be happier with our new bathroom! Stay tuned for The After photos!

Leave me a comment: What is your favorite feature of our old bathroom? Was is the proximity of the sink to toilet? The glamorous lighted mirror? The window in the shower? Or, is it that toothbrush holder tile that doesn't fit modern toothbrushes? 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

3 Week Old Pug Puppies

We just got back from our week long vacation, and I can't believe how much my pups have grown! Their eyes opened up just before we left, but while we were gone they started walking. Before they would just scoot around on their bellies. I'm obsessed with them! I can't believe they will already have been around for 3 weeks on Tuesday. 

Here are some pictures I snapped tonight when we got home, and I couldn't wait to share the cuteness. Winston is the fawn/potentially brindle boy, and Fred is the black little [total rolly polly] guy. Gotta love my husband's hairy arm too =]



Couldn't you just squeeze them!?